Digest>Archives> October 2009

Girl Scouts Learn About Preservation at Wisconsin Maritime Sites


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Girl Scouts view Pilot Island Lighthouse, ...

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) wildlife biologist Sadie O’Dell and visitor services manager Erin Railsback led a group of eight Girl Scouts from Milwaukee and Chicago on a three-night Door County islands adventure earlier this month. The purpose of the trip was to teach the girls about island ecosystems and to provide them with an authentic learning opportunity involving the development of proposed management plans for future visitors to Plum and Pilot Islands, part of the Green Bay National Wildlife Refuge.

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Girl Scouts from Illinois and Wisconsin received ...

The journey began on August 3rd, at the Horicon National Wildlife Refuge. The girls were given background information about Rock, Plum and Pilot Islands. They learned important safety lessons, were taught “Leave No Trace” ethics, and participated in a management planning project overview. The night was spent at Camp Silverbrook, a Girl Scout camp in West Bend, Wisconsin.

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The Girl Scouts hold up a sign that tells it all ...

The following day, naturalist Paul King took the girls on a tour of Rock Island State Park. They hiked around the entire island and visited the Pottawatomie Lighthouse. Paul also gave them with an overview of the island’s fascinating history.

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The Girl Scouts hike to Wisconsin’s majestic Plum ...

On August 6th, volunteer Gary Wilson provided transportation from Rock Island to Plum Island aboard his boat Summer Wind. Gary taught the girls the importance of boating safety and ethics before departing from the pier. Prior to arriving on Plum, a detour was made to Pilot Island to give the group a close up view of this part of the Green Bay National Wildlife Refuge showing them the abundant population of cormorants and gulls living there.

A full day of activities on Plum Island included the history of the U.S. Life-Saving Service, the Lighthouse Service, and the Coast Guard. The girls hiked part of the old patrol road around the island’s perimeter. They encountered our national symbol on the wing and participated in developing a plan for rerouting a trail in order to minimize human disturbances to the eagles’ nest located in the middle of the island. A climb to the top of the Rear Range Light provided the scouts with a panoramic view of the Death’s Door passage.

After dinner, small groups presented their visions for the Green Bay National Wildlife Refuge. Suggestions addressed such issues as possible visitor uses on each island, impacts caused by visitation, threatened or endangered plant and animal species present, facilities, funding, fees, policies and regulations, safety, waste management, and various other related topics. With keen foresight, the girls shared their thoughts in the moonlight of a magical summer night on Plum Island.

Perhaps some of these young people will be inspired to take an active role in carrying out the initial plans they helped to formulate during their visit to the islands. It is also hoped that other area youth from Washington Island and Door County will be included in future educational activities on Plum Island next summer. For more information on how to become involved in the Green Bay National Wildlife Refuge, please contact Tim Sweet at tjsweet@charter.net, or visit www.plumandpilot.org.

This story appeared in the October 2009 edition of Lighthouse Digest Magazine. The print edition contains more stories than our internet edition, and each story generally contains more photographs - often many more - in the print edition. For subscription information about the print edition, click here.

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