Badges, Activities, & Beyond

Three Ways to Reach Deeper this Earth Day

Each year on April 22, Earth Day is observed across the country to mark the anniversary of a modern environmental movement. Since the first ever Earth Day in 1970, Girl Scouts from all parts of America have participated in this day of action, conservation, and advocacy. For example, in the small community of Clearfield, PA, Girl Scouts dressed in their uniforms, took to the streets, and joined demonstrators with signs questioning America’s beauty and advocating for clean air. Even after Earth Day, this devoted group of girls dedicated 976 service hours over the course of nine months to clean up their local environment.

Girl Scout Cadettes, Earth Day, 1970. Members of Cadette Troop #44 of Hemlock Council (via Girl Scout Archives).

Since Girl Scouts’ founding in 1912—almost 60 years before Rachel Carson’s book Silent Spring sparked change across the nation—girls have been making the world a better place as part of a movement that emphasizes the outdoors and service. During World War II in the 1940s, Girl Scout troops ran Farm Aide projects and grew their own food in Victory Gardens to help conserve canned goods for troops. By the 1950s, Girl Scouts had begun significant national efforts to desegregate camps to experience the outdoors with all of their sisters. By the 1960s, membership approached 4 million Girl Scouts who were actively making the world a better place.

In the early 1970s, the Herford N. Elliott Charitable Trust was established with the goal to “instill in girls a lifelong commitment to the environment and wildlife conservation through hands-on experiences in nature, the outdoors, and their local and global communities.” The trust has since evolved to support the Elliott Wildlife Values Project (EWVP) and online and print program resources for Girl Scouts, including the It’s Your Planet: Love It! Journey series and environmental stewardship badges that unite girls around a common purpose: to take care of the planet on which we live.

Today’s Girl Scouts are leading movements that address both environmental and social issues, including advocating for climate change and climate justice. These sustainability initiatives have been built into the core values and mission of Girl Scouts—discuss them with your troop and decide how you’ll reach deeper this Earth Day!

Need ideas to help you get started? Here are three activities your troop can do all year long:

Earn the Global Action Award
Help heal our world and create a better tomorrow for everyone! By learning more about sustainable development goals, connecting with others who care, and then taking action in your community and beyond, you and your girls can play an essential role in taking care of the planet for current and future generations. Learn more and download the guide today.

Earn the Legacy of Conservation Badge
Rachel Carson, author of Silent Spring, once said, “It is a wholesome and necessary thing for us to turn again to the earth.” Thanks to Girl Scouts of Western Pennsylvania, your troop can do just that! As girls work toward earning this badge, they will learn about Rachel Carson, her impact on the environmental movement, and work to make their own environment happy and healthy! Download the activity guide today.

Make the Girl Scout Tree Promise
Through the Girl Scout Tree Promise, members have pledged to take actions to address climate change by planting, protecting, and honoring trees to support wildlife conservation and ease the negative effects of climate change. Together, you and your troop can make the Tree Promise, embark on a commitment to make a positive impact on our planet, and contribute to the goal of collectively planting five million trees in five years. Learn more and download the guide today.

From planting trees and clearing wooded paths in the 1960s, contributing evergreens to the Utah National Guard Armory and helping restore biodiversity to the Hackensack River in the 1970s, to partnering with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 2020, environmental justice has always been at the heart of Girl Scouting. Let’s leave the world better than we found it by reaching deeper this Earth Day!

How is your troop celebrating Earth Day this year? Tell us at

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