Grandfather Mountain Hosts Girl Scout Day – September 17, 2016

grandfather-mountain-girl-scout-dayWhen Mildred the Bear was named an honorary Girl Scout, the Grandfather Mountain mascot could bear-ly contain her excitement.

That excitement continues today with the 46th annual Grandfather Mountain Girl Scout Day, returning to the Linville-based nature preserve and travel attraction Saturday, Sept. 17.

On Girl Scout Day, all Girl Scouts and their troop leaders are admitted free with proof of membership, while discounted admission is available for family members joining them.

The tradition started in 1971, when Grandfather Mountain “adopted the Girl Scouts.” The scouts returned the favor by adopting Mildred, even presenting her with special pins to celebrate her years with the organization.

Forty-five years later, scouts will return to Grandfather for a mountain’s worth of outdoor fun. This year’s event focuses on plant life, and staff naturalist Marisa Sedlak — a former Girl Scout, herself — promises it’ll be both fun and educational.

“I’m so excited for them to come up,” Sedlak said. “When I was a scout, it was always fun to explore different types of areas, from the coast to the mountains, and up here, we just have so many opportunities for hiking and being outdoors … there’s just so much for them to do and learn about, while playing around at the same time.”

012916_gfm_2016_girl_scout_day_GMSFNew this year, many of the activities have been broken down by badge requirements for different age groups, Sedlak said, “so they’ll be able to knock out some steps to their badges.”

It’ll also be an opportunity for scouts to learn about Grandfather Mountain’s unique biodiversity.

“It’s something you can’t find in too many places in North Carolina,” Sedlak said, “so it’s a great opportunity to dive into the plants that are unique to this area.”

The 2016 event schedule is in full bloom:

  • 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.: Check-in Table
    Visit the Nature Museum to register your troop and work on a tree ID challenge. Your troop’s submission will be entered for a prize drawing at the end of the day.
  • 9 to 9:45 a.m.: For Plants, Every Drop Counts
    Geared toward Daisies and Brownies, this event teaches participants about the importance of water conservation for plants and trees through an interactive activity, during which Daisies can work toward their Green “Use Resources Wisely” petal. Meet at the Let-It-Rain Picnic Shelter.
  • 10:30 to 11 a.m. and 11:05 to 11:35 a.m.: Tree Anatomy
    With Juniors and Cadettes in mind, this activity is ideal for scouts who’ve wondered what goes on inside a tree. During this program, staff naturalists will describe the parts of a tree and the role they play in tree survival through an interactive activity. Meet at the Let-It-Rain Picnic Shelter.
  • 10:30 to 11:15 a.m.: Advanced Plant ID
    Designed for Seniors and Ambassadors, this activity will show scouts how to identify different tree species using a dichotomous key, while enjoying the beautiful scenery of Grandfather’s Black Rock Trail. Meet at Black Rock Trailhead.
  • 11 a.m. to noon: Girl Scout Service Project
    Intended for Cadettes, Seniors and Ambassadors, this program invites scouts to join Grandfather Mountain’s trail rangers in removing non-native plant species, while learning about the importance of native plants. Space is limited, so pre-registration is required by calling (828) 733-4326.
  • 1 to 1:45 p.m.: Guided Hike on the Woods Walk Trail
    Scouts of all ages are invited to join Grandfather naturalists for a guided hike to learn how to identify trees by their leaves. Meet at Woods Walk. Space is limited, so pre-registration is required by calling (828) 733-4326.
  • 1 to 2 p.m.: Plants and Pollinators
    Scouts, from Brownies through Cadettes, are invited to drop by the Butterfly Garden and play a game, all while learning the important role pollinators play in the lives of plants and trees. Meet at the Butterfly Garden near the Fudge Shop.
  • 2:15 to 3:15 p.m.: Tree ID Art
    Especially for Daisies and Brownies, this activity will teach scouts how to identify certain tree species and create their own piece of leaf-rubbing art. Meet at Woods Walk.
  • 3:30 p.m.: Closing Ceremony
    Scouts are invited to attend a short closing ceremony at Woods Walk.

For more information on Girl Scout Day, call the Grandfather Mountain Naturalist Office at (828) 733-4326.

The not-for-profit Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation strives to inspire conservation of the natural world by helping guests explore, understand and value the wonders of Grandfather Mountain. For more information, call (800) 468-7325, or visit www.grandfathermountain.org.