Girl Scout earns Silver Award for Environmental Voluteering

Dakota Robinson teaches Brownie about the monarch butterfly migration.
Dakota Robinson teaches Brownie about the monarch butterfly migration.

Saturday Nov. 19th an award ceremony for Dakota Robinson, Senior Girl Scout of Shell Lake Troop 4392, was held to recognize her for earning the Girl Scout Silver Award, which is one of the highest awards in Girl Scouting. Designed to help girls explore careers and gain leadership abilities, the Silver Award can be earned as an individual or as a group. Girls must be between the ages of 11 and 14 or entering the 6th grade to begin working towards this award and it must be completed by Sept 30th of the year they are entering the 9th grade.


Girls must first submit a plan for approval from the Girl Scout Council before beginning there project. Then they must first earn three charms, the Girl Scout Leadership Award charm, the Girl Scout Silver Career Charm and the Girl Scout Silver 4B’s Challenge Charm. Then they must earn at least three interest project awards of their choosing that go along with their project. The Earn Your Own Business Interest Project Award and the Studio 2B Focus: Uniquely Me! Charm is then earned.


The requirements teach girls to set goals and to identify and find a solution for a problem in the community. The biggest piece of the Silver Award is planning and developing the project. The project must take at least 40 hours to complete and provide a service to the community. Once all the requirements have been met and approved the Girl Scout must submit a Final Report to the council for final approval.


Every activity and badge earned must be documented in this report, including the date it was received and a signature from the supervising advisor. Girls must describe in detail how they helped the community and how the project was completed. The start and completion dates must be included, and the reasons why the project was chosen. Girls also must describe who benefited from the project and what was ultimately learned and achieved.

Dakota at Monarch Butterfly Habitat teaching about butterfly migration to attendees
Dakota at Monarch Butterfly Habitat teaching about butterfly migration to attendees

Dakota’s project was called, “The Amazing Monarch, Flight for Life.” She completed all requirements including choosing to earn the Plant Life Badge, Eco-Action Badge, and the Leadership Badge Interest projects. She has spent the last 4 years volunteering with Happy Tonics and the Monarch Butterfly Habitat, attending events at the Ag research farm, helping host environmental film fests over the summer, as well as gardening of herbs, flowers and vegetables in container gardens at Shell Lake Friendship Commons. She gave presentations at the butterfly habitat and IV Annual Earth Day Event, and was part of the Blessing of the butterfly habitat.


Dakota created a petition to stop the use of pesticides and road side moving during migration season, which has been sent on to the state government and she hopes to get enough signatures and send it on the president. She collected, bagged and handed out milkweed seeds for people to plant, to help sustain the monarch and she gave several speeches on the monarch’s plight. In all she spent 171 hours on this project. Although the project is officially over, she never passes up the chance to spread the word and hopefully gains new advocates for the monarch butterfly, after her ceremony she gave her presentation again to some of the local area brownies who were present.

Dakota proudly shows her cake to happy audience
Dakota proudly shows her cake to happy audience

The ceremony included The Brownie smile song sang by Shell Lake’s Brownie troop 4475, Junior Girl scout Emily Lloyd led the pledge of allegiance, Girl scout Promise and Girl Scout Law, Dakota was presented and pinned with her Silver Award by one of her troop Leaders Karen LLoyd, followed by punch made by Emily LLoyd and cake.

Emily Lloyd making punch for the Girl Scout Silver Awards Ceremony
Emily Lloyd making punch for the Girl Scout Silver Awards Ceremony

We-Cycle is the way to go

We-Cycle is the way to go
by Mary Ellen Ryall

On Saturday March 5, I visited Indianhead Community Action Agency (ICAA) at 608 Service Road in Spooner. Dawn Wagner, ICAA, offered participants an opportunity to pick out a clothing item from the Thrift Store and turn it into something new.  I was invited to participate in the We-Cycle event with Minnesota Wisconsin Lake and Pines Girl Scout Troop. Sara Wickre came up with the idea of turning old wear into new wear.  

I watched as Sara instructed Neissya York in how to safely use a sewing machine. Neissya turned a pair of pink pants into a mini-skirt.

Dakota smartly showing off new purse.

 Dakota Robinson was proud to show off her new purse made from recycled pants. The strap was made from an old tie.  When the times are touch we can count on some ingenious ways to stretch money by turning to We-Cycle. March events:  Mittens, hats and slippers, March 12; Rug making with a free community class, March 19; and Denim projects March 26.  Event held each Saturday in March from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.   

 Happy Tonics, Inc. Visitor Center/Store in downtown, Shell Lake, applied the theme of Reduce, Reuse and Recycle in 2010. We continue to accept donated items and offer resale merchandise at a reduced cost to consumers. This saves the landfill and helps folks in a recession. The theme of the store is Equal Exchange, Textile Art from elders and Guatemala Indigenous people, everything butterflies and beyond.

Day 11 – Let’s Vote and Speak Out about Climate Change

I am awed that we have reached so many VOTERS through Brighter Planet. As of 9:30 p.m., 193 conscientous citizens have voted for our grant proposal.    Thank you.  We are still plugging for VOTES for Climate Change Native Habitat and Community Garden in Shell Lake.  For those of you signing up and VOTING now please click on and give us your support.

 Happy Tonics hopes you will listen to testimony about climate change by Ross Gelbspan, author of “The Heat Is On,” on his Web site at  It is no longer about when.  It is about how we are going to adapt to Climate Change. 

Cherry tomago
native tomatoes raised in containers at Lakeland Manor

  All of us need to bring the message home that we need to protect biodiversity and plant native grasses, wildflowers and crops to withstand climate change.  I am hopeful of seeing many rain barrels in place this year in Shell Lake.  Andrew Eiche, Executive Director of HUD Housing, told me he plans to grant our request for a rain barrel for resident container gardens at Lakeland Manor, senior housing, in Shell Lake in 2010. 

 I called Jeff Parker, Director of Public Works, Shell Lake, today about donating a rain barrel for Friendship Commons where the girl scouts are going to plant a container garden with an Aldo Leopold Education and Pheasants Forever Grant.  The seniors are pleased that the younger generation will be involved in beautifying outside the center.  The educational garden will teach others about growing bee pollinator, butterfly (second more important pollinator), herb, flower and veggie gardens.

Happy Tonics is thrilled that Shell Lake is starting to get the message that we need to grow local and organic food. 

Borage a bee plant
Borage a taste of cucumber and bee plant

 We need native plants for pollinators.  It has taken Happy Tonics a few years of teaching environmental education to reach the public on a deep and profound level.  Protecting Mother Earth comes natural to Happy Tonics.  Nick Vander Puy, reporter at News from Indian Country, wrote on his Facebook blog recently something to the effect, “Our grandchildren will ask what did you do during the Great War for the Earth?”

 It is all about the baby steps and teaching others how to grow their own food in sustainable ways to adapt to Climate Change.

Be happy Voters where ever you are.

Day Eight – You did it! You got us over the hump with 100 VOTES

And on the Seventh Day They Rested.

What a great weekend. Thank you one and all for voting on our grant proposal at Brighter Planet. Happy Tonics now qualifies for another chance at the brass ring in the future because we got 100 VOTES. The nonprofit realizes that we are up against some pretty stiff competition.  New Orleans is in the lead with their grant proposal.  Winning the Super Bowl Sunday was a wonderful success. Well done Saints. 

Be sure to Sign up and VOTE at Brighter Planet for Climate Change for Native Habitat and Community Garden Shell Lake at

Good news!  February 8, the Washburn County Public Property and Land Sales Committee granted Happy Tonics permission to plant a raised bed garden at Friendship Commons, the senior center, in the summer of 2010. 

Libby loves being a butterfly

 Girl Scout Troop Number 4392 (MN, WI Lakes and Pines) will plant, grow and maintain the garden.  Seniors will be partners in this intergenerational activity.  A grant from Leopold Education Project and Pheasants Forever are funding the project.  Happy Tonics believes that all sustainability projects are accomplished from the ground up.  A community that can feed itself is sustainable. 

The garden will be a teaching garden.  We teach through the monarch butterfly who is the canary in the coal mine.  What happens to the butterfly can happen to us.

 Even a little grant is a big thing to a small nonprofit.  We volunteer for Happy Tonics. Won’t you help us spread our wings to teach others to adapt to climate change?

We offer the Morph Your Mind Environmental Education Program.  Our classes, events and two native wildflower and butterfly gardens are nature’s outdoor classrooms where we teach others about the importance of native crops and plants as native host and nectar sources for the monarch butterfly and other pollinators.  The natural landscape supports life.  Monoculture and invasive species are replacing native habitat.  Native habitat is the only habitat can withstands drought conditions and climate change.   

Taking Environmental Education to the Classroom

Thank you for your kindness.

Day Three – Brighter Planet VOTES NEEDED

Day three- The status report is better today.  We still need your votes at

REGISTER AND VOTE FOR adapting to Climate Change Native Habitat and Community Garden.  We have 68 votes as I write.  I am pleased.  Only 32 more votes and we’ll be at the 100 mark.  This is a landmark because it means we’ll be in the running to apply again if we don’t reach our goal this time.

We have 12 more days to go and we are campaigning for our cause.  Anything can happen. Just look what happened today.  We received a grant for $250 from Leopold Education Project a Program of Pheasants Forever.  This will help fund a raised bed garden for Girl Scout Troop 4362, Minnesota & Wisconsin Lakes and Pines in Shell Lake.  

Expect the unexpected to happen in life.  Things could change over the next 12 days.  Happy Tonics could gain the notice of some large environmental group that can sway votes our way.  One can only hope.  Remember change has always come from the ground up.  Here’s your chance to prove it.  Thanks!

Till tomorrow insectamonarca friends,

Sending a beautiful sunset your way.

Be happy where ever you are.