Raking for community
Girl Scouts dedicate ‘Day of Service’
by Dawn Feddersen-Poindexter
Nearly 200 Girl Scouts, parents, and community members gathered at Triangle Park in Rogers to celebrate the Centennial Day of Service, marking the 100th anniversary of Girl Scouts by doing what Girl Scouts do best: helping their community.
Volunteers were asked to bring a rake and some energy and together they raked up 250 bags of leaves and other organic debris in parks and community spaces. The Girl Scouts were hoping to raise awareness in their community about the harmful impact that things like leaves, grass, and pet waste can have when they aren’t properly composted.
Left on the ground, organic debris will flow through storm drains and directly into waterways. When it breaks down, it will release phosphorous, which feeds algae and depletes oxygen in the water.
“This can be harmful to animals who come to drink the water and it can even kill fish,” said Pauline Mueller, of Rogers, who was eager to participate in one of her first events as a troop leader. Her daughter, Hannah, is a kindergartener at Rogers Elementary School and a new Daisy scout.
The Girl Scouts of Minnesota and Wisconsin River Valleys hope that this and similar events throughout the Twin Cities region will prevent 20,000 pounds of phosphorous from entering waterways and prevent 10 million pounds of algae growth.
Most people who rake and bag up their leaves do so for aesthetic purposes or just because that’s what they always do, but few realize the significance of this action.
Michele Strassburg, who volunteered along with her daughter, Gwyneth, said she never would have thought that leaves had a bigger impact on the environment beyond being pretty to look at.
“I had no idea leaves were bad for our waterways,” she said. “You hear about all of the bad things we’re doing to the environment. But leaves are a part of nature so it really surprised me that they could do so much harm.”
Volunteers at the event also marked 75 sewer drains to make people aware that no dumping is allowed. Many of the supplies for the event, including the compost bags for the leaves and the paint and stencils to mark the sewer drains, were donated by the City of Rogers.
Troop leaders hope that the lesson doesn’t end once the volunteers begin feasting on cupcakes at the after party. Many are planning on having another event for their scouts to volunteer their raking services to elderly community members or organizations that might need their help.
Mueller explained, “You teach kids these things early on and they make for good habits for a lifetime.”