November 15, 2018
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Green Girls

Sustainable gardens conserve natural resources
This rain garden at the Girl Scouts of Southwest Indiana headquarters was the first rain garden constructed.

The Girl Scouts may be known for their delicious cookies. But during these hot months, they’re becoming known for their rain gardens.

Rain gardens conserve and reuse rain to water plants. They feature planted depressions to allow rainwater runoff or rain barrels to collect water. In addition to creating the gardens, the young girls also are becoming educated on the environment, natural resources, and conservation.

“(It) is about sustainability, to continue to educate others, and the garden is a visual representation of that,” says Jessica Cottone, corporate and foundation giving coordinator of the Girl Scouts of Southwest Indiana. “It’s about the environment and the wildlife — and it’s making the world a better place.”

These vibrant, lush gardens are popping up all over the Tri-State. Even more, they are flourishing with a variety of plants native to this area, such as day lilies, irises, Shasta daisies, and peonies.

Created as part of the Girl Scouts of Southwest Indiana (GSSI) Forever Green Take Action Project, the rain gardens are cared for by the troop. The gardens then are passed along to future members.

Karen Bengert, Troop Leader No. 206, recently witnessed the creation of a rain garden when her troop saw the opportunity to beautify an area of St. Theresa School’s campus. “This journey helped to teach the girls the skills needed to plant a garden and to care for it for a lifetime,” she says.

The first GSSI rain garden was planted outside of the corporate office in Downtown Evansville in May 2012, in honor of the organization’s CEO, Jan Davies, for her 40 years of service to Girl Scouts. Other rain gardens can be found at St. Benedict Cathedral School and at several locations in Ferdinand, Ind. Rain gardens are in progress at Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Haubstadt, Ind. Ultimately, GSSI hopes to see rain gardens in each of its 11 counties with the help of community sponsors.

For more information about the Girl Scouts of Southwest Indiana, or how to become involved with a rain garden, call 812-421-4970, ext. 311, or visit girlscouts-gssi.org.

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