It’s undeniable that all critters are drawn to water to cool down from the heat and stay hydrated. Though you may consider pools and large bodies of water dangerous to their safety, Girl Scout Lego Robotics Team, RoboGirls, opened their eyes to a less obvious - but equally as threatening drowning hazard.
After spending a lot of time at Camp Four Echoes, the girls became curious about outdoor toilets and how they pose a threat to the well-being of small wildlife such as squirrels. Through research, they were able to establish that both toilets and outdoor buckets were in-fact a leading cause of death for squirrels at our Girl Scout camp property in Worley, Idaho. Girl Scout Property Manager, Lani Nachtsheim commented, “despite having signs on the stall doors that ask guests to please shut the toilet lids so that critters can’t get in, we probably have at least one squirrel drown every couple of weeks.”
Determined to do something about it, JoeAnna, Liliana, Anna, Jaylie, Kaitlyn, Betty, and Maggie put their heads together and came up with a solution on how to minimize risk and still accommodate the survival instincts of wildlife creatures at Camp Four Echoes. For only about ten cents a toilet, the girls were able to create Squirrel Safety Ladders for each of the camp’s bathrooms. “We discovered that chicken wire was a good solution because it provides a better grip than other materials,” said Maggie.
RoboGirl’s project completion was one of three components for the First Lego League competition. To satisfy this year’s project requirement, the team was asked to identify and solve a problem with human and animal interactions. In addition to their mission of saving wildlife, the team also designed and programmed a robot, named “Buddy” and used their model to compete against over forty other teams from all over the state.
Last but not least, the girls also had to compete in four different disciplines, also known as “Core Values,” which included cooperation, inclusion, integration, and discovery. They concluded that Girl Scout teamwork and pride helped them succeed, respecting one another was of grave importance, and trusting each other about design choices and decisions was essential to their team improvement. “The girls have grown a lot closer through this experience and they’re even better friends now than they were last year,” said Josh Munderloh - one of the team’s dedicated coaches. Speaking of last year, click here to read about the RoboGirl’s 2016 advancement to the Washington First Lego League State Championship.
“We are very excited to implement the Squirrel Safety Ladder to our campsites,” added Lani. “It was a brilliant idea, well thought out, practical, easy to install, and the ultimate life-safer to our little friends at camp.”
Click here for more pictures.
* Congratulations to Girl Scout Troops 4317 (RoboGirls) and 3325, who were two of forty teams who participated in the Eastern Washington State LEGO Robotics State Competition on Saturday, January 21. Both teams are currently gearing up for the Girl Scout cookie season and plan on continuing with First Lego League next fall.