MORRISTOWN, NJ - Eleven Morristown 5th grade Girl Scouts are earning their Bronze Award with a project worth its weight in gold.

Junior Girl Scout Troop 5133, composed of Normandy Park School 5th graders, wanted the project for their bronze award to give back to the community. They began planning last school year, meeting to outline and implement their project throughout the 2016-2017 school year.

The young influencers had a desire to improve their school and chose to renovate and improve upon the school’s outdoor classroom. Their extensive research included the plants necessary to attract butterflies. After proposing the idea to principal Ms. Clarke as well as science teacher Mr. Russell, they were given approval and asked to add to the flagpole area as well.

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“The girls worked so hard” said troop leader, Alison Gillen. “Hours of planning, research on plant to attract butterflies, digging around the flagpole in the pouring rain. They were really determined to make a difference for their school."

They were able to purchase plants and 4 benches using funds raised from successful cookie sales. Local brand Agway gave the troop a 25% discount on a total of 15 plants for the butterfly garden to show their support. The troop’s leaders as well as parents Mr. Mobus, Mr. Morgan, Mr. Gilden, the Quispes, Mr. Slaughter, and Mrs. Gervasio assisted with the planting and cleanup. The dirty work included assembling benches and moving tree stumps to create ambience for the outdoor learning space.

"We learned how to work together and compromise for our bronze award project”, said troop member Stephanie Morgan. "The planting of the flowers for the butterfly garden made me feel like I was giving back to nature."

The dedicated scouts worked after school and even on weekends to weed, clean up the area and plant. The young students also used stone markers to educate visitors on the plant species.

"It was fun to leave the outdoor classroom better than we found it", reflected troop member Elizabeth Gillen. Her twin and fellow girl scout Mary Gillen said, “it felt good to help NPS since this is our last year. Our work was a thank you for 6 wonderful years".

“Earning our bronze award was fun and I hope our silver and gold ones will be too” said scout Jessie Mobus. The entire troop hopes to stick with the Girl Scout program as their time in elementary school comes to an end.

As the members of the troop moved up in girl scout ranking, from Junior to Cadet, they all were honored in NPSs’ “Moving Up Ceremony”, their form of a graduation to send 5th graders to middle school on a high note. Their project marks the end of their elementary school journey, as they leave their school behind for the better and look ahead to Frelinghuysen.