By Catherine Amoriello
Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania (GSHPA) is excited to share several new hands-on environmental learning stations are now available for visitor use at Camp Small Valley in Dauphin County.
GSHPA added six self-guided stations to the property focused on watershed/water quality monitoring, aeroponics, rain barrel diversion, riparian buffers, pollinator gardens, and composting. Visitors are welcome to learn about the topics through signage along property trails and at-home activities.
The stations follow Meaningful Watershed Educational Experience (MWEE) framework. MWEEs are learner-focused experiences meant to prompt youth interest, action, and civic engagement in local environmental issues. GSHPA’s curriculum will also provide orienteering, geocaching, and hiking opportunities to engage girls and visitors in nature. MWEEs are required for all students in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
“We were granted funding for this project nearly a year ago and we are excited to finally share these new installations with the local community and camp visitors,” said Sarah Monelli, GSHPA Property and Outdoor Program Manager. “Our learning stations are a perfect field trip opportunity for schools looking to fill the MWEE requirement while also engaging students in learning about the environment and outdoor-related career opportunities.”
GSHPA’s environmental learning stations were one of 63 projects selected by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to receive funding to address environmental justice, climate change, and/or water quality. GSHPA was awarded $18,323 from the DEP’s Environmental Education Grants Program which mandates setting aside 5% of pollution fine and penalties collected annually for environmental education in Pennsylvania.
GSHPA applied for the grant funding to increase educational programming at Camp Small Valley, specifically related to environmental learning and justice. The new MWEE learning stations will align with GSHPA’s outdoor and stewardship initiatives, both integral components of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience (GSLE), while also meeting state education standards.
GSHPA’s MWEE learning stations are open for public use. Individuals or groups can access this free property resource by making a day or overnight camp unit reservation. To make a Camp Small Valley reservation, please visit GSHPA’s Camp Small Valley property reservation webpage or contact email@example.com.