Celebrate Don't Litter
For my Silver Award Project, I created Celebrate Don't Litter, which tackled the issue of pollution due to human activities in nature that leave behind harmful trash and other harmful materials. The project focused particularly on balloons and similar ways that people can damage the environment by celebrating outside. The curriculum centers around the fact that there are a multitude of ways to keep enjoying the environment by having parties or events outside, but it is crucial to do this in a sustainable way, so that we celebrate, not litter. The materials include a youth packet with information and activities, a teacher's guide to using the packet, and an info summary sheet.
I also did research in Florida with nonprofit Balloons Blow, Don't Let Them Go, to research and gain firsthand experience with the effects of pollution as I did a beach cleanup with one of the co-founders. I then brought a bag of trash back to my school at the time and used pictures and the trash from the cleanup to teach the youth packet to a group of younger students in their science class. I also held a Girl Scout Program in which I led participants on a river cleanup and taught the packet to them as well.
To ensure my project was sustainable, I gave the materials to teachers at my school so they could continue teaching it to students, but also had my school sign a no-balloons policy. My school often used balloons in events and celebrations, so I prepared a presentation in which I explained the harms of balloons and also summarized several reusable alternatives and gathered information on pricing to show how fast they would save money if my school so used them. I presented this to the head of school and she signed it in 2019 and it is still in effect. Now, by posting the materials here online alongside my Gold Award, they can continue to reach people and have a sustainable positive impact on the environment and how people engage with it in their daily lives.