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More than 120 Girl Scouts came to Lighthouse Beach on April 18 to celebrate Earth Day and learn about the lakefront. The afternoon event, dubbed “VISTA Earth Day,” was brainstormed and run by Junior Girl Scout Troop 49, based at Lincolnwood Elementary School, as part of a yearly program backed by the Evanston Girl Scout VISTA (Volunteer Information, Support and Training Area), formerly a “service unit.”

Troop 49 leader Frances Berg created and oversaw the event with help from 16 ten-year-old scouts, who had already done two beach cleanups with the Alliance for the Great Lakes.

All activities employed earth-friendly or recycled materials. The girls stamped natural objects onto clay they made of coffee grounds to make 3-D art titled “Lake Impressions,” a project conceptualized by local artist and troop leader Evan Finamore; it now hangs at the Evanston Ecology Center. An ecology center representative also taught the girls about the animal/plant food web at the event. Troop 49 girls helped to run five of the eight event booths.

“It was hard work,” said Junior Girl Scout Doran Kim, “but it was fun helping the other kids do the crafts. Now everyone knows a lot more about our lake.”

After completing the eight learning stations, the girls were each awarded an organic apple donated by Whole Foods and a water bottle from REI.

“Great Lakes conservation is very important for our girls,” said Ms. Berg. “This event strived to teach them to leave a legacy of sustainability, health and beauty for future generations. The alternative is very sad.”