By U.S. ArmyNovember 10, 2009
GLENDALE, Calif.-Several dozen Girl Scouts from the Greater Los Angeles Council clamored to learn about science and technology at the annual Family Science Festival at Glendale Community College, hosted in part by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District.
This year's focus was on climate and environmental science, with each participant traveling to each booth to conduct experiments and earn recognitions, said Katherine Poulin-Kerstien, a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics program specialist for the Girl Scouts.
USACE volunteers fielded questions from eager Daisy, Brownie and Cadette Girl Scouts, who were curious about environmental concerns and how pollution and waste generated in Southern California can be mitigated. Girls watched as Corps employees sprayed "pollution" onto the watershed model to demonstrate how pollution from many sources ends up in water bodies, with a serious impact on the quality of shared water resources.
"All the girls were very receptive to the model," said USACE Emergency Management intern Anabel Ronquillo. "They left with knowledge of how everyday things can affect our water resources, and something to think about."
The girls were quizzed on what they learned after each demonstration, and were rewarded with Corps prizes. Many girls expressed interest in environmental engineering, and named ways to halt some pollution by carpooling more often, taking public transportation, walking and riding bikes.
Ronquillo set up a "Grab and Go Challenge," which consisted of two plastic bins filled with various items, including a DVD, bottled water, lip gloss, snacks, a movie poster and toys. Girls were instructed to fill a backpack with things they would need if they encounter a natural disaster or other emergency.
"The girls were really good at the 'Grab and Go Challenge,'" Ronquillo said. "They already knew what they needed to take with them in case of an emergency and what they didn't. We were not able to trick them into taking the lip gloss or DVD, and the mothers liked the idea as well, because it excited the girls into wanting to go home and make their own emergency evacuation kits."
Poulin-Kerstien said the event was a huge success, because the Scouts got to meet people who work in the targeted fields. "The girls had the opportunity to learn about climate, the environment and careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math," she said.