CLARK, NJ - Cadette Girl Scouts Lauren England, Madison Pardo and Gabriella Scipioni, lead by Girl Scout Leader Alicia Scipioni, decided to take action to help end hunger and to educate children about making healthy eating choices.
Their decision ultimately lead to them creating a sustainable garden for the Valley Road Elementary School. This project became the basis for them earning their Silver Award. The Silver Award is the second highest award of the Girl Scouts of the USA, and the highest award that a Girl Scout Cadette can earn.
The girl scouts wanted to give back to their community and what better way than to create a garden for their former elementary school. The Scouts named the garden, ‘The VRS Learning Garden.’ It is their goal for the garden to become a STEM project for students, and a source of food that can be donated to local food pantries.
The scouts reached out to Mrs. Pinto (formerly Miss Fisher), a second grade teacher about the idea. Pinto was excited and agreed to become their advisor during the planning and creating of the project.
Pinto plans to use the garden with her second graders as a cross-curriculum project that will encourage good nutrition and give them a hands- on approach to learning.
The students can predict, observe and collect data as they work with the garden. They can also, donate the foods they grow to local food pantries, as a way of paying it forward.
The garden was created in a large 25 foot U-shape within the school’s courtyard. This is designed to let students easily assemble around it to harvest and plant crops.
At completion of their project, the Cadettes were excited to present Pinto with picture books she can use in her classroom to further enhance her students’ learning.
Many volunteers provided a helping hand on the way to the girls receiving their award. Mr. Fisher, a farmer, helped the Cadettes enrich the soil, decide which seeds to plant first and helped set-up a self-watering system.
Parent volunteers, Valentino Scipioni and Mark England taught the scouts some carpentry skills, so they could build the garden from railroad ties and make signs.
“The girl scouts would also like to thank Principal, Joseph Beltramba and the Clark Board of Education for all of their support throughout the project,” said Alicia Scipioni.
According to Scipioni, the girls also received donations from Bartell Farms and Garden Supply of Clark and Home Depot of Colonia.
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