Girl Scout Troop 579

Girl Scouts Gung Ho about Recycling

And they want you to be, too

A field trip inspired members of Girl Scout Troop 579 to embrace recycling.

Since then, the fifth-grade Scouts have canvassed their FishHawk Ranch community in eastern Hillsborough County, handing out 1,000 fliers that advocate good recycling practices. They also worked with the FishHawk Ranch Homeowner's Association to place a recycling bin at Ibis Park, where the Girl Scout Juniors meet.

Hillsborough County Solid Waste has provided 500 more fliers for the girls to distribute.

Scout Victoria Wantlin explains how it works: Accompanied by parents in cars, the girls grab stacks of fliers and dash to homes in FishHawk Ranch neighborhoods. They tuck the handbills beneath doormats, and speak with people stepping into cars, bringing in groceries, or doing yardwork. People are friendly, Victoria says. "They seem really pleased that we're handing out the fliers."

Victoria and fellow Scout Sydney Houston say they didn't know plastic bags and items with food on them aren't supposed to go into curbside collection bins. The discards can clog or damage machines at the recycling facility.

The flyers make it clear what items should and should not go into the bins.

Meanwhile, Sydney has firsthand knowledge that people are using the new community bin at Ibis Park. She lives nearby, and sometimes peeks inside the container to monitor its usefulness.

Troop 579 leader Debbie Cullen says the girls became intrigued with recycling on a field trip to the Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) in Tampa. They decided to spread the recycling message to earn their Bronze Awards, the highest honor a Girl Scout Junior can achieve. The award is recognition that the girls worked at least 20 hours on a project benefiting their community, school, or place of worship.

You can request a recycling presentation for your school, business, or community group.

Find your recycling collection schedule.

Recycling isn't the only cause Troop 579 has embraced. The Scouts also collect non-perishable food for needy kids. And they like to camp, learning skills such as canoeing, archery, and cooking on an open fire.

The girls are excited about a trip this summer to Savannah, Ga., where the first Girl Scout troop was organized 105 years ago. (The second troop was founded two years later, at Hyde Park United Methodist Church in Tampa.) They are raising money for the excursion through a garage sale, car washes, and Girl Scout cookie sales.

Photo information: Troop leader Debbie Cullen, at rear, poses with her Junior Scouts and the new recycling bin at Ibis Park.

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