By LOIS KINDLE
Lennard High School senior Natalie Nicosia has been a Girl Scout for 12 years, starting as a Daisy at age 5. Since then she’s completed the Daisy, Brownie, Junior, Cadette and Senior levels and is now an Ambassador. She has also earned Girl Scouts Bronze and Silver Awards and is currently working on attaining the Gold, Girl Scouts’ highest possible achievement.
As part of the process, Natalie must choose and complete a project involving an issue she cares about; have it approved by her council advisor, plan every step, including a budget; and prepare a final report.
What Natalie cares about is the environment, specifically estuaries and the importance of keeping them healthy. She wants youngsters to understand how important the mouths of our rivers are in affecting our ocean ecosystem, and she’s inviting school-age children to make posters to be displayed in a special, communitywide ECO Event from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. March 6 at the Suncoast Youth Conservation Center in Apollo Beach. The deadline for submissions is Feb. 27.
Because Nicole’s project is arts-related, the Firehouse Cultural Center has offered its support by providing opportunities for kids to come and learn about estuaries and make their posters on site at 101 First Ave. NE, Ruskin, from 3 to 5 p.m. Jan. 25 or 1 to 3 p.m. Jan. 30. Both sessions will include free supplies, i.e. paper, paints and markers, plus all kinds of recyclables (bottle caps, colored sand, fishing line – you name it). All participants will receive swag bags.
Space for these art sessions is limited, so call 813-645-7651 to RSVP a spot for your child. All CDC guidelines will be followed.
Of course, children may also create their posters at home, but all criteria must be followed.
“I just want students to create something that reminds them of a clean ecosystem, or on the flipside, show the negative impacts of people’s actions on it,” Natalie said. “Before each art session, I’ll explain what I’m looking for and give some examples.”
Posters must be no smaller than 8-by-11 inches and no larger than 18-by-24 inches in size. The artwork must be completely done by the child and cannot include computer graphics. Only one entry per student will be accepted, and it must be dropped off at the Firehouse Cultural Center no later than the Feb. 27 deadline.
Participants will compete in one of three categories: grades 2 to 4; 5 and 6; and 7 and 8. A team of three to five judges supplied by the cultural center will determine one grand-prize winner, who’ll receive a voucher for a free week of summer camp at the Suncoast Youth Conservation Center, 6650 Dickman Road. The recipient will be announced at the ECO Event.
Natalie is looking for volunteers to help at the event and items for the swag bags – lanyards, stress balls, pens, hand sanitizer and other reusables. She’s also seeking event sponsors and/or vendors whose organizations promote the health of estuaries or the importance of oceans. To donate items, become a vendor, sponsor or volunteer, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Attendance at the ECO Event will be limited to follow CDC guidelines. Masks and social distancing will be required. Event registration, additional information and vendor registration forms are available at ecoevent.godaddysites.com or by emailing email@example.com.