OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Emma Bitterman, a Girl Scout from Gretna, was so struck by the statistics of declining bee populations she decided to take matters into her own hands earning her the Gold Award.
“I right away became very passionate about the project,” Bitterman said. “Hearing about these drastic declines and all of these solutions that weren’t being looked at it seemed like no one was taking action, so I wanted to do it myself.”
Bitterman worked with Lauritzen Gardens to plant a pollinator garden in their arboretum.
“When you see people connect to nature it fills your heart,” said Mia Jenkins, Director of Marketing for Lauritzen Gardens. “You feel like some of what you’re doing is working.”
“We used the University of Nebraska bee statistics to know which type of plant is most effective for the bee populations I was trying to address,” Bitterman said.
About a year ago, she planted everything in circular patterns to attract pollinators.
“When we first planted it,” she said. “They were these small, super tiny plants, and it took a long time for it to actually start to develop. I think it was around May when it just blew up. There were so many bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, it was just amazing to see.”
Bitterman's beautifully sustainable project earned her the Girl Scout Gold Award; it's the highest honor a Girl Scout can achieve. The project also earned her several other awards and scholarships.
Even now, as she's preparing for her freshman year at the University of Nebraska, Bitterman makes time to take care of the pollinator garden and has arranged for the girl scout advisory group to eventually take over the garden.
“You also wish you could replicate Emma a million times and have more people with the passion, desire, and follow through and continued dedication to the community,” Jenkins said.
Bitterman hopes people consider building their own pollinator garden.
“Not only for bee population but to, once again, provide those habitats that may have been taken away due to more infrastructure that has been added to Nebraska especially,” she said.
She also suggests building a bee hotel or reducing pesticide use to make an impact.
Girl Scouts can earn a patch if they work their way through the “Save the Bees” program Bitterman created. Girl Scouts Nebraska Troop Support Specialist can help you get the “Save the Bees” program material.
For more information on Girl Scouts Spirit of Nebraska: girlscoutsnebraska.org
Lauritzen Gardens website: lauritzengardens.org