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Girl Scout creates scavenger hunt for Houston Zoo to earn Gold Award

October, 2011

Houston – Girl Scout Julia S. created a sensory-based scavenger hunt for the Houston Zoo to earn the Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council Gold Award, the highest award a Girl Scout can achieve. Less than five percent of girls who join Girl Scouts earn this recognition.

"I learned that I really love learning about animals," said Julia, a senior at Westbury Christian High School.

Earning the Gold Award is a significant honor that requires recipients to demonstrate outstanding leadership skills, career planning, community involvement and personal development. It takes more than 100 service hours and two to three years of intensive work to complete the award requirements, which include planning and completing a project that is a service to the community.

"I chose this project because I wanted to do something that would benefit the Houston Zoo, and this was identified as something they had a need for," said Julia.

For her project, Julia worked with the Zoo’s education department to develop her scavenger hunt which can be utilized by zoo visitors who have impaired vision or are dealing with physical mobility impairments. Two versions of the scavenger hunt were created: one that can be done at the zoo's Brown Education Center for those who are not able to easily move around and a second for visitors who are comfortable walking the grounds. On both, visitors visit stations or presentations and after learning about an animal receive a clue as to which station or exhibit they move on to next.

"Julia learned that it takes a lot of time to get things ready for others to do work for you and with you, so delegating work is harder than doing it alone sometimes," said Cindi S., Julia’s mother. "She’s learned the importance of clear communication and how much there is to learn about wild animals."

Julia has been a member of Girl Scouts for 12 years. She is a member of a trampoline and power tumbling team and has participated in national competitions several times over the past five years. Following graduation she plans to attend college to study wildlife conservation, zoology or ecology.

Girl Scouts of the USA is the world's preeminent organization for girls, with a membership of more than 3.7 million girls and adults. Girl Scouting builds girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place. Chartered by GSUSA to provide Girl Scouting locally, Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council is one of the largest Girl Scout councils in the country serving more than 70,000 girl members and 19,000 adults in 26 southeast Texas counties. For more information call 1-800-392-4340 or visit


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