Just as bees and butterflies brave the elements to pollinate our food, hundreds of Girl Scouts and dozens of CPS Energy volunteers braved 30-mile-an-hour wind gusts this weekend to earn their “pollinator patch” at the CPS Energy-sponsored Pollinator Pathway. The event took place Saturday at the AT&T Center from 3:30 – 5:30 PM as part of the Girl Scouts of Southwest Texas Annual Cookie Rally and Tailgate.
CPS Energy has sponsored an Environmental Awareness patch for the Girls Scouts ever since 2012. The 2016 edition prominently features a bumblebee perched on a flower and speaks to the important role bees and other insect pollinators play in creating and maintaining our food systems. Caring for the environment is a pillar of CPS Energy’s commitment to our community.
Girl Scout troops from across Bexar Count visited the makeshift “Pollinator Pathway” made of native plants, potted trees and forming a trail augmented by three learning stations.
The girls made three educational stops to hear about the importance of pollinators (they make two out of every three bites of our food possible), see the pistils and stamens of local native plants, and get a close-up view of a live bee-hive and several Monarch butterfly chrysalises provided by the Alamo Area Beekeepers and Alamo Area Master Naturalists, respectively.
“We introduced the kids to the anatomy of a butterfly by teaching them how the mouthparts work to sip nectar from flowers,” said Molly Keck, Integrated Pest Management Program Specialist for Texas Agrilife Extension Service. “The girls pretended to be butterflies and sipped apple juice, using their ‘proboscis’ (straw).”
In just two hours, more than 1,500 patches were awarded. As the event ended, dozens of Girl Scouts still waited in line and took a “Scouts Honor” pledge to learn pollinator basics from an activity book that offered the chance to earn their patch at a later time.
“It was one of our more successful Girl Scout rallies, in both number of CPS Energy Environmental Awareness patches earned and the array of topic experts and hands-on educational activities for the troops,” said Steffi Ockenfels, Program Manager in Corporate Responsibility who helped organized the event. “We recognize our responsibility for protecting the environment that we all call home. Through the Girl Scout patch program we are able to invest in educational programing and foster environmental stewardship.”