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Scout award recipients learn about birds, food and themselves

Girl ScoutsKristen Schneider (left) and Emilee Hansen are shown with Dick's Fresh Market owner Lisa Weiss. The girls' project involves placing healthy recipes they've collected around Dick's for customers to take and use.1 / 2
Shown from left, Jessica Lindall, Kelsey Schneider, Shauna Kuhl and Olivia Miller stand with a sign they posted near the Kinnickinnic River. It was one of several featuring birds likely to be seen along the Kinni. The signs tell people what types of food its safe to give birds. 2 / 2

Recently a group of 14-year-old girls could be seen using a post driver to install signs along the White Pathway, and Kinnickinnic Pathway by Kinnickinnic River’s Lake George.

The girls, members of Cadette Girl Scout Troop 53727, were completing their Silver Award Project.

Silver Award is the highest award a cadette Girl Scout (in sixth through eighth grade) can earn. Shauna Kuhl, Jessica Lindall, Kelsey Schneider and Olivia Miller focused their project on birds.

They created signs telling people what kinds of food is safe to give birds that White and Kinnickinnic Pathway visitors are likely to see.

“A lot of people think bread’s good for them, but it’s not actually really good for their health,” said Lindall.

The girls got the idea for their project from the St. Croix Valley Bird Club. Club members Jim Higgins and Cathy Olyphant helped the girls make sure their signs were accurate.

The girls were required to spend 50 hours working on the project itself. That was after they completed a “journey” or series of badges required to prepare the girls for the Silver Award Project.

They had to submit a project proposal to the River Valleys Girl Scout Council and have it approved before they could begin.

Once they finished their badges, and gained approval for the project, the girls also had to get approval from the River Falls Parks and Recreation Advisory Board.

“It went really well,” Miller said. “They were pretty supportive.”

“They gave feedback for us, and they wanted us to know what was going to be put on the signs, and where we were going to place them,” Lindall said.

So the girls came back to another meeting, a few months later, with more details for the council.

A city worker also helped the girls install the signs.

Now that they’re finally in place, the girls said they’re very excited.

“It’s a great accomplishment, I think,” Lindall said.

The girls said they learned a lot from the experience -- and not just about birds.

“The whole idea of approaching adults the way we did, to tell them our ideas was new to me,” said Schneider. “This project taught us a whole bunch more about ourselves.”

All four girls said they felt better prepared now to take on their Gold Awards in the future. Gold Award is the highest award a senior or ambassador Girl Scout can earn. It’s similar to a Boy Scouts achieving Eagle Scout status.


Girl Scout Troop 53727 had two groups earning Silver Awards this year. Kristin Schneider, and Emilee Hansen collected healthy, family-friendly, cheap recipes they’re going to post in Dick’s Fresh Market.

The recipes will be printed on small cards and placed in the store near the main ingredient of each recipe. That way people can pick up the recipes as they’re shopping.

“We have a college in town, and there's a lot of college students,” said Hansen.

“They can’t eat ramen every day,” Schneider said.

The two collected recipes that are cheap, quick and easy to make, and healthy.

“Our recipes also work for families too,” Schneider said. “We made sure they were all family friendly by testing them.”

The two will post eight recipes total around Dick’s grocery store -- four lunch recipes, three breakfast, and one dessert.

The girls worked with Dick’s Fresh Market owner Lisa Weiss. They said Weiss was very supportive of their project.

“They said we could pretty much come in any time and just put them up,” Hansen said.

The girls will provide extra copies of the recipes, and Dick’s staff will restock them as needed. The girls also plan to give Dick’s staff the original files for the recipe cards.

The girls found the recipes, and adjusted some of them to be healthier, with the help of dietician Kristin Miller.

One dietary tip they learned from Miller:

“Americans get a lot more sodium than they should,” Hansen said.

“So use stuff that's low in sodium,” Schneider said.

The girls substituted garlic powder for garlic salt in one of their recipes in order to lower the sodium content.

The girls’ recipes include three or four ingredients and are easy to prepare.

Their favorite is a chili pasta, which both girls said they’d make again.

Like their troop members, Hansen and Schneider learned about more than just food.

Schneider said she came out of her shell a bit.

“I talked to people more than I thought I would’ve,” she said.

“It involved a lot of talking to different adults,” said Hansen.

Neither Hansen nor Schneider said they planned to continue with Girl Scouts in the future, but both said they thought this project has taught them skills they can use in the future.

“I think it’ll definitely open up ways for us to get out into our community and help out more,” Hansen said.

The girls’ recipes will be posted at Dick’s within the next couple weeks.

Next, Troop 53727 will send some paperwork back to the Girl Scout council, and they’ll receive their Silver Awards in a ceremony later.

The girls' troop leaders, Molly Miller and Nancy Lindall said they're very proud of the girls.

“The girls worked very hard to complete their Silver Awards,” Miller and Lindall said. “Prior to starting their Silver Awards, they had to complete a specific book with activities, then choose a subject to work on as a group. Approval had to come from the Girl Scout Council before they could move forward.

“They really pulled together to get both jobs done: the bird signs and the recipe cards. Be sure to look for the bird signs along the Kinnikinnic Pathway and White Pathway, and the recipes at Dick's Fresh Market. The recipes should be up at Dick's Fresh Market by the end of September."

Meanwhile, all the Troop 53727 girls start River Falls High School in the fall. They said they think their newfound confidence in talking to people -- particularly adults will be very helpful in high school.

Gretta Stark

Gretta Stark has been a reporter for the River Falls Journal since July of 2013. She previously worked as a reporter for the New Richmond News from June 2012 to July 2013. She holds a BA in Print and Electronic Media from Wartburg College.

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