A Girl Scout troop in Two Harbors joined Lake County Soil and Water Conservation District, the city of Two Harbors and Shoreview Natives to devise a plan to handle a run-off and icing problem at North Shore Horizons' building.
Troop 4251, consisting mostly of fifth- and sixth-graders, worked on the project for two years. The scouts started looking for a project for their Bronze Award in 2016. Troop leader Laura Plactek said she was seeking a project where the girls could "make a lasting change."
"It's a journey requirement that the girls get out into the community. It's about taking community action, finding something to make a difference," Plactek said.
Plactek heard about a couple of people who had slipped and fallen on the ice that accumulates around the North Shore Horizons building. Due to the placement of the drain spouts, ice would build up on the south side of the building, while at an area on the north side, where a sump pump empties, there was a constant build-up of several inches of standing water.
The girls researched various ways to solve the problem. After speaking with Derrick Passe, project coordinator at Lake County SWCD, a planter system was designed to take in the excess water and put it to use.
The girls had a goal to build four planters, but needed to raise funds to pay for the construction. To raise the money, the scouts organized a bake sale, a rummage sale, bagged groceries at Super One Foods and applied for a $600 grant from Cooperative Light and Power.
"We all got to write our own grants because Girl Scouts is about trying to prepare yourselves for the real world," troop member Brie Svedensen said. "My favorite part of this whole project was when we were told our grant was accepted. It was super-exciting because we realized that this was actually going to happen."
But first the scouts needed permission from the city to place the planters. The scouts spoke to Mayor Chris Swanson and City Administrator Dan Walker to make their case. The city reviewed the project and issued a license for their placement at the cost to North Shore Horizons of $1.
The planters were filled with native plants, thanks to the advisement and donation from Dan Schutte of Shoreview Natives.
While working on this project the girls learned about the dangers of water runoff into Lake Superior, ice build-up, the value of native plants to the ecosystem, project planning, grant writing and how to use power tools.
The planters were filled and planted Aug. 8 following a short public presentation.