CARTHAGE — A local Girl Scout aided butterflies and the food supply chain in the completion of her Gold Award project.
Seniors and Ambassadors earn the Gold Award — the highest award in Girl Scouting — by developing and carrying out lasting solutions to issues in their neighborhoods and beyond.
Hannah E. Cooley, 18, a member of Troop 50131 in Carthage, recently completed a pollinator garden at Carthage Park in conjunction with the 12 Honors community garden.
“My Gold Award project is to increase awareness about pollinators and how to promote them,” said Ms. Cooley, who is a 2022 Carthage Central High School graduate. “Pollinators are responsible for 75% of our food supply. As they decline, so does our food supply. Information and community awareness is the biggest part of my project as well as planting a garden to support them. The garden’s purpose is to support the local community garden that also was planted this year and to show that supporting pollinators doesn’t have to be done on a large scale to have an impact; if we all do our part then it could make a big difference.”
The pollinator garden has a variety of plants, many of which are native to this area, including milkweed, bee balm, coreopsis, lavender, sunflowers, sedum, butterfly weed, daisy, coneflower and black-eyed susans.
“Most people already have a few of the native plants in their yards and are probably weeding them out,” Ms. Cooley said.
To help spread community awareness, the Girl Scout held an open house at the garden Aug. 27 which was attended by about 20 people.
The daughter of Lisa Dam Cooley and Darwin Cooley of Carthage, Ms. Cooley has been a Girl Scout for 12 years.
“I remained a Girl Scout throughout my teen years because I fell in love with scouting,” she said. “As a Scout I made friends, enjoyed activities and did community service projects.”
Through scouting, Ms. Cooley said she gained respect for herself and others as well as teamwork and leadership skills.
En route to earning the Gold Award, a Girl Scout must complete a Senior or Ambassador Journey by earning badges.
“My favorite badge I have earned is the sage award and ropes course badge because I had a lot of fun doing the journey that the sage award was part of and I really like ropes courses,” Ms. Cooley said. “My least favorite required badge has to have been the bliss award because it really pushed me outside of my comfort zone and the journey was hard for me to understand what I needed to do to earn it.”
Ms. Cooley began working on her Gold Award as a high school senior and should achieve the rank this year while a freshman at Jefferson Community College, Watertown. While in high school, she was a member of National Honor Society, Key Club and is a Scholastic Art Alumni. Outside of school, she took piano lessons, was a junior ski patroller and is currently a ski patrol candidate at Snow Ridge Ski Resort in Turin.
The Gold Award candidate plans to transfer to Rochester Institute of Technology to become a medical illustrator.