GREEN Project Tangerine, an initiative started by Green Mayor Gerard Neugebauer, has some new volunteers: the Girl Scouts of Green. Together, the scouts and the city will be creating a bird sanctuary this spring in Southgate Park. On Nov. 20, troop leaders and scouts started the project by touring F.A. Seiberling Nature Realm in Summit County Metroparks.
When Troop 90176 first heard about a bird sanctuary, members knew they wanted to help. Troop leader Beckie Moore sent an email to the city of Green about the Girl Scout’s interest, but she didn’t hear anything back for months. It wasn’t until a chance meeting between the other co-troop leader Suzanne Mikes and the mayor that everything came together.
"I had taken my kids to the new park in Green. I was watching my kids play when the mayor sat down next to me," said Mikes.
She didn’t recognize the mayor at first. After pleasantries and introductions, Mikes took the opportunity to ask about the bird sanctuary. As it turned out, Mayor Neugebauer was looking for someone to lead the project.
Scouts of all levels - even the smallest Daisies - will be participating in construction and care of the bird sanctuary. This holiday season, the 20 Girl Scout troops of Green will research different native birds, their migration and feeding habits. This month, individual troops will choose a specific bird to focus on with Troop 90176 leading the way.
"There’s going to be a little delay in the starting of each troop," Mikes said. "We will be the first troop (to start the process) to feel out any hurdles. We’re going to have a running list so we don’t pick the same bird."
During the next few months, the girls will spend a few of their meetings designing and building birdhouses and feeders with a goal to start placing the installations in Southgate Park by March. Installations will continue throughout the summer. Each year, girl scouts will also go back out and add something to the sanctuary like bird baths or favored plants.
Neugebauer is looking forward to the summer.
"In just a short time, Southgate Park will have lots of birdhouses dedicated to different species, which will hopefully bring more native birds to our city’s nature park," he said. "I can see it becoming a go-to spot to view a variety of native birds thanks to our Green Girl Scouts."
At Seiberling Nature Realm, the Girl Scouts learned about the types of native birds, watched the birds eats from feeders, and even had a few birds eat out of their hands. Park rangers have also offered to act as mentors for the duration of the project.
Mikes hinted that her troop already has a few birds in mind.
"We want them to have passion for their bird," she said. "They were really drawn to the birds that ate seed out of their hands."
Project Tangerine was started by Neugebauer to give back to the community. His vision would bring leaders of the community together to promote volunteering. The city government would act as a conduit to connect those that want to give their time or expertise and those in need. While the idea for a bird sanctuary started with city officials, the Girl Scouts of Green have adopted the project wholeheartedly.
"This is exactly how I envision Project Tangerine projects to go," said Neugebauer in a news release. "The girls will learn while creating something meaningful and permanent in their community for all to enjoy."
Mikes added, "I want them to bring their families to the park and be able to show them what they created with their hands. I’m hoping that the girls can have respect for (the birds) and this may pique their interest that they can carry with them into adulthood."