Today, GSNI Camp Ranger, Guy Schmale writes about how GSNI is helping to grow more trees and the next generations of tree stewards with help from The Morton Arboretum.
Almost 50 Girl Scouts got to help plant oak trees as part of a pilot program this summer at Camp Dean, one of five camps owned by Girl Scouts of Northern Illinois (GSNI). The plantings were led by Beth Corrigan, Community Trees Project Coordinator for The Morton Arboretum. Beth talked with the girls about many of the ways we benefit from trees and then walked them through the proper way to plant one. Beth’s outreach work, including her visits to the camp, is made possible through a grant from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR).
The plantings are part of a larger ongoing habitat restoration effort at GSNI camp properties. Some of the wooded areas being planted around Camp Dean were thinned last winter to allow more light to reach the ground and promote the growth of new oak trees. The trees used were from a supply of nearly 150 young oak trees received through a separate grant from IDNR.
Using camps as informal outdoor classrooms and partnering with natural resource professionals, GSNI seeks to grow this pilot program to offer more service learning opportunities like it in the future. Additional activities may include things like seed collection, removal of non-native invasive plants, growing new plants in a greenhouse, planting, and girl-to-girl nature interpretation. The hope is that through such stewardship experiences, girls will better understand, value, and enjoy the natural world around them.
For more information about how outdoor education can impact your Girl Scouts, take a look at the Girl Scout Research Institute's study titled More Than S'Mores.