Peanut butter and jelly, hamburgers and French fries, Fossil Rim Wildlife Center and Girl Scouts – some things are just a great fit.
Each April, Girl Scouts are presented with a prime opportunity to blend fun, knowledge and accomplishment by attending one of Fossil Rim’s Badgefests. Girl Scouts will earn two merit badges and a Badgefest 2016 patch over the course of a Saturday or Sunday.
“Badgefests were a Fossil Rim creation in 2008, and we have worked to improve them as much as possible,” said Katie Hunholz, programs coordinator. “What I like about it is the girls are able to come out and earn two badges in one day, but we still are able to put in the time to make sure they understand the whole concept of each badge. They will travel around in groups to different stations. Each station is either led by a Fossil Rim staff member or volunteer, lasts about 25 minutes and helps them progress toward a badge.”
Fossil Rim offers Badgefests for three Girl Scout levels: Brownie (9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. April 23), Cadette (9 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 16) and Junior (9 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 10).
“The differences between those three Badgefests are the level of Girl Scout involved and the badges that are available to be earned,” Hunholz said.
The badges obtainable to Brownies this year include Outdoor Adventurer and First Aid.
“Outdoor Adventurer is a brand-new badge the Girl Scouts developed in 2015,” Hunholz said. “It’s aimed at getting the girls outside to have a lot of fun playing games and exploring the great outdoors. First Aid is a badge new to Fossil Rim. We plan to specifically talk about outdoor injuries that could occur while at a place like Fossil Rim.
“We’ll go on a nature hike and talk about treatment and prevention for things like poison ivy, snake bites, spider bites and sunburn. We will have an ambulance and an EMT visit the park to speak with the scouts. The girls will also make their own first aid kits to take home.”
Badges offered to Cadettes this year are Archery and Biodiversity.
“Archery is another badge recently developed,” she said. “It’s exciting because Fossil Rim has the equipment to do this badge, and it’s a good opportunity to explore what we can do with archery here. The Biodiversity badge is extremely unique, because the Girl Scouts as an organization have what they call ‘Make Your Own Badge.’ They’ve allowed us to follow a similar plan to develop a badge unique to Fossil Rim.
“Without biodiversity, we wouldn’t have the things we need to survive: food, water, shelter, air and space. We will progress through five steps for this badge: what is biodiversity, why is biodiversity important, why is biodiversity at risk, what is being done to conserve biodiversity and then what can you do to help biodiversity?
“The scouts will be making homemade recycled paper and a small Jenga tower to take home. It will act as a teaching tool so they can educate others about the importance of biodiversity.”
Badges available to Juniors this year are Detective and Geocacher.
“We have previously taught for both of these Junior badges,” she said. “This year, I tried to incorporate both badges into a mystery that we wrote specifically for Fossil Rim. The girls will try to discover who poached an animal at Fossil Rim, what animal it was and who is the buyer of the animal in question.”
Fossil Rim has been building up its badge options in recent years.
“Each year, we pick badges we feel Fossil Rim can best teach for,” Hunholz said. “This is the last year we have developed completely new curriculum for badges. Going forward, we will have done this enough years that each age group will have at least six badges that we are prepared to address. We will rotate those over three years, improving and modifying as needed.”
These are the only current Badgefests, but Hunholz hasn’t forgotten about more advanced scouts.
“While we do not yet have Badgefests for the Senior and Ambassador levels, those girls are welcome to attend our overnight badge camps while we continue to develop their Badgefest curriculums,” she said.
All of these Badgefests are accredited.
“We work extremely closely with the Girl Scouts of Texas Oklahoma Plains, which is located in Fort Worth and is the region we are situated in,” she said. “Fossil Rim is on the border of two other councils: Girl Scouts of Central Texas and Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas. Girl Scouts of Texas Oklahoma Plains has approved all of our curriculums.”
Hunholz also pointed out that individual Girl Scouts are welcome to attend any Badgefest event. They just need an adult to accompany them.
To reserve a spot at any of these Badgefests, call 254.897.2960 soon due to limited space. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Details about each event can also be found on our April calendar at fossilrim.org.
“These Badgefests are really the best way for a Girl Scout to experience Fossil Rim with her troop and her friends,” Hunholz said. “They incorporate everything from a guided tour and a nature hike to lots of interactive activities specific to Fossil Rim while they earn badges.”
-Tye Chandler, Marketing Associate