Last May, Scouts from Troop 5, Milton, Mass., represented the United States at a United Nations environmental youth program in Sweden.: Mike Browne, 17; Robert Hudson, 14; Alex Jamal, 15; Matt Morris, 14; and Graham Strang, 16.
Their project, Get the Lead Out of Fishing, studied how wildlife is harmed by the 480 million lead weights that anglers lose each year. It has won lots of awards, including a 2007 President’s Environmental Youth Award. Research from the project is being used in legislation to ban lead from fishing. So far, the guys have collected and recycled nearly 60 pounds of lead.
Team leader Eagle Scout Mike Browne says, “It all started when I was 6 and asked my dad what happened to the weights we lost while fishing.” www.replacelead.com
Last April, Pack 46 of Central Point, Ore., hosted a Bus, Bike and Walk Week at its elementary school. The guys gave each student an Eco Card to tally their Earth-friendly travels. “It was just awesome! There were a lot more bikes around — 35 instead of three or four,” Cub Scout Colby Edwards, 8, says.
To honor the school’s surpassing its goal of 2,000 tallies (with 2,338), the pack put on a Green Day celebration with music, dancing and popcorn. “It felt like we were working on something together,” Cub Scout Tysen Lang, 9, says. “Even by everyone just doing a little, we were able to reach our goal.”
Going green can bring in “green.” Cub Scout Ryan Beaumont, 8, of Pack 437, Lakewood, Colo., came up with the idea for his own green business: selling Earthsacks. Sales of these reusable, all-natural cotton bags (to be used when shopping instead of plastic ones) help support Algalita Marine Research Foundation, which is involved in ocean plastic-pollution research and education. “We started the business on Earth Day last year, so we wanted it to be Earth friendly,” Ryan says. Ryan and his dad, Dave, also visit schools and Scout units to talk about making eco-friendly choices. www.earthsack.org
Four Scouts were on the team that won the 2008 Shell Eco-marathon, in which students designed, built and tested eco-friendly vehicles.
The team of 15 boys that included Adam Ferrari, 15; Matt Schneider, 16; and Quinn Schroeder, 15, Troop 399; and Andrew Ritter, 17, Troop 397, Evansville, Ind., got 2,843.4 miles per gallon, setting a record and winning the $10,000 grand prize to use for future projects.
“We need to develop vehicle technology so we don’t have such a reliance on oil,” Andrew says.
“I’m not too happy about gas prices,” Adam agrees. “And we need to make cars better for our world and atmosphere.”
Venturing Crew 202, Westminster, Md., not only earned the unit Hornaday Award in 2007, it has been recognized on state and national levels for its environmental work. The crew snagged three state conservation awards and a national 2008 SeaWorld/Busch Gardens Environmental Excellance Award, for which it won $10,000 for future projects. “The crew is passionate about what we’re doing, and we have fun at the same time,” says Eagle Scout Eric Kazyak, 15. Click here to read about some of the crew’s projects.
Life Scout Billy Weibley of Troop 42, Union, S.C., writes: “Our troop recycles cans, which helps pay for camp outings, badges, etc. We park a trailer along a major road through town that has ‘BSA Troop 42 Can Recycling’ posted on both sides. People can drop off aluminum cans, then we rotate patrols taking the trailer to the recycling center, sorting and processing the cans. It helps our troop and lets the community know we are available to do good things for the environment.”
For the national Bottle Brigade program, Pack 116, Chippewa Falls, Wis., collected more than 7,000 plastic soda bottles, more than any other participating Scout unit. The program is run by TerraCycle, which reuses the bottles to package plant foods (made from worm poop), paying 5 cents per bottle. The guys put the money toward helping everybody go to camp. Cub Scouts Ross Hebert and Brandon Lloyd say, “Collecting these bottles is a way to save our planet.” (www.terracycle.net/bb)
Star Scout Dave Ryan and Troop 777, Olmsted Falls, Ohio, created an innovative use of solar power at their council camp. “We bring a solar panel, car battery and a bunch of low-power red LED lights,” Dave says. “We set it up so the lights draw power from the battery, which draws power from the solar panel during the day.” (The guys use red light because it doesn’t affect night vision, contribute to light pollution or attract bugs like white light.) They also use their solar-power rig for other minor electrical needs, such as charging cell phones, inflating mattresses and operating low-power gear.
Troop 54 of Mandan, N.D., saved 113,928 kilowatts of energy, $11,393 in energy costs and put a stop to 90 tons of greenhouse gases through the Energy Star Change a Light Pledge program. The guys handed out more than 400 compact fluorescent lightbulbs in their community for residents to replace less energy-efficient regular incandescent bulbs.