In the News

Bethel Park teen earns Gold Award from South Park project

January 29, 2020

Little did Molly Hoffman know when she joined the Daisy Girl Scouts in kindergarten that she’d eventually earn the highest honor the Girl Scouts offered – the Gold Award. But that’s exactly what the Bethel Park senior has accomplished.

She constructed a vernal pool for amphibians in South Park last summer.  A vernal pool is a seasonal body of water that creates a habitat for frogs and other amphibians. With the encouragement and support of the Allegheny County Park Rangers and the Allegheny County Parks Foundation, Molly completed the work and is hoping to see frogs populating it this spring.

According to the Girl Scouts, the Gold Award is given to young women whose projects have “demonstrated extraordinary leadership, had a measurable and sustainable impact and addressed a local challenge related to a national or global issue.”  Molly’s project checked off all the boxes as frog habitat is declining, affecting global frog populations. She logged 100 hours working on the project and needed 100 additional hours of help from the Rangers and other volunteers for a total of 200 hours to completion. The Parks Foundation assisted Molly by securing supplies for the project. Her favorite part was digging the pool and using hand tools she’d never used before.

But before she could even submit her idea for the Gold Award, she had to qualify for two prior awards – the Bronze and the Silver. She earned the Bronze along with her troop (they studied the Republic of Malawi and presented their findings to another troop, along with ethnic foods and activities) and then struck out on her own for the Silver.  She completed the Silver Award the summer before her freshman year of high school by designing and planting a pollinator garden at the South Park Girl Scout Cabin.

With those awards under her belt, she decided to go for the Gold. “It was really cool. I didn’t know you could do this to help the amphibians,” she said. Molly has always loved nature. A favorite activity is joining her parents, brother and sister on camping trips.

Molly is college-bound and won’t learn til the spring where she will be attending. She does know what she will study: environmental science, a field she says that offers multiple directions. She has researched working at the Environmental Protection Agency, writing legislation, joining a non-profit or law firm.

“There are obviously so many problems we face but they all become secondary to the planet,” she said.

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