Girl Scouts of Cranford Cadettes Go Green with Garden Collaboration

(above) Girl Scout Cadettes working in the Walnut Avenue School garden.

Girl Scouts of Cranford Cadettes Go Green

Submitted by Kerry Rokicki

On a recent Sunday morning the garden space behind Walnut Avenue School in Cranford was full of rakes, trowels, pitched forks and lots of Girl Scouts hard at work clearing the space for a new beginning. Girl Scout Cadettes from two Cranford Troops have teamed with the Cranford Green Team to give the garden at Walnut Avenue School a refresh. On recent Sundays the Girl Scouts have weeded, trimmed, raked and prepped the raised garden beds with a plan to plant vegetables there in the future.

“It’s been hard work, but fun,” said Olivia Kelly, a sixth grader at Hillside Avenue School in Cranford and a member of Cranford Girl Scout Troop 40881. “I’ve learned that it’s important to garden because it helps people eat and on top of that it looks pretty. Over the summer this place needed some love and now it looks cleaner and ready for something new.”

Green Team member Ms. Donna Bacich is coordinating the refresh with Troop 40881. In addition Troop 40688, another troop from Hillside Avenue School, is lending their support. The hope is for these two older troops to spearhead the project and eventually involve the Brownie troops based at Walnut Avenue School, a pre-school to Grade 2 elementary school.

“If we can work with the troops and show them the benefits of engaging with the earth, that is important,” said Ms. Bacich, a Cranford Green Team volunteer. “It has been very fulfilling. Right now there is so much going on that we can’t control, but if we can be together with young people who are full of energy and light and life…is there anything better?”

The Green Team is a group of volunteers associated with Cranford Township that seeks to help the community be greener and cleaner. In the past, the Green Team has partnered with Girl Scout of Cranford on plastic collection and recycling initiatives.

Ms. Sara Gutierrez, leader of Troop 40881, explained that the efforts in the garden will be tied to a Girl Scout Journey, an area of exploration that precedes their pursuit of the Silver Award. “It’s important to pass this type of knowledge onto the girls and teach them about partnering with the community to achieve shared goals,” Ms. Gutierrez said. “This garden has historically been a great space with lots of good sun for growing vegetables. We’d love to see it like that again.”

Walnut Avenue School Principal Ms. Celine McNally said she is so impressed with how hard the troops have been working. “The WAS garden has an important place in the history and culture of our school and we are so honored that the Cranford Green Team and these Cadette troops want to be part of that story.”

The Girl Scouts of Cranford boasts over 1,139 Girl Scout Members in 71 troops and Juliette’s making it one of the largest non-profit organizations in town. The Cranford Service Unit is a part of the Girl Scouts Heart of New Jersey (GSHNJ) Council which is part of the Girl Scouts of the USA. If your family is interested in learning more about local Girl Scouts or to find out more information on the Girls Scouts of Cranford, please visit

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