Girls practice green living during Camp GEMS

Creating a miniature wind farm, making compost, decorating reusable shopping bags, preparing an organic meal, and cleaning up a small-scale oil spill were just some of the activities girls engaged in during last month’s “Going Green” Camp GEMS (Girls Energized by Math and Science). View a slideshow of the camp’s activities!

Girls learned about the importance of reducing, reusing, and recycling; the impact of global warming; and the small steps that they can all take in their own lives to be more green.  After learning that harmful chemicals can be found in everyday products, the girls made their own cleaning products and a face mask from natural materials.

One camper, Lydia, age 10, was especially inspired by the things she learned at Camp GEMS. After watching An Inconvenient Truth, she said, “Before, global warming was something grownups had to deal with, but now I have to deal with it.” Later during camp, after she had mentioned wanting to be a scientist, she was asked which kind of scientist she’d like to be. She replied, “I like working with electricity and chemicals. I’d like to discover a chemical that doesn’t give off harmful pollution like gasoline does. And just think, it all started at Girls Inc.” Lydia’s interest in science is just the sort of interest Camp GEMS can help spark in girls by providing exciting, interactive programs that incorporate math and science in ways they may not have encountered in a school setting.

In addition to those activities, the girls went on several exciting field trips, including the Tom Wood Toyota dealership to compare the fuel efficiency of the Toyota Prius and Toyota Tundra. They also went to Indianapolis City Market where they selected locally grown, organic produce to use to make their organic meal, which consisted of mini-pizzas and a delicious fruit salsa. Additionally, GEMS campers went to Traders Point Creamery where they could see an organic dairy farm and sample some of their products like milk, yogurt, cheese, and ice cream.

Camp GEMS traveled to the John H. Boner Community Center to plant and weed the community garden there. The girls planted a “three sisters garden”, where the corn, pole beans, and squash each provide something for each other. For instance, the corn provides the pole for the pole beans to climb, the squash has leaves that are low to the ground that provide shade and keep out weeds, and the beans help put nitrogen in the soil.  The girls also planted some peppers, tomatoes, and sunflowers. The produce which will eventually result from the girls’ efforts will be used by the community and donated to a local food bank.