PITTSBORO — Girl Scout Troop 1024, along with Pittsboro town officials, gathered in Mary Hayes Barber Holmes park earlier this month to plant a Cherokee Brave Dogwood and a native North Carolina tree to celebrate Arbor Day.
The annual Arbor Day celebration, observed April 8, began last year as an effort to help some girls achieve their Bronze Award, an honor given to scouts who spend at least 20 hours developing a project to give back to their community.
Troop leaders Rachel Hill and Christina Jenrette said the troop contacted Pittsboro Commissioner Kyle Shipp in 2021 to see what projects the girls could do in partnership with the town.
“He (Shipp) shared that Pittsboro was trying to become a (part of) Tree City USA,” Hill said, “so they made it the official first Arbor Day celebration of Pittsboro.”
Last year’s celebration was deemed a success, according to Hill and Jenrette, so when the troop approached the town to do this event again, the town brought in more resources to help with the project.
Hill said more girls became involved with Girl Scouts since last year’s Arbor Day ceremony, meaning more people helped with the ceremony.
“This is a little bit more meaningful for everyone,” Hill said.
Members of Troop 1024 also made posters as a part of their contributions to the Arbor Day festivities. Jenrette said each troop member researched the important functions of trees for the environment, including providing shelter for wildlife, absorbing carbon dioxide, as well as other “greenhouse gases” and more.
“Each poster is supposed to show something that the trees can do for us,” she said. “They wanted to make posters that would teach people about the trees.”
In addition to the posters and the tree planting, Jenrette said the girls were tasked with calling bakeries in the community, asking for donations of baked goodies for the event’s guests. The troop received a donation of a couple dozen cupcakes from Phoenix Bakery in Pittsboro.
“We wanted to get more local companies involved,” Jenrette said. “So the girls from the troop were encouraged to reach out themselves and ask for donations.”
This annual project, Hill said, has helped the girls develop an appreciation for the community, as well as set a precursor for what she hopes the troop will do with the town in the future.
“In the process of planning it, I think they (the town) tried to have a kids group — be it Girl Scouts or someone else — be a part of it every year, so they kind of set the precedent for it,” Hill said. “Once you get the girls started on something, especially if they are creating something, they tend to love it.”
Pittsboro Mayor Cindy Perry addressed the girls during the event. She thanked the troop for helping their town by joining in an effort to support the natural environment of Pittsboro.
Perry added the town wants to continue emphasizing a need for environmentally conscious projects and hopes events such as the Arbor Day tree planting ceremony will provide more opportunities for similar initiatives.
“One of the things we’re trying to do as a town is to create more projects that honor the environment and honor what we need to do in order to limit climate change,” Perry said. “This is a ceremonial tree, but we will be doing other trees — some at Knight (Farm) Park and some other locations.”
Reporter Taylor Heeden can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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