UCSB student Lauren Jennings was a Girl Scout until she was a high school senior about a year ago.
Friday morning, Ms. Jennings got to give junior Girl Scouts a tour of her university’s interactive aquarium, the REEF.
The Scouts squealed with delight as sea urchins and starfish were placed in their hands. Octopi, horn sharks and lobsters (or “a really big shrimp” as one trooper said) were also present for the Girl Scouts to admire.
These girls were making childhood memories that they will remember for years beyond Friday morning.
“I love getting to work with Girl Scouts again because I have so many memories from my childhood of going out and doing things with my troop,” said Ms. Jennings. “I think that really helped shape me.”
Ms. Jennings hopes that she, in turn, has shaped the 80 Girl Scouts attending the event.
“I hope they learn to appreciate science a little bit more, maybe become interested in science, and love the ocean,” said Ms. Jennings. If UCSB and the Girl Scouts were to team up again for next year, Ms. Jennings said she will take charge and lead the tours again.
“I’m planning on working at the REEF for the rest of my time at UCSB,” she said, looking at the three years ahead of her at the university.
The upcoming UCSB sophomore may get her wish next year. The event is the first UCSB Earth Science Day that the Girl Scouts of California’s Central Coast has put together, and GSCCC Program Manager Dana Richards told the News-Press that if deemed successful, there will most likely be a second annual UCSB Earth Science Day.
“We would love to make it an annual event,” said Ms. Richards. “We’re here and kind of engaging how the event is going. We’ll do a survey with the girls after the event to see if there’s anything we can improve on for next year.”
The planning for the first UCSB Earth Science Day took Ms. Richards about four months. The biggest headache was figuring out where parents and guardians would park. Some of the parents were driving from San Luis Obispo County, Ms. Richards said.
Luckily for the parents, the fuel was the biggest cost. UCSB’s Earth Science Department and the REEF program hosted the Girl Scouts for free. The only cost for the event was $5 per scout which “was just to cover their cute patches that they’re getting for attending the event,” said Ms. Richards.
The event aims to spark the girls’ interest in local marine ecosystems, and one particular mother is all on board.
Linda Conboy brought her 8-year-old daughter Roma to UCSB from Ventura County for Earth Science Day.
“Our community is coastal, and the kids really get a lot out of being able to see what is in our big, wide ocean and our sand,” said Ms. Conboy. “The impact for these girls starting so young is just great because they’re our future. They’re the people who will be taking care of the beaches when we’re long gone.”
The girls and their parents got a chance to visit the beach together and explore the treasures that lay on the shore of Campus Point Beach with UCSB tour guides. The Girl Scouts gathered items of interest from the beach, such as empty shells and live mussels. One girl drew a heart around her knick-knacks, and when the tour guide asked the group if anyone would like to share their items, she said, “I would like to share my heart.”
There is no doubt that the sunny day at UCSB will be a warm memory that remains in these Girl Scouts’ hearts.