From protecting and preserving the environment during service projects, to planting gardens in their own backyards, Girl Scouts are dedicated to saving the planet. This year, Earth Day is on April 22nd, and we cannot wait to see all of the amazing projects and impacts that Girl Scouts will take part in in celebration of our beautiful and diverse planet! Girl Scouts – North Carolina Coastal Pines is excited to take part in the GSUSA Girl Scouts Tree Promise program, setting out to plant 5 million trees by 2026 and to protect and honor new and existing trees! Keep reading below for some fun facts about the Tree Promise project, and find out how you can get involved this Earth Day!
As Earth’s temperature rises due to climate change, the weather is becoming more extreme and unpredictable, causing big changes worldwide—polar ice caps melting, wildfires, hurricanes, droughts, and extreme heat and cold.
Only a substantial reduction in carbon pollution and major efforts to pull carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere by 2030 will prevent even worse climate change consequences. Unless we take definitive action to defend our planet, over a million plant and animal species face extinction.
Why 5 million?
• 5 million trees will provide habitat for wildlife and capture and store over 2 million metric tons of carbon dioxide over the next 50 years. This is equivalent to taking 425,000 cars off the road for a year, eliminating the annual carbon emissions from 239,000 homes, or not charging 255 billion smartphones.
• Remove 1.6 million pounds of air pollutants per year—like dust, ozone, and particulate matter that can cause asthma and other respiratory problems. This is equivalent to removing 20,000 cars from the road every year.
• Planting millions of new trees can amplify the impact of existing trees and forests, further cleaning the air, reducing greenhouse gases and pollution, preventing erosion, and providing wildlife habitats and beauty. When you protect the new trees and existing forests, all those trees can work their environmental magic. And the more people who value trees, the more people to plant and protect them. Honoring trees multiplies your effort to fight climate change.
What can you do?
Each of us brings different knowledge, skills, and passions to Girl Scouts—and because of that we have a variety of ways to help the Girl Scout Movement plant 5 million trees over the next five years and protect and honor the trees we already have! There are different levels of participation; look at the list of opportunities below, decide what works best for you, and then go for it!
1. Develop your tree dictionary: Words like “deciduous” and “greenhouse gases” might be unfamiliar. Create a list of words you’ve learned related to trees and climate change to build up your tree-knowledge tool belt!
2. Observe nature: Relax in a hammock or on the ground and watch the leaves and branches move in the wind. If the timing is right, watch the sun set, the moon and stars come up, or the sun rise by looking into the trees . When looking up, notice the phenomenon of “crown shyness” or how trees seem to grow in a way that their branches don’t overlap!
3. Get moving: Play games such as hug a tree, tree bingo, and tree tag or spend time playing in a treehouse. Adventure seekers might even want to try recreational tree climbing or canopy ziplining to see trees from a new perspective!
4. Get creative: Read, write, draw, or do art projects (such as leaf rubbings, leaf murals, or wire and clay sculptures of the tree) next to a tree without the distractions of phones or music. This can allow girls to grow their appreciation for natural beauty, and all of things that make our planet so tree-riffic!
5. Imagine a world without trees: Name a few foods or gather samples of foods from trees like chocolate, lemons, cinnamon, olives, apples or other fruits, maple syrup, coffee, avocado, cloves or coconut. Then, decipher what trees these delicious foods come from! Discuss how the world would be different without these and other trees. Then, expand your discussion by talking about the other things trees provide like habitats, fresh air, erosion protection, and natural beauty!
6. Take the Girl Scout Tree Promise: Girls can take the Girl Scout Tree Promise and commit to building a better future with trees! Share with your friends, family, or troop all of the new things you discovered!
Girl Scouts – North Carolina Coastal Pines is committed to teaching Girl Scouts the importance of protecting and appreciating our planet. For more information on how to get involved this Earth Day, view our Girl Scout Tree Promise Program Kit today. Happy Earth Day!