Local Girl Scout chosen for national expedition

Rock River Valley Senior Girl Scout and Boylan High School junior Emma Bland was one of only 10 Senior Girl Scouts, ages 16-17, chosen to go “on assignment” with National Geographic. Through the week of Aug. 3-10, 2002, the group will trek through South Carolina swamps and explore the ecology and history of the Spotted Turtle—a reptile threatened with habitat loss and extinction.

The weeklong expedition will take place in the Francis Beidler Forest and Audubon Sanctuary outside Charleston. Scientist Jacqueline Litzgus, who will guide the girls, is the recipient of the National Geographic Committee on Research and Exploration grant to study reptiles. During the trip, girls will use a radio-tracking device to track the location of turtles, take water samples of the wetlands, count the number of sea turtle nests at a nearby beach, explore the forest with Audubon staffers, and document their experiences in personal journals.

The National Geographic expedition is part of an ongoing partnership between Girl Scouts of the USA and National Geographic to promote scientific and geographic learning among girls. Studies show that women do not enter the science fields at the same rate as men. Through this hands-on mentoring opportunity, Emma Bland and the other Girl Scouts will discover the fun and excitement of science exploration, and could be inspired to pursue careers in science and geology.

Bland was selected by Girl Scouts of the USA as a participant from scores of Senior Girl Scouts applicants nationwide. “Through this partnership, we’re giving the next generation of young women the experience of geography in action,” said Terry Garcia, executive vice president, Mission Programs at National Geographic. “They’ll be interacting with people, cultures and places, just as our photographers, explorers and writers do, on assignment for National Geographic.”

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