By Desiree Williams
Girl Scout Troop 742 launched a pilot program in April at Union Elementary that encourages students to help the environment by using less plastic. The fourth-grade troop asked the school to incorporate silverware at lunch instead of plastic sporks.
Rachel Hatcher co-leads Troop 742 with Christina Race. As a troop leader, Hatcher said her goal is to foster the girls’ leadership skills.
“We really try to help the girls become better leaders, so we’re more facilitators,” she said. “We come up with activities for them to do that they kind of guide themselves through it.”
This year, the troop wanted to pursue a Bronze Award, the highest award for a Girl Scout Junior. The troop must complete a leadership journey and a project within the community to succeed. One Scout suggested a project to reduce plastic use, so the troop collaborated with Kathy Beanblossom, the cafeteria manager at Union Elementary, to remove sporks from lunch.
“That’s quite a bit of waste when you think about how many sporks are being used every day and thrown away,” Hatcher said.
The school had extra silverware from the past that was enough to cover one grade level. The Scouts act as monitors during each lunch period to make sure students are using the silverware and not throwing it away. They also wear T-shirts periodically that advertise ways to reduce plastic use.
In only seven weeks, Hatcher said the troop has prevented 3,500 sporks from ending up in landfills.
“We’re hoping to continue this pilot program in the fall and then see how it goes with adding another grade,” she said. “Our goal would be to have the whole school using silverware if we can.”
Hatcher said the troop wants to use the profits from cookie sales to purchase silverware for the rest of the school.