Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Intern aims to connect more girls, volunteers to the outdoors

Please give a warm Girl Scout welcome to Ariel Barasch, our council’s new Curriculum and Training Intern.

Ariel's role is to help GSWPA staff enhance outdoor and conservation activities for girls and volunteers, organize local service opportunities for family and community members, and assist in increasing girl participation levels and volunteer confidence in the outdoors.

Ariel was born in Connecticut, spent her young childhood in New Jersey, and graduated from high school in Birmingham, Alabama. She is a December 2015 graduate of Auburn University, where she earned two degrees: a B.S. in Natural Resources Management and a B.A. in English.

Ariel is no stranger to outdoor adventures. She loves to hike, ski, kayak, canoe and camp. She’s a world-traveler, too, having trekked through most of Europe, much of Central America, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

Ariel’s passion for exploring the outdoors was sparked in fifth grade during a five-day school trip to the Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont, an educational center that provides hands-on learning experiences in the National Park. “I thought what they did there was so incredibly cool,” Ariel said. “I went back to summer camp there every year I could.”

During her internship at GSWPA, she hopes to inspire girls and volunteers to love the outdoors, too. Luckily, western Pennsylvania provides plenty of destinations.

“One of the great things about this region is that you’re never very far from a state park,” she said.

Ariel added that while proximity isn’t a barrier, lack of familiarity prevents many people from enjoying the outdoors. Her job is to help volunteers and girls build confidence gradually.

“It’s like a staircase,” Ariel said. “You build higher-level skills and gain confidence, one step at a time.”

Research shows that outdoor experiences benefit Girl Scouts and are a key driver of leadership. Nonetheless, nearly 60 percent of girls are not getting frequent contact with the outdoors in Girl Scouts.

Ariel hopes to change that by creating outdoors-based programs that encourage girls and volunteers to try outdoor activities more often.

“Educating volunteers is vital to helping girls,” she said.

Ariel’s intern position is the first of its kind at GSWPA. It’s part of a collaboration between GSUSA and the Student Conservation Association (SCA) that is funded by a grant from the Richard King Mellon Foundation. This pilot program include five councils: GSWPA, Girl Scouts of Alaska, Girl Scouts-Arizona Cactus-Pine Council, Girl Scouts of Greater New York, and Girl Scouts of Southeastern Michigan. Visit gswpa.org for more information.



Going to Girl Scout Day at the Pittsburgh Zoo? Check out this awesome schedule of fun!

Girls attending will also get this one-of-a-kind patch!
If you're heading to Girl Scout Day at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium on September 10, check out this schedule so you don't miss a minute of the fun!

Haven't registered yet? Reserve your tickets today! (Last day to register is Sept. 1.)

All-Day Events:
9 a.m.-3 p.m. - Girl Scout displays, swap table,  and Girl Scout Travel Shop will be on site (9am-1pm). Stop by to see the selection of Girl Scout merchandise and novelties -PNC Pavilion (by Water’s Edge)
9 a.m.-3 p.m. - Zoo education activity station –Meet the Polar bear mascot (11:00 am- 1:00pm)- PNC Pavilion (by Water’s Edge)

Touch Tables and Presentations:
9:30-11:30 a.m. - Examine tiger fur, an elephant tusk and a rhino horn to learn more about these endangered species - Lion Overlook
10-10:30 a.m. - Meet some of the education ambassador animals at the Safari Amphitheater.
10:30-11 a.m. – Special giraffe photos at the Giraffe overlook – please wear your Girl Scout vest
10 a.m. – 1 p.m. -Stop by the Gorilla Overlook to view the baby gorilla and his family! You will get an up-close look at primate biofacts and discover conservation efforts to protect primates’ wild spaces.  The station will include information on cell phone recycling to help wild gorillas Bring in a cell phone to recycle and enter into to a raffle for a chance to win zoo tickets.

Special Feedings:
11:30-11:45 a.m. – Sea lion feeding –Kids Kingdom
12:30-12:45 p.m. –Sea otter feeding – Water’s  Edge

Enrichment Activity – Treats and Toys for the Animals:
11 a.m. – Elephant enrichment – African Savanna
11 a.m.  – Gorilla enrichment – Gorilla Overlook
12 p.m. – Polar bear enrichment – Water’s Edge
1:30 p.m. – Visayan warty pigs – Islands

Girl Scout-Only Events:
9:15 a.m. - Flag ceremony– Parking lot
10:30-11 a.m. – Special giraffe photos at the Giraffe overlook – Please wear your Girl Scout vest!
1:00pm – 1:30 pm – Join Associate Zoo Veterinarian, Dr. Alicia Hahn to hear about a day in the life of a Zoo Vet. (Girl Scouts and their families only.) - Education complex
1:30 pm – 2:00pm – Meet Zoo Registrar Heather Terrell. Find out how the zoo acquires animals and meet some education animals up close! (Girl Scouts and their families only.) - Education complex

All Girl Scouts will receive 10% off merchandise in all zoo gift shops! (Please wear your Girl Scout vest.)

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Lake Erie Duathlon 5K descriptions

The Lake Erie Duathlon is a scenic course on beautiful Presque Isle State Park consisting of a 5K run, a 20K bike, followed by another 5K run.

Signs and volunteers will be at every turnaround to help you stay on course.

Each leg of the race begins and ends at Beach 11.

Below are the descriptions of the 5K courses.

If you have any questions, please contact lshade@gswpa.org. See you at the Du!

First 5K: Perry Monument

Participants will run NW from the starting line on the main Beach 11 parking lot access road to Presque Isle Drive (PID). They will turn left at PID towards the Perry Monument and will run on the multi-purpose path. They will stay on the multi-purpose path all the way to the Perry Monument area. They will run past the first entry way to Perry Monument to the second entrance and then turn left to cross over to the multi-purpose path that runs along the bay shore. They will follow this path that will lead them to the Perry Monument obelisk where they will run counter clockwise around this moated exhibit before exiting that area on the large concrete sidewalk that passes in front of the restrooms in that area. Upon exiting the sidewalk end they will bear left on the roadway (NOT right through the parking lot) that will lead them out to PID where they will turn right and head back over the bridge towards Beach 11. They will turn right on the Beach 11 parking lot access road and proceed to the first paved/tar and chip isle on the left and turn left. Shortly thereafter is the finish line (white paint across isle).

Starting Line: The starting line has moved beginning in 2015 to the main access road that leads back to the pavilion and then on to the Coast Guard Station. The actual starting line is between the third and fourth parking isle from the south end of the parking lot down near the pavilion. A pink starting line is painted across the entrance lane.

Mile 1: Located about 1/10th of a mile before mile marker 2 (see below) and about 20 before a red fire hydrant on the west side of the roadway. The exact spot is marked with one large dot of PINK paint on the white paint line that separates the roadway from the multipurpose path.

Mile 2: Located on the return trip from Perry Monument near the bottom of the bridge “hill”. It is about 25 feet before the end of the bridge guard rail that is right of the multi-purpose path. The exact spot is marked with two large dots of PINK paint on the white paint line that separates the roadway from the multipurpose path.

Mile 3: Located just before (35 ft) the right turn off PID to the Beach 11 parking lot access road. The exact spot is marked with three large dots of PINK paint on the white paint line that separates the roadway from the multipurpose path.

Finish Line to Transition Area: After entering the Beach 11 parking lot access road and proceeding to the first paved/tar and chip isle on the left they turn left into transition area.



Bike course: one counterclockwise loop of Presque Isle State Park.

Next: The Pines 5K

Participants will start the second 5k upon exiting the transition area on the east end of the transition area – white start line on roadway. They will bear left going out of the lot and then turn left on to “Coast Guard Drive” and proceed to PID. They will turn right onto the multi-purpose and proceed to the turnaround point that is located in the Pine Tree Area just beyond the 8.2 painted mile marker on the multi-purpose path. The participants do a 180 turn and retrace their path using the multi-purpose path back to “Coast Guard Drive”. A left turn there and then back to the entrance to the parking lot where they started. Straight ahead to the finish line (pink line) that is adjacent to a wooden fence on the left and about 30 ft before a parking lot road/lane on the left.

Start: Located at the east end of the transition area and doted by a white line across the roadway.

Mile 1: Located in the sunset beach area and only a few feet from the 7.7 painted mile marker on the multi-purpose path. The exact spot is marked with one large dot of PINK paint on the white paint line that separates the roadway from the multipurpose path.

Turnaround Point: Located in the Pine Tree Area between multi=purpose path mile marker 8.2 and 8.3 (closer to 8.2). The exact spot is marked with 10” high “T” painted in pink along the right edge of the multi-purpose path.

Mile 2: Located in the sunset beach area and only about 25 feet from the 7.8 painted mile marker on the multi-purpose path. The exact spot is marked with two large dots of PINK paint on the white paint line that separates the roadway from the multipurpose path.

Mile 3: Located on “Coast Guard Drive” about 80 ft before reaching a dirt access road on the right. The exact spot is marked with three large dots of PINK paint on the right side of the roadway. This is the only mile marker not painted on a white roadway painted line – because there was no white paint lines on this roadway.

Finish line: It is located adjacent to a wooden fence on the left and about 30 ft before a parking lot road/lane on the left. A pink finish line is painted across the left lane.


Support girls on a mission to make the world a better place during Erie Gives, Aug. 9



On Tuesday, August 9, Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania asks for your gift during Erie Gives, a 12-hour annual giving event hosted by the Erie Community Foundation.

All gifts of $25 or more made at eriegives.org between 8 a.m.-8 p.m. that day will receive a prorated match.

When you choose to support Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania you're choosing to invest in our nearly 25,000 girls who are making the world a better place.


Just like these Girl Scouts who recently helped other nonprofits and organizations in the Erie community through their Gold Award projects:

Addison Blicha, McDowell High School
Addison built four map and trail guide boxes for park visitors to recycle their maps at Asbury Woods Park. She also visited Girl Scout troops and science classes in her area to speak about the importance of community recycling efforts.

Kayla Bond, McDowell High School
Kayla produced and presented a puppet show for the ExpERIEnce Children’s Museum titled “Be Bigger than Bullying,” encouraging positive encounters with anyone who is differently-abled. It featured a stage, props and script she created herself. Read more about Kayla on GoErie.

Allison Haraczy, McDowell High School

Knowing that many of her friends at Erie Homes for Children and Adults use wheelchairs to get around, Kayla realized that they weren’t able to bend down to work in a traditional garden. For her Gold Award project, she built a raised vegetable planting area so that everyone could have the opportunity to plant, water, and watch the garden grow.

Novelle Sando, McDowell High School
Novelle worked to rebuild and update the current turtle habitat at the Erie Zoo and presented information on turtle habitats and her project to groups both in and out of the zoo.

Emily Vecchi, NWPA Collegiate Academy
Emily constructed a vertical farming area at Headwaters Park in Millcreek Township to address the problem of limited space in urban areas growing fresh vegetables. The farming area will be used for educational classes for local families.


Please remember Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania on Tuesday, Aug. 9 during Erie Gives. Make your donation between 8 a.m.-8 p.m. that day at eriegives.org

We appreciate your support! 

Monday, July 25, 2016

Lake Erie Duathlon: Important race day deets!

The Lake Erie Duathlon is just around the corner!

Please read the race details below carefully. If you have any questions, contact Lisa Shade at lshade@gswpa.org.

Packet pickup—Since timing chips are only available for pickup on race day, we are not having an early packet pickup.

Your premiums and timing chips are available beginning at 6 a.m. at Beach 11 on the morning of the race, Sunday, August 7. We expect this change will streamline our check-in process to get you through the line fast!


Race day
START
Pre-race instructions will be announced 15 minutes prior to race start.
While our race uses chip timing, it’s a gun start, so please make sure you are ready to go by our 7 a.m. start time.
Leave ample time to arrive at Beach 11, which is toward the eastern tip of Presque Isle State Park. The speed limit at the park is 25 mph, so it can take up to 20 minutes to reach the Beach 11 parking lot depending on traffic.

TRANSITION AREA
Please note, you are not permitted to ride your bike within the marked transition area. Volunteers will alert you to when you can mount/dismount your bike. PARTICIPANTS MUST BE WEARING HELMETS PRIOR TO EXITING THE TRANSITION AREA.
Relay teams:
Bikers wait in designated place for runners within the transition area (bikes remain on racks).
Runners enter transition area, then transfer chip to biker (chips are on a strap). Biker can then retrieve bike from rack and walk to start. After doing one loop, biker dismounts at entrance to transition area, places bike on rack, and transfers chip to runner waiting in designated space within the transition area.

THE COURSE

First 5K
Runners start at beach 11 and head west on the multi-purpose trail (paved surface) past the Perry Monument to the turnaround, then return to the Beach 11 transition area. The entire course is on the multipurpose trail. Please be alert for the turn into Beach 11. Volunteers will be there to guide you.

20K Bike—one loop of Presque Isle State Park
Please remain in the right hand lane the entire loop. Crossing into the other lane may result in disqualification.
The turnaround is near the Beach 1 bathhouse, then you head back to Beach 11. Please be alert for the turn into Beach 11. Volunteers will be there to guide you.
Cyclists must wear an ANSI-approved helmets during the entire bike segment of the race
The race course will not be completely closed to automobile, pedestrian or bicycle traffic.
Participants must be alert at all times.
NO drafting.

Second 5K
Runners exit the east side of the transition area and head north on the multipurpose trail (paved surface) toward Beach 10 to turnaround, then back to Beach 11 for the finish. Please be alert for the turn into Beach 11. Volunteers will be there to guide you to the finish.

Water
Water is located in the transition area and at the first mile of the second 5K. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

GSWPA Girl Scout chosen for Shenandoah National Park trails program

Katherine Stancil, at left, cleaning up trails
with her sister Girl Scouts.
Photo: Student Conservation Association
Imagine spending two weeks marveling at cascading waterfalls, awe-inspiring vistas and fascinating wildlife while working side-by-side with park rangers at Shenandoah National Park in Virginia.

Katherine Stancil, a Senior Girl Scout from Gibsonia, is doing just that as one of just 10 Girls Scouts selected nationwide, and the only one from western Pennsylvania, to work for two weeks this summer cleaning trails at Shenandoah National Park.

She arrived at the park on July 11 to meet her sister Girl Scouts and get started on the trail work.

The trip is part of a $1 million grant from the Richard King Mellon Foundation to connect more Girl Scouts to the outdoors. Girl Scouts is collaborating with the Student Conservation Association to organize these opportunities.

Read more about Katherine being chosen for this opportunity and get an update on what the crew has been doing so far

Friday, July 8, 2016

WV Flood: How YOU Can Help



As you may know, recent flooding in West Virginia affected thousands of families--including Girl Scout families. GSWPA reached out to our neighboring council, Girl Scouts of Black Diamond, to see what they're doing to support their communities and how our council can help. 
Through July 20, we'll collect the following much-needed items at any GSWPA office:
  • socks
  • flip-flops
  • underwear
  • school supplies
Please make sure all items are new and in original packaging. Cash, check donations, other items or used items will not be accepted. GSWPA office hours are Mondays-Thursdays, 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. and Fridays, 9-noon.   
We'll arrange for delivery and let you know when it happens on our Facebook page. 
If you have any questions, please contact customer care at customercare@gswpa.org or 800-248-3355.