As part of our long-range property planning process that began in 2012, GSNI identified revitalizing our camp properties as a top priority in the coming years. We want to make sure our facilities, equipment, buildings, and ecosystems are in the best condition we can provide for Girl Scouts using our camps now and in the future.
All of our camp properties contain a mix of deciduous woodlands, native tallgrass prairies, savannas, and in some cases, protected wetlands. In order to ensure the health of these ecosystems, GSNI has utilized ecological contractors to help us restore and rejuvenate these areas. We currently have an abundance of invasive species, which are plants that do not belong in these ecosystems that eventually take over and choke out the native species. Currently, our forests and woodlands are too thick with trees and invasive plants, which can pose a fire hazard. Clearing out some trees and underbrush will help promote the growth of young trees and reduce the risk of a fire getting out of control at our camps.
As part of this plan, you may see some remodeling and ecological restoration going on at camp. This could include building projects, heavy machinery, prairie and savanna restoration, prescribed burning, tree trimming and removal, and invasive species removal. Please know that the safety of all of our camp residents—children, adults, and wildlife alike—is of the utmost concern. We will be closing or fencing off some areas to ensure no campers are allowed near restoration areas. While you are at camp, please encourage children to stay with the group, and avoid any roped or fenced-off areas.
In addition, this restoration will bring some new opportunities to Girl Scouts throughout our council. In the coming year, we will be building greenhouses to start new trees and native plants at some of our camps. We will also be creating some new programs to help girls learn about our native ecosystems and help do some of the restoration work, like collecting prairie seeds, planting trees, and designing interpretive trails. We will enlist the support of troops and other groups staying at camp to help us plan the next generation of our beautiful landscapes.