Archive 2008 - 2019

Girl Scout Troop Takes on Straws at Miller

by The Publishers

Submission by Julie Winston

What can fourteen 9-and 10-year-old girls accomplish in a small town? More than they imagined! These girls set out learning about the environment and ended up making real change. Their efforts resulted in the elimination of plastic straws from Miller Elementary School.

Last year, Girl Scout Troop 62892 began a Girl Scout Journey.  A journey is a process of learning about a topic and its impact on our community and then choosing a “take action” project.  The topic these Scouts chose was “It’s Your Planet, Love It!”

Each Scout’s journey included a personal pledge to be a good steward to the planet.  Specific pledge actions included talking with experts such as an Eversource representative, and touring the energy efficient Mathworks campus. These focused energy conservation activities were followed by a visit to the National Marine Life Center.  Here the MLC educated the girls about the impact of trash and plastics on the environment. 

Upon learning about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (a floating trash heap in the Pacific Ocean double the size of Texas) and the plight of sea animals, the girls moved to the last step of their journey: Take Action!  The fact that sea turtles getting sick and some were dying resonated with them.  The girls did not know how to resolve this problem, but they knew that they wanted to try to make a difference. 

The girls began drafting letters to Mr. Keim and Mrs. Slaney, the principals of Miller Elementary and Placentino Elementary, respectively. They sought a meeting with the elementary school leadership team to share their new learning. The administration granted the girls’ request. 

During the meeting, the girls shared many of the environmental facts they had learned.  They asked the principals some tough questions about the schools’ practices, including those for energy efficiency.  Then the girls recommended a few quick actions. First, they suggested they create and hang posters to educate students. Second, they requested a cafeteria-recycling bin for water bottles.  Third, and most importantly, the girls requested the elimination of straws from the cafeteria.

It felt like an easy sell: eliminate straws over the summer so kids wouldn’t notice their absence in the new school year.  They recounted stories that kids often used the straws to make spit balls anyways, so removing them wouldn’t be a big deal. In addition, it could save the school money. The meeting, late last school year, concluded with no formal decisions made.

Much to the Scouts’ surprise, during a back to school assembly on August 28, Mr. Keim announced the elimination of straws from the Miller cafeteria.  He thanked Girl Scout Troop 62892 who taught him about the impact of straws on our environment.  The girls were thrilled and exceptionally proud.

For these young Scouts, this project represented their first actions with a community impact.  Our hope as troop leaders and parents is that this project is just the beginning of the girls’ pursuit of bettering their community.

Publishers’ note:

For those of you wishing to rid you home of paper and/or plastic straws, we propose rather than adding to the trash and recycling, make a decorative star with a dodecahedron center as a family project.  Spray paint it with metallic or other paint and display your “trash to art” treasure proudly!  (We have a 3-generation family tradition of suspending ours from the ceiling during the winter.)  Here is one site that tells you how: Directions or this one: Directions 2

Comments (3)

I love this. It makes my heart swell when younger generations get involved doing something positive. Hats off to these Scouts and their leaders.

Steve Bradford, Commander American Legion Post 47 | 2019-09-05 14:04:22

I love this story! Way to go girls! What a super job they did learning, brainstorming and putting a plan into action. We are so thankful for your efforts. You made a real difference!

Abby Furey | 2019-09-05 04:58:59

Congratulations to our Girl Scouts!! Well done!!

Stacey Raffi | 2019-09-05 03:57:04