Given our time constraints, we decided to cover the journey in three troop meetings with parents going through the book with the girls at home. In order to meet the award criteria, remain relevant to the journey, and to include a natural progression, I went from individuals (the parts of a plant and emotions) in the first meeting to communities (including ecosystems) for the second.
We began by talking about what an ecosystem works and how easily it can be disrupted. I brought the journey into by discussing the negative effects of yellow lupine, sweet-clover, and the positive effects of sunflowers mentioned in the story. It was fun to watch the girls realize how much they already knew about ecosystems after telling me in the beginning that they didn’t know anything. One of them has a small farm at home and uses their own chicken scat for fertilizer. For this part of the session, I printed out a sheet about Coastal Wetlands and Freshwater Wetlands of Texas, which I found through Texas Parks and Wildlife in their Keep Texas Wild archive.
We then talked about how communities work together, each contributing their special skill, and how important that diversity is. We talked about the girls and what they were good at and what they wanted to get better at, earning their Firefly Award.
The Keep Texas Wild resource is definitely one I will return to. It has information on a number of nature topics as well as suggested activities that I will probably use more as I work with older girls, or at least I have more time for in depth attention to a topic.