OCEANSIDE — A local Girl Scouts troop has created a new exhibit that teaches young kids everything they need to know about the life of a butterfly.
For most of the last school year, the girls of Troop 1545 have been putting together their “butterfly nook” at the Buena Vista Audubon Society’s Nature Center, just underneath the staircase leading to the center’s second floor.
The girls, all fifth-graders who attend either Coastal Academy or Ivey Ranch Elementary, spent a total of 20 hours designing, painting, decorating and breaking down important facts about butterflies into easy-to-understand bits of information that children ages of 2 to 8 can learn.
The project is meant for the troop’s Bronze Award, which is the highest award a Junior-level scout can earn through completion of a community service project.
The troop members brainstormed different ideas for a Bronze Award project earlier in the school year. CC Sullivan was partly responsible for the butterfly nook idea, which got the most votes among the troop members.
Part of Sullivan’s inspiration for the project was to create something that would benefit the Oceanside community directly, which is how the troop ended up connecting with the nature center. Now, the butterfly nook joins the center’s various displays of native animals.
“We’re loving this,” Joan Bockman of the nature center said about the display.
Bockman noted that the nature center’s gardening group even planted milkweed, which is the only thing monarch butterflies eat, in congruence with the troop’s project. Without milkweed, monarch larva would not be able to develop into butterflies.
The project was also a learning experience for the troop members, who had to conduct their own research, design the project and even create their own budget to put it all together.
“We used creativity and learned how to help others,” said Kiara Sottile, one of the troop members.
Though the girls ended up choosing the butterfly nook as their project, Sottile also had a good idea to put more trash cans around her community after noticing how much trash was on the ground without a lot of trash cans nearby. The troop even spoke with city staff to figure out what they could do to help their community.
“We didn’t just search pictures up on the internet,” Sullivan said. “We worked as a team to create it because it wouldn’t really work if only one person was doing it.”
Along with fun facts about butterflies, the troop’s butterfly nook also has its own “cocoon” hammock seat, books and costumes for fun.
Now that the project is finished, the girls must send in their report for the project to Girl Scouts of the USA to be considered for the Bronze Award. Next year, the girls will be bumped up from Juniors to Cadettes.
Although the girls won’t always be junior-level Girl Scouts, they will always remember the butterfly nook they worked to create whenever they visit the nature center.
“We’re leaving a legacy for future Girl Scouts,” said troop member Riley Kakalik.