Rachel Bogaski planted her Girl Scout Gold Award project, Go Green, to combat people dropping trash on the ground and natural habitat encroachment by invasive species in wooded areas and parks.
Bogaski, a Hazelwood West High School graduate, was a Girl Scout Ambassador and part of Troop 677. The Girl Scout Gold Award is the highest national award that a Girl Scout Senior or Ambassador, girls in grades 9-12, can earn.
With assistance from the Missouri Department of Conservation, she had a recycle bin placed conveniently in Rockwoods Reservation where invasive plants could be stored and to enable visitors to discard trash in the bin instead of on the reservation’s land and in its waterways.
She explained the root cause of her project, which is two-fold. “It’s the growing number of invasive species out there. Many people aren’t aware of these plants and animals and don’t understand the problems they cause for natural environments.”
She added that the root cause for trash found throughout the woods or lying on the ground is because recycle or trash bins are not convenient or close by.
As part of her project, Bogaski attended the Maple Sugar Festival during the winter at the conservation area, located in West St. Louis County. There, she informed and educated the public about invasive species as well as removed some herself.
Earning the Girl Scout Gold Award requires a suggested 80 hours of planning and implementing a challenging, large-scale project that is innovative, engages others and has a lasting impact on its targeted community with an emphasis on sustainability.
“The Missouri Department of Conservation will have the recycle bin available for continued use,” she said. “The removal of invasive species is already a nationwide movement to help protect our natural environments.”
Bogaski said her project taught her that communication is key to being a good leader. She said her social skills have grown, allowing her to interact and communicate better with her friends, family, teachers, co-workers and her supervisor.
Earning the Girl Scout Gold Award puts girls among an exceptional group of women who have used their knowledge and leadership skills to make a difference in the world. Some of the Gold Awardee benefits are:
- A Girl Scout who has earned her Gold Award and enlists in the US armed forces, immediately rises one level in rank
- Colleges and universities recognize the achievements and leadership abilities of Girl Scout Gold Award recipients by offering scholarship programs
- Achievements of the Girl Scout Gold Award recipients are acknowledged by many government and non-profit organizations
Less than one percent of all Girl Scouts earn the Girl Scout Gold Award. With talent, passion, commitment and determination, they can make changes in their communities and impact people around the world. This year, 40 girls in eastern Missouri earned Gold Awards. They were recognized at a reception at Maritz in Fenton in June.