Sunday, January 07, 2001

Girl Scouts learn how to find their way

By Jennifer Callison
Enquirer Contributor

        CARTHAGE — Saturday, two troops of Girl Scouts were really put through their paces.

        The scouts, members of Bridgetown Troops 6093 and 6098, learned how to pace out distances and estimate the length of their stride in a Caldwell Nature Center course titled “Finding Your Way.” The orienteering activities help the girls earn one of the most advanced junior badges.

        “We walked 100 yards four times and counted how many paces we took each time,” said Tracey Griffith, a member of Troop 6098. “We added them up and divided by four.”

        Naturalist Pat Agnew explained that if the girls knew their average stride, it would be easier to estimate distances in the wild.

        The class began Friday evening with a night hike.

        “We listened with our "owl ears' and heard lots of things,” said Erin Bueker, a member of Troop 6093.

        Participants also learned about what happens to human vision after dark.

        “At night you don't see color,“ said Karen Newman, a parent chaperone. She added that Ms. Agnew had demonstrated how some objects seem to vanish in the dark.

        “We stared at her and her face disappeared,” Mrs. Newman said. “The kids were freaking out; it was neat.”

        “To look at something, you should look either to the left or right of it,” said troop leader Donna Goddard.

        Saturday's schedule included map reading and compass use. The girls explored the concept of topographic maps by tracing the contours of potato slices onto paper, charting “potato hill” and “spud mountain.”

        “By the end of the day they should be able to take a topo map and recognize rugged terrain, hills and streams,” said naturalist Vivian Wagner.

        Caldwell Nature Center hosts 12 overnight programs each year for area Girl Scout troops, said Ms. Wagner. All are geared toward badge work, with topics ranging from ecology to geology. The center also conducts day programs for a variety of other youth organizations.


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