Giving Back

Girl Scout Gold Project: Turning the Fanwood Nature Center into a Learning Center

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Julia at the Nature Center with some of her signs
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Brownie Troop 40091 learn about the Red -Bellied Woodpecker as they prepare to paint their bird signs. Credits: Karen Flood
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Julia discussing her project with the community at the Fanwood Green Fair . Credits: John Mooney
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Members of Brownie Troop 40777 work on their signs.
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Members of Troop 40091 learn how to make natural bird feeders. Credits: Karen Flood
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FANWOOD/SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ -- Girl Scout Julia Guarneri is transforming the Fanwood Nature Center into a learning center with the addition of informative signs about the flora and fauna found there. She researched plants and animals native to the center and documented key facts on colorful fiberglass signs. QR codes included on the signs link to a website with additional information about habitats and ecosystems found in the center.

Julia also worked with several Brownie and Daisy troops to create weatherproof wooden bird signs to add to the bird observation area. The girls chose a bird to represent their troop and then learned fun facts for each bird. Their artwork and chosen facts can be found on these beautiful signs which will soon adorn the bird observation fence in the center. 

"My goal was to make the nature center more educational and accessible for all members of the community; especially students, nature lovers and families," Julia said. "Trees are now easily identified and hikers can obtain more information about life in the center by using their phones as they walk through. We have this wonderful green space located right in our neighborhood which can be utilized as an outdoor classroom."

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Julia worked with the Fanwood Environmental Commission to plan out the project, specifically Gary Szelc who served as her advisor. She received donations from Target and The Home Depot. Julia is a member of Troop 40707.

The Gold Award is the highest honor in Girl Scouting.

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