By Ashley Inge
STEPHENVILLE (October 15, 2018) – Another local Girl Scout has received the Girl Scout Gold Award.
Taryn Gibbs, a sophomore at Tarleton State University, received the Girl Scout Gold Award.
The Gold Award is the highest achievement within the Girl Scouts of the USA, earned by Senior and Ambassador Girl Scouts. Only 5.4% of eligible Girl Scouts successfully earn the Gold Award. As a Gold Girl, they are to use their vision for change to create a service project that reaches beyond the Girl Scout organization and provides lasting benefit to a larger community. Additionally, a girl must spend at least 80 hours on the service project and have earned two Girl Scout Journeys or one Journey and the Silver Award.
Gibbs, a biochemistry major, is doing her project over light pollution.
Light pollution is the brightening of the night sky caused by street lights and other man-made sources, which has a disruptive effect on natural cycles and inhibits the observation of stars and planets.
Gibbs named her project, “Light Pollution, Education and Preservation of our Night Sky.” She split her project into two different sections: education and preservation.
“On the education side, I created a curriculum for the Stephenville school district that goes into the 6th-grade science courses every year. It includes a presentation to the students and an email that goes out to the parents that talks about light pollution. It has a teacher accompaniment to help them teach about it, and on that day that it goes to the students, a survey also goes out to the parents so that I can collect data about light pollution and use that for future years,” Gibbs said. “Also, I gave about a dozen different speeches around the community about light pollution and I created an experiment through a club in high school called Power Set and that travels among SISD (Stephenville Independent School District) schools.”
“On the preservation side, I help to manufacture and create shrouds for the high school with the maintenance crew at the high school and Ranger College welding, and those went up earlier this year, the lights around the high school. I also worked with the Tarleton SGA (Student Government Association) and we approved a legislation for Tarleton to recognize and take action against their light pollution. I also tried to get a National Light Pollution Awareness Day. That was not successful but that was a large amount of my hours, so I’m going to keep trying to get that,” Gibbs said.
Gibbs finished her project earlier this year. It took her two years to complete her project.
“When I started out, I wasn’t quite sure how I wanted to go about working with light pollution so it really took me a long time to get my feet on the ground,” Gibbs said.
Brian Salge, Gibbs’ physics teacher, helped motivate her to start on her project.
“He was an amazing mentor and he really helped me figure out what I wanted to do and what I could do so after that I was really able to start doing things and get the ball rolling,” Gibbs said.
Gibbs has been in Girl Scouts for “as long as you can possibly be in Girl Scouts.” She joined Girl Scouts when she was in Kindergarten. She is also a Lifetime Girl Scout. According to girlscouts.org, a Lifetime membership is available to any individual who accepts the principles and beliefs of the Girl Scout Movement, pays the one-time lifetime membership fee, and is at least 18 years of age (or, if not yet 18 years old, a high school graduate or equivalent). Because of her Lifetime membership, she will be in Girl Scouts for her the rest of her life.
“Girl Scouts is amazing for what it does with young women,” Gibbs said. “Joining Girl Scouts, for me, was just opening up a world of opportunities. Without Girl Scouts, I don’t think that I would [have been able to get] all of the life skills that I have and knowledge. It doesn’t teach you how to sell cookies or anything that people think it does. Girl Scouts actually teaches you how to be a woman in the world as it is. There [are] badges on how to run a business and financial literacy and the girls get to pick what they want to learn in their troops, which I think is amazing that it doesn’t have a set curriculum. You can just choose what you think is best for you to learn.”
“If anyone is looking to take action against light pollution, the best way to do that would be to install metal shrouds on their lights that direct light down. They are really cost effective and cheap. You can also choose filtered LED bulbs or you can use motion-sensing lights,” Gibbs added.