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Girl Scouts take action in valley

Girl Scouts from across the Minnesota and Wisconsin River Valleys region celebrated the Girl Scout Centennial by working together to improve local watersheds on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 12 and 13.

During the Centennial Day of Service's "2012 Take Action Project," sponsored by 3M and in partnership with Freshwater Society and Friends of the Minnesota Valley, more than 25,000 Girl Scouts and volunteers across 49 counties spent the day raking leaves and grass from storm drains and public areas, distributing door hangers, and marking storm drains with an "Only Rain Down the Storm Drain" message to raise awareness about simple steps that improve local water quality.

Girl Scouts in New Richmond, Somerset and Hammond were among those participating in the weekend activities.

"Our Centennial Day of Service celebrated the Girl Scout tradition of service to our local communities," said Linda Keene, chief executive officer of Girl Scouts of Minnesota and Wisconsin River Valleys. "The success of this event not only improved our local environments and communities, but also built courage, confidence and character in each girl who participated."

The project illustrated the impact Girl Scouts have every day on local communities. Collectively, participating Girl Scouts and volunteers aimed to stop 20,000 pounds of phosphorus from ending up in local waterways in order to prevent 10 million pounds of algae growth and save $6 million in clean-up costs throughout the council area. (Five bags of leaves are equal to one pound of phosphorous.)

It is the lasting positive impact on the environment that attracted event sponsor 3M.

"This is a great way to mark the Girl Scouts' rich tradition of empowering girls and meet our vision of improving every life," said Kimberly Price, vice president, 3M Community Affairs and 3M Foundation. "The educational components leading up to the day of service provided an opportunity not only for the girls to help reduce pollution and protect water quality, but also learn the science behind it."

2012 Take Action Project marked the final event of the Girl Scout Centennial Year. In 2012, Girl Scouts River Valleys hosted the Great Girl Gathering in March at Mall of America that was attended by 170,000 Girl Scouts. In April, Girl Scouts River Valleys recognized 100 outstanding Girl Scout alumnae during the Centennial Awards Gala.

Each year, Girl Scouts of Minnesota and Wisconsin River Valleys serves nearly 45,000 girls in 49 counties of southern Minnesota and western Wisconsin. In partnership with nearly 18,000 adult volunteers, River Valleys helps girls discover new abilities, connect with new friends and take action to improve their communities.