On June 7, Girl Scout Troop 125 completed its bronze award project with the installation of a butterfly way station garden in the New Lenox Commons.
The bronze award is the highest award a Girl Scout junior (fourth and fifth grade students) can earn.
Girl Scout Juniors Aubrey Jackson, Lauren McGreal, Sydney Rinker, and Megan Trevarthan started planning last year for ways to earn their bronze award.
In September, the troop met and discussed project ideas that included a community clean up, helping a local animal shelter or animal sanctuary, and building a butterfly garden.
The girls voted to do all four things, but decided on the butterfly garden as it was a more sustainable project.
The project started with meeting with master gardener Nancy Kuhajda from the University of Illinois Extension Office.
Kuhajda taught the girls about the importance of monarch butterflies and helped the girls develop a garden plan.
Next, the girls needed to secure a site for the garden, so they met with New Lenox Mayor Tim Baldermann to propose their project.
The mayor gave the girls a space in the center of town, in the New Lenox Commons, for their garden.
The girls finished their garden project prep work from home during the COVID-19 lockdown by planting and growing annual flowers and herbs for the garden and painting rocks and plant markers.
In June the girls worked with the village of New Lenox Public Works department to prepare a plot.
The following week the garden was planted in the commons. The garden is a beautiful addition to the commons which many walkers and community members enjoy as they walk along the path.
The garden includes 15 different varieties of plants, including host plants for monarchs such as milkweed and both annual and perennial nectar plants.
The girls set up a watering schedule to ensure the plants are watered daily.
The garden habitat is also registered online in the National Way Station Registry as a certified butterfly way station.
The project included more than 40 hours of service work and will be an endeavor that the girls will continue to take care of and plan for each year.
Troop leaders Cindy Jackson and Sherry Trevarthan are proud of the hard work of these junior scouts.
"The girls accomplished a lot this year working to complete their Bronze Award," Jackson said in a news release from Troop 125. "[This included] the building and donating four bat houses to Chubby Goat Acres Animal Sanctuary in Schoolcraft, Michigan, volunteering at PIP Animal Rescue Fest, volunteering at the annual scout food drive and doing a community garbage clean up along with many other fun events they participated in throughout the year.
"These four young ladies are prepared to bridge to Cadette Girl Scouts as they enter sixth grade."
Co-leader Sherry Trevarthan said in the release, "It's been fun watching the girls work together this year. They all have a heart for nature and animals and used their skills and creativity to do many wonderful things."