Bhavana's Girl Scout Silver Award project at Plainsboro Preserve worked to support the conservation efforts to help Eastern Bluebirds.
Bhavana was invited to present her work at their first Young Birders' Conference at the Marine Academy of Technology and Environmental Science in Ocean County (along with high school and college students). While she was nervous about her first presentation, she now can't wait to present her work wherever she is invited!
1. What was the name and purpose of your Girl Scout Silver Award project?
My Girl Scout Silver Award, “The Wintering Birds Projects” focused on the issue of the conservation of the Eastern Bluebird population at the Plainsboro Preserve. The preserve often saw Bluebirds during the warmer months, but when winter began to come around, the Bluebirds often left for the season. Nesting boxes had been installed, but a stable food source was needed. I researched and found noninvasive native plants that will provide berries during fall and winter months and planted them near two nesting box locations, along with installing a mealworm feeder for the summer. To publicize, I presented at Plainsboro Founder’s Day, Earth Day, and the Native Plant Sale. After I finished my Girl Scout Silver Award, my Girl Scouts project advisor invited me to present at an event with other recipients of Robert Holden grant for Conservation! It was a fantastic event!
2. What sustainable impact did your Silver Award project have?
The plants that I planted have long lifespans and will be able to give food to many bluebirds to come. The informative brochures I made and put on display at the Preserve will hopefully inspire people to help bluebirds as much as they can, for every small effort contributes to a big change. In addition to brochures, I also made matching card games on backyard birds and native plants, which are now being used at NJ Audubon events. I also created a website and blog about my project - https://shrubsforbluebirds.weebly.com/
3. What insights/takeaways did I gain from my project?
I developed an appreciation for the importance of leadership and teamwork from the completion of this project. From clearing out planting areas to presenting at events, my troop and my family helped to make it possible. Another aspect of this project that I took away was that conservation is usually a topic that teens don’t look into, but no matter your age, you can still help!
4. What is my favorite memory from my time working on the Silver Award project?
I enjoyed much of the time I spent on my Silver Award project, but my favorite memory formed when we were planting. Putting the plants into the ground was an amazing moment because, after months of research and work, I could finally see my project take off.
5. Anything else to share?
My Girl Scout Silver Award project was rewarding, and although it was difficult at times, I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was fun to plant and organize presentations. Sometimes I ran into difficulties when contacting local nurseries and making sure that I met all my deadlines. This project taught me many skills that I will continue to use for the rest of my life.