High School Girl Scouts in the Smokies- Great Smoky Mountains National Park recently benefited from the hard work of eight Girl Scouts who completed 80 hours of service in the park rehabilitating trails, cleaning campgrounds, removing invasive plant species, and providing educational programs to visitors. The high school girls came from across the country to participate in a unique service opportunity offered through the Student Conservation Association (SCA) and the Girl Scouts of America.
“This collaboration between the Student Conservation Association, the Girl Scouts of America, and the National Park Service has given these young women the opportunity to live and work in an incredible park like the Smokies while exploring career opportunities in conservation and park management.”Sarah Long, Crew Leader
The program entitled ‘Girl Scouts of America Destination Project’ provided an opportunity to both perform hands-on conservation work and also to learn about career opportunities with the National Park Service. The all-girl crew worked alongside women leaders throughout the experience who taught them how to operate equipment and use hand tools to accomplish arduous work in the backcountry.
“I met so many strong women in the park service on this trip. They inspired me to be strong and confident in a male-dominated position. Thank you Smokies. This is a trip I’ll never forget.”Girl Scout Noelle Myshock of Michigan
The crew performed critical clean-up work at one of the busiest campgrounds in the park following the July 4 weekend. They also rehabbed the trail surface and cut back brush along Trillium Gap and Kanati Fork trails to improve conditions for hikers.
“This trip has made me realize that all the park workers and volunteers work so hard to keep the Smokies fabulous,” said Girl Scout Lizzy Fischer of Pennsylvania.
In an effort to restore one of the most unique high-elevation meadows in the park, the crew removed invasive plant species at Purchase Knob in NC. They also had the opportunity to share their experience with visitors at the Oconaluftee Visitor Center in NC where they provided general park information and education about park resources to hundreds of people.
“The experience we all were given in the Smokies will definitely be one to remember. Not only did we form deep connections with each other but we also connected with our earth; all wonderful things that came from this laughter-filled trip.”Girl Scout Grace Klima of Ohio