Three girl scouts fill out a Healthy Outside activity sheet

UC Davis, Girl Scouts Heart of Central California Partner on Patch Series

Arboretum and Public Garden Patch Is 1st That Can Be Earned

Quick Summary

  • First UC Davis patch of what will be a two-year pilot partnership
  • Plan to expand to other activities that would increase exposure to university life

The University of California, Davis, and Girl Scouts Heart of Central California, or GSHCC, have teamed up to encourage Girl Scouts in the region to participate in a custom patch series with activities that take participants through various areas of the university campus and expose Girl Scouts to STEM-specific majors and colleges within the university.

To launch this two-year pilot partnership, the first patch in the series is in collaboration with the UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden. The Arboretum and Public Garden patch can be earned by Girl Scouts who complete a series of activities as part of the “Healthy Outside” curriculum developed in collaboration between GSHCC and UC Davis. It is inspired by the Healthy Outside Initiative of UC Davis.

“For more than a hundred years, Girl Scouts has been providing outdoor programming for girls.  When girls are confident in their abilities in the outdoors, they are more committed to environmental stewardship and demonstrate an increase in physical and emotional well-being,” said Linda E. Farley, CEO of Girl Scouts Heart of Central California.

Healthy Outside curriculum

The Healthy Outside curriculum includes activities for Girl Scouts of all ages to explore the Arboretum and learn about improving their health by spending time outside. Many of the activities connect participants to the health and well-being benefits of nature. Studies show that spending even a short time outdoors reduces stress and anxiety, improves mood, strengthens social ties, and positively impacts many other health and well-being outcomes. The activities also support STEM goals through activities that include scientific exploration and observation in nature.

“By creating engaging and expanded learning opportunities for girls, UC Davis is working to contribute to the pursuit of STEM study and careers, improve health and well-being in nature, and expose youth to a university campus ,” said LeShelle May, UC Davis associate of the chancellor and board member for Girl Scouts Heart of Central California. “We are setting the stage for our participants to become the next generation of leaders in STEM and many fields.”

Patch programs provide Girl Scouts opportunities to enjoy activities, learn new skills and explore their world. Activities in the patch program are intended to serve participants of all age levels and cover a wide range of topics. Many of the activity options are related to STEM and include things like plant and animal identifications, scavenger hunts, wildlife observations and map development. By participating in STEM activities with the “Healthy Outside” program, many Girl Scouts are also completing the steps to earning Citizen Scientist journeys and other STEM-related badges.

Other activities focus on connecting participants with the health benefits of nature by doing breathing exercises, sharing a picnic with a friend or family member and completing some nature-based art projects.

UC Davis and GSHCC hope to expand the partnership into other program opportunities to add more patches to the UC Davis series, including working with faculty and students on various activities.

GSHCC represents more than 12,000 Girl Scouts in grades K-12 across an 18-county region. The counties represented by the region include the general Sacramento area as well as the counties of Alpine, Amador, Calaveras, Colusa, El Dorado, Glenn, Mariposa, Merced, Nevada, Placer, San Joaquin, Solano, Stanislaus, Sutter, Tuolumne, Yolo and Yuba.

More about the patch here.

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