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“Our Junior Troop 775 worked on the STEM Outdoor Journey and the NASA Space Scientist Badge this year. To finish off the badges in style, the girls decided that an epic STEM adventure was in order! They worked hard to plan the trip, raise the funds, and make it happen. It was indeed an epic STEM adventure!
We left after school on a Wednesday and drove down the Eastern Sierra. We camped at Benton Hot Springs. These girls are professional campers so this part was just plain fun!
We drove on Thursday to Southern California. Along the way we made a stop at Manzanar, where the girls learned all about the Japanese Internment Camps of WWII.
That afternoon, we reached CalTech where we took a tour of the campus. While the parents really enjoyed seeing William Smith's first geologic map, the kids especially enjoyed the turtle ponds! Our troop was honored to attend a lecture on space created just for them. They *loved* it and had an absolute TON of questions for the professor afterward. She answered every single question thoughtfully and respectfully. She then joined us for dinner at the faculty lounge where the girls continued to learn more about the planets, the new discoveries, and the new ideas about space.
That night we headed to the San Gabriel Girl Scout House. The house is in the middle of a huge park, and has a nice fenced yard and fire pit. It was fun to pack all 14 girls and 10 moms into one big room for the next two nights! The girls journeyed that night for their spirit animals, which was lots of fun, too!
On Friday morning we headed to the California Science Center. We got an early tour of the Space Shuttle Endeavor (before anyone else came into the room) with a really knowledgeable and kind docent. The girls learned a lot about all of the different trips the Endeavor had made and what it is made out of. (Did you know that the white part of the shuttle is woven quartz!?) Then we toured the science center until lunch.
After lunch we went to the IMAX Hubble, where the girls watched the Endeavor head out into space to repair the Hubble. This was a highlight, for sure, watching the astronauts floating in space to repair the telescope in 3D!
Then, after some ice cream treats, we headed to Griffith Observatory to check out the Hall of the Eye, Hall of the Sky, Edge of Space, and Depths of Space Exhibits and the Zeiss Telescope (more people have looked through this telescope than any other telescope in the world!).
On Saturday we headed to the Huntington Library, Art Collection, and Botanical Gardens. The girls chose the gardens of their choice to explore and took their field journals off into the gardens to choose some flowers to learn more about as part of their Flowers Badge. The most popular gardens were the Desert, the Japanese, and the Chinese. The girls also really loved smelling the roses. We were also able to enjoy some of the Huntington Art Gallery, and got to see the original Blue Boy by Thomas Gainsborough. The highlight was the Orbit Pavilion. It is an outdoor art installation by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory that is a “soundscape” representing the movement of the International Space Station and 19 Earth satellites.
That afternoon we headed to Malibu, where we set up camp at Leo Carrillo State Park. While we were swimming in the surf a dancer started practicing a dance on the beach. One of the moms asked about his dance, which turned out to be his final for a college class. It was a modern dance put to a poem he wrote about his experience as a DREAMer in today's political climate. He agreed to perform the whole thing, with the poem being played through some speakers his friends brought, for the troop on the beach. It was amazing and powerful and beautiful and we were brought to tears. That was such a blessing we were magically gifted with on this trip.
Then, we went to camp where the kids made friends with another camping troop from Pacific Palisades. It was a troop of Brownies camping for their first time. Our troop went over and shared some campfire songs with them, which was super fun for everyone, and was a fun addition to their Camping Badge.
On Sunday we headed back down to the beach for low tide. We met with the Naturalist who showed us what animal life to look for in the tide pools and we went tide pooling for part of our Animal Habitat Badge. The girls found all sorts of life in the tide pools, we found a sea cave to climb through, and we got a bit more of a swim in before we headed back to Truckee! All in all, it was quite the epic STEM adventure!
On a last note, the Truckee Tahoe Airport District donated some money to the girls for their trip. In gratitude, the girls went to the last board meeting, presented a brief slideshow, and spoke about their trip.”
- Jeremy, Troop 775 Leader