North Haven Brownies Represent Connecticut with Winning Environmental Messages
North Haven’s award-winning brownies (from left) Sucely Velazquez Tyghter, Teagan McCann, and Ashlin McCann receive certificates from Federated Garden Clubs of CT Chair Dottie Fox. The brownies’ Woodsy Owl-themed posters will represent Connecticut in the New England Woodsy Owl Poster Contest. (Photo by Nathan Hughart/The Courier)
They’re moving on up: Three local brownies who took regional honors have now won at the state level in a poster contest run by the Federated Garden Clubs of CT (FGCCT). Their work will go on to represent North Haven in all of New England.
Brownies Teagan McCann, Ashlin McCann, and Sucely Velazquez Tyghter were presented with several gifts including a reusable plastic water bottle and an amaryllis plant for their most recent win.
In North Haven, the Daytime Gardeners Club ran the poster contest with the girls’ brownie troops. The contest focused on Woodsy Owl, an icon like Smokey the Bear—while Smokey teaches about the dangers of wildfires, Woodsy Owl teaches about caring for the environment as a whole.
His slogan, which appeared in the girls’ posters, is “Lend a hand, care for the land.”
Among other things, the girls learned about using organic materials in gardening and proper water use.
The Daytime Gardeners have made educating North Haven’s youth one of their priorities. This year, the club earned a Luckner Youth Award from the FGCCT for its programs.
According to Daytime Gardeners President Sally Brockett, Brownie troops have been particularly active.
In 2017, Troop #60387 worked with the club to redesign the gardens at Clintonville and Green Acres schools.
“This activity was important because it taught the girls many things about gardening and plants. It also motivated them to be involved with conservation and their environment,” Brockett said.
From planting gardens to building houses for mason bees, the Daytime Gardeners members are always looking to educate the youth. Their projects have a built-in lesson about everything from the importance of pollinators or the growth habits of particular garden plants.
FGCCT takes a similar tack with its poster contest.
“The Woodsy Owl [poster contest] is more about teaching [kids] about conservation,” said FGCCT Youth Chair Dottie Fox. “It’s like being conscious of what you’re doing regarding trash, composting, recycling.”
The prize of reusable water bottles tie into another project operated by the FGCCT, an essay contest for high schoolers that is also moving on to national competitions. The theme this year is the danger of plastic water bottles.
Fox said that Bridgeport students have undertaken a project to reuse plastic bags by cutting them into strips and winding them into “plarn” which is then used to manufacture mats. They are trying to make 1,000 mats for delivery to New Haven homeless, using up 600 to 800 plastic bags per mat.
According to Fox, teaching children about taking care of the environment is an important job for the FGCCT.
“Really our children are going to protect the Earth in the future. We’re not going to be around forever,” she said. “We like to teach the children through girl scouts and schools.”
This poster and essay contests are just one way of educating children. Others have started gardens at their schools or in their communities.
“The kids are amazing. I just love them,” Fox said. “I think they can do so much and they enjoy it.”