Birdhouses
Girl Scouts and volunteers paint birdhouses at Fort Hood, Texas, March 16. They will help provide shelter for cavity nesters migrating through the Central Texas region. (Photo Credit: Christine Luciano, Fort Hood Environmental Outreach Coordinator) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT HOOD, Texas - Showing off their pride and learning how to be stewards of the environment, the Fort Hood Girl Scout Service Unit celebrated National Girl Scout Week with biologists from the U.S. Army Garrison - Fort Hood here.

The environmental go-green themed day was hosted by the Adaptive and Integrative Management program,

March 16.

“The goal of Girl Scout Week is to get the girls out in community every day,” Stephanie Farber, troop leader, said. “The biologists are amazing and have so much knowledge that they are willing to share.”

For the fifth year in a row, the Girl Scouts ventured out to the Directorate of Public Works Environmental Division footprint to explore the installation’s environmental programs and initiatives, while also making a difference in the community.

Charlie Plimpton, biologist, AIM, led the event explaining the importance of birdhouses for cavity nesters like Carolina chickadees, Carolina wrens and Bewick’s wrens who build their nests in trees or manmade structures.

“We are getting into the spring and birds are starting to migrate north for the breeding season,” he said. “You will see a lot of colorful birds coming through, and they need a place to build nests for their offspring.”

Chelsea Plimpton, biologist, AIM, added the importance of the scouts painting the birdhouses brown.

“Our goal is to camouflage the birdhouses with the natural environment. A lot of them will be placed on trees to blend in with the bark,” Chelsea Plimpton said. “Otherwise, brightly colored birdhouses can attract predators and make them more vulnerable.”

As the scouts worked together with their siblings and parents to paint 15 birdhouses, Brad Burden, biologist, AIM, encouraged participants to observe their surroundings.

“Keep your eyes open and see if there are any birds in the area,” he said. “Our garden attracts a lot of native birds like blue jays, cardinals, sparrows and doves.”

Young volunteer
Kylie Babin, 4, volunteers alongside Girl Scouts spreading mulch in a meditative area at Fort Hood, Texas, March 16. (Photo Credit: Christine Luciano, Fort Hood Environmental Outreach Coordinator) VIEW ORIGINAL

Cheryl Babin, a parent who attended the event with her daughters, enjoyed the knowledge shared by the biologists.

“It is exciting to be out here helping and learning how natives and pollinators can benefit the Texas landscape,” she said.

Afterwards, the scouts decorated rocks with encouraging messages. They then continued their adventure exploring native plants and signage along the trail before arriving to the meditative area.

“The purpose of this area is to create a space where Soldiers, their families and civilians can develop mindfullness and connect to nature,” Chelsea Plimpton said.

“Meditation is finding of the mind, body and soul so you find yourself within and not care about what other people think,” cadet scout Jillian Farber said. “Soldiers need to have this space because they have really stressful jobs, and they need to get away sometimes.”

Jillian Faber joined her peers as Chelsea Plimpton guided participants with a meditative exercise, encouraging them to focus on their senses and connect with the environment.

“The goal of this practice is to be present and in the moment,” she said. “Spending time in nature helps to support happiness and developing our friendship with the environment is important.”

After the exercise, scouts got dirty, breaking open bags of mulch and spreading it across the meditative area. The go-green service day made Jillian Farber feel proud of the positive impact she made.

“Volunteering is helpful for everyone,” she said. “Others will see what you are doing and how it’s making the environment healthier.”

Stephanie Farber expressed her gratitude for the continued partnership, the knowledge and volunteer experience provided by the AIM team.

“This was awesome and the girls learned a lot,” she said. “I hope they continue to see the good and how a small task like painting a birdhouse or mulching can turn into such a huge moment for others in the community.”