The girls of Troop 50124 in Santa Barbara County have recently earned their Silver Awards for their Lake Cachuma Fish Habitat project. Due to a previous drought, the fish habitat in Lake Cachuma has suffered. Cadette Girl Scouts Annika Wagner-Swanson, Clara Cassin, and Lily Cassin met with Chris Goldblatt, founder of Fish Reef Project, in order to find out more about the benefits of artificial reefs.
Following the slight raise in the water level of Lake Cachuma, the fish population was still struggling to begin regrowth. The girls partnered with the Fish Reef Project with the intent to publicize, provide fundraising efforts, and gain community support for the deployment of a new reef structure in Lake Cachuma. Man-made reef structures are anticipated to last for over 500 years and serve to enhance the regrowth of marine populations.
Annika composed a letter to the US Fish and Wildlife Service in order to request permit approvals for the project, as well as assisted with fundraising efforts. She also obtained a fee waiver from the Goleta Chamber of Commerce in order to get the Fish Reef Project a booth at the Goleta Lemon Festival. Clara and Lily publicized the reef deployment by creating project write-ups and contacting local media.
“We learned about the importance of caring for and protecting our outdoor environment,” the girls said. “We also learned that there are many steps to getting a project like this completed, which required a lot of communication and outreach.” Through the project the girls were able to develop their writing and communication skills, taking into account the importance of community awareness for approvals and fundraising.
Together the girls engaged over 400 community members at the Goleta Lemon Festival to show support for the Goleta Kelp Project. On October 27th, two large reef units were deployed in an area where fish typically congregate. The reef will provide a habitat for catfish, bass, baitfish, trout, frogs, and birds alike.
Not only will the project benefit the marine wildlife in Lake Cachuma, but it also informed the community about the importance of restoring the kelp forests off of Goleta Beach. The new artificial reef will help to restore a natural kelp bed, which no longer regenerate off Goleta Beach to provide a soft barrier to protect the beach from erosion.
“Our project has not only created an improved environment for the fish in Lake Cachuma, but it will also serve as a model for deployment of future Fish Habitat and Reef projects in Lakes and Oceans in the future,” the girls said.
Congratulations on earning your Silver Awards, Troop 50124! For more information on the Silver Award and other Girl Scout Highest Awards, visit here!