Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Texas Girl Scout 1 of 10 to Receive Presidential Award

The Frisco Enterprise Star, TX, reports that earlier this year, participants from across the country were invited to the White House to attend the White House Summit on Environmental Education, where they presented their ideas on environmental education and received the President's Environmental Youth Award. Frisco resident Ainsley Campbell was one of those participants.

The 18 year old was invited to the summit for her eco-friendly initiative to decrease the large number of disease-carrying insects at a local park. The initiative, Bringing Bats to Beavers Bend, earned her the Girl Scout Gold Award. Campbell, 18, was awarded the presidential award for her work creating an environmentally friendly way to decrease the number of disease-carrying insects at a local park. Photo courtesy of the Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas.

When Campbell was brainstorming ideas for her Girl Scout Gold Award project, she knew she wanted to do something to help the environment and help combat the increasing mosquito problem in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

"I have always been interested in biology and environmental science, so when I was brainstorming for my Girl Scout Gold Award, I went to talk to Jeremy Starritt, the environmental services manager for the city of Frisco, about needs that our city had," said Campbell, an alumna of Frisco High School.

After discussing different ideas with Starritt and hearing about the numerous cases of West Nile virus found in the DFW area, Campbell decided to bring bat houses to Frisco's Beavers Bend Park in hopes of reducing the number of insects that can carry diseases such as West Nile virus.

"The bat houses that I built are a form of sustainable insect control," Campbell said. "They reduce the number of pesticides and chemicals used in the environment, which have negative long-term effects. Since bats eat thousands of insects each day, their presence reduces the number of insects like mosquitoes that can carry West Nile virus."

By building the bat houses at Beavers Bend Park, Campbell also hoped to increase the bat population in Frisco while reducing the number of disease-carrying insects. Campbell was presented with the Girl Scout Gold Award for her project by Colleen Walker, the CEO of the Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas.

"I could not be more proud of her accomplishments," Walker said. "The Gold Award is the highest award a Girl Scout can earn and I am always amazed at the incredible ways our girls choose to add value to their communities. Her project was proactive, creative and sustainable all while benefiting her entire community."

For her achievement, Campbell was invited to the White House to attend the White House Summit on Environmental Education, where she gave a presentation on her project and was awarded the President's Environmental Youth Award.

Each year, the President's Environmental Youth Awards program grants 10 regional awards. Campbell won the regional award for Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico and Oklahoma.

When Walker learned that Campbell would be representing the Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas at the White House for winning the regional award, she was thrilled.