Monday, January 30, 2012

Meet the Green Machine

The Green Machine Team is a team of Girl Scouts who are competing for the First® Lego® League Global Innovation Award ( which grants funding to bring inventions to market. The prize is awarded based on review of the innovation and popular vote. If we can get our team into the top 10, which is won by popular vote, we will be guaranteed consideration from the FLL judges. We are proud to represent Girl Scouts in this competition. We would like all Girl Scouts and their families to vote. Everyone can vote once every 24 hours.  Here's the direct voting link:

Team Description: 
Our team comes from 6 different Girl Scout troops, 5 different schools and grades! Our ages are 9-14years old.  The team is called "Green Machine" and we are Girl Scouts from the West Windsor–Plainsboro Service unit.  Even though we still sell cookies our motto is "We are not just about cookies anymore!"  We compete in the FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Lego® League Robotics games and this year we won the first place Champions Prize at our regional qualifier. This means that our team received high marks in each of 4 judging categories: Core values, Robot design, Research, and Robot games!  Our robot is an autonomous (no remote control) machine, built to score points by performing mission tasks. We call her Miss Cookie Crusher. We are proud to be Girl Scouts and will represent Girl Scouts once again at the FLL Championship Games  at the University of Pennsylvania on January 28.  

Team Research: 
Every year the FLL games has a special theme and teams must do research to come up with a novel way to solve problems that are related to the theme. We use our creativity to design or modify an existing solution to a real world problem.  This year the theme was ‘FOOD FACTOR’ and the challenge was to invent a novel way to keep food safe. Teams from all over the world came up with many ideas such as ultraviolet light lunch boxes and automatic sanitizing counter tops. Our idea is called ‘Wachasttab’ or wax covered hybrid seed tomato that turns blue when infected with Salmonella.

Brief Submission Description: 
We started our research on our project by visiting and interviewing growers at the local farmers markets to learn about problems they faced with food safety. Everyone knew about the contamination of raw foods with Salmonella, but they agreed that it is very difficult to detect until someone gets sick. Besides potatoes, people eat tomatoes more than any other fruit or vegetable.  In this country almost all tomatoes come from large farms that are supplied with seeds from 3 companies; Monsanto, Heinz and Dupont. We researched outbreaks of Salmonella and read papers about new discoveries for detecting Salmonella  in tomatoes. We talked with experts at two universities and came up with our own solution. We examined data from some preliminary experiments and realized that it is possible to genetically modify vegetables so that they change color in the presence of Salmonella.

Wachasttab is a patent pending form of genetically modified plant to prevent the spread of disease from Salmonella. The process can be applied to any plant, but our project specifically targets tomatoes. Salmonella can colonize tomatoes at any stage of the food chain, from seed to marketplace. Wachasttab is a method to protect seeds with probiotics  and genetically modify tomatoes so that they can be identified if contaminated with Salmonella. The contaminated tomatoes are not meant to be eaten-they are meant to be destroyed. Because the modified genes are not actually activated unless the plant is exposed to Salmonella, consumers who object to eating genetically modified produce should not be concerned. We hope that one of the large tomato seed companies (Monsanto, Heinz, or Dupont) will use our idea to help improve the safety of raw tomatoes. 

Monday, January 23, 2012

The B.I.G. Celebration (Believe in Girls)

The B.I.G. Celebration
(Believe in Girls)
Saturday, June 23, 2012

Start: 1:00 pm
End: Conclusion of evening fireworks
(approximately 10:30pm)

Cost: $89.50 per ticket (girl or adult) which includes the cost of entry, the evening concert, 100 activities, an event t-shirt, a commemorative B.I.G Celebration patch, off-site parking and shuttle service to the event site from the parking lot.

Join thousands of Girl Scouts from around the nation!
Register now for The “Believe In Girls” (B.I.G.) Celebration, a day-long event culminating in an evening concert and fireworks spectacular featuring Grammy nominated artist and celebrity judge on NBC’s “The Sing Off,” Sara Bareilles, and another soon to be announced A-list artist.

The event will also include daytime performances by a variety of talented artists to be announced later this month.

The day-long event will include 100 activities taking place at the scenic Liberty State Park, which features 1,122 acres of open space and panoramic views of The Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island and the New York Harbor. The activities will include:
– Join the National Wildlife Federation in planting native flower beds to attract the endangered North American Songbirds to Liberty State Park

– Perform in the highly-anticipated B.I.G. Celebration Flash Mob Dance

– Learning to rock climb in our B.I.G. RockwallZone

– Take fun pictures with your friends in a B.I.G. photo booth

– Creating SWAPS and other crafts at the A.C. Moore CraftZone

– Check out the B.I.G. Cooking Pavilion, where you will learn about “Living Healthy and Leading Healthy,” see a variety of exciting cooking demos, roll up your sleeves at one of the hands-on workshops and much more.

– Tackle the B.I.G. Obstacle Course

– Experience Living Liberty, the amazing “living Statue of Liberty”

– Visit the Port Authority of NY & NJ’s booth and meet George Washington Bridge Senior Resident Engineer, Andrea Giorgi Bocker, and learn about how a bridge is built and what an engineer does(and she is a Girl Scout!)

– Bounce in one of more than a dozen bounce houses at the B.I.G. BounceZone

– Shop at a Girl Scout Councils of New Jersey 100th Anniversary Shop (where you can pick up your FREE 100th B.I.G. Celebration patch!)

– Play a game of hoops with the WNBA and meet legends of women’s basketball

– Experience the Girl Scouts: Past, Present, Future Exhibit, where they’ll see vintage uniforms and artifacts

– Take a hip-hop dancing class

– Learn about WAGGS (World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts)

– Experience Zumbatonic®, the popular aerobic-dance workout designed for kids

– Wear a FREE B.I.G. temporary tattoo

– Learn about the wonders of the Hudson River at the Hudson River Museum booth

– Join in the ALL-DAY dance party with our very own DJ

– Add some Hair Flair to your look at the B.I.G. Hair Studio (additional fees apply)

– View the magic of the stars with an evening astronomy experience

– Snap your pic with the Journey Book characters

– Learn a cheer from one of New Jersey’s premier squads

– Take a short cruises on New York Harbor from the nearby marina (additional fees apply)

– Enter the onsite B.I.G. Photo Contest for a chance to win a fun prize and have your photos displayed for all to see on the jumbotron during the event!

– Take a soccer clinic on the picturesque fields of Liberty State Park

– Take a photo in front of Juliette Low’s Savannah, Georgia home! How? The wonders of technology!

– And this is just the beginning…

Special Promotions:
Participants who purchase tickets before February 29, 2012, will receive an early access pass granting them entry to the event one hour early.

The first 15,000 people to purchase tickets will receive a free cinch sack bag.

About Sara Bareilles
Sara Bareilles is a Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter and pianist. She has sold over one million records in the United States and served as a celebrity judge for the third season of NBC's “The Sing-Off.” She has topped the Billboard music charts with hit singles including “Love Song” and “King of Anything.” For more on Sara and her music, please visit

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

One Million Mile Challenge

One Million is a pretty BIG number when you think about it.  It has six zeros!!  If someone challenged me to walk one millions miles…I would think…that’s insane!  Now, one hundred…that’s a reasonable number.  There are only two zeros.  I can walk one hundred miles.  That is doable…even challenging. 

The One Million Mile Challenge is a program that was developed as a signature event for our council to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of Girl Scouting this year.  Girls and adults are challenged to walk 100 miles for the 100th!  They would do this using a pedometer to track their steps and convert the number of steps into miles.  By registering for the program, participants receive a pedometer, commemorative patch, and tracking sheet.  These are distributed to the Service Unit Managers who bring them to their local monthly Leader’s Meeting to give out.  

The purpose of this program?  To brings awareness to the girls, their troops, and their families about healthy living and staying active.  Until you put on that pedometer and really track your steps, you do not know how active or inactive you really are in a day.  Participants are encouraged to set goals for the number of steps they want to achieve in a day or week.  If an entire troop is participating they can ask members to bring their logs to a meeting to look at how much the troop has accomplished together.  The same is true for a family.  They can talk about it over dinner and track their progress weekly.  Maybe the troop/family can set a goal to walk to another state….New York City…or even Disney World!  By adding up the miles troops can track this on a large map.   The best part of the program is there really is NO ending date.  That’s right.  Participants can register at any time to start walking.  I think once you start wearing the pedometer, it becomes so much FUN you don’t want to stop. 

So where do you sign-up?  Registration can be done online via our eBIZ system.  You can log on to our website at and look under programs/events to find the link to register.  Registration will remain open until we reach 10,000 people or the end of the Girl Scout year, whichever comes first.

We are hoping to have 10,000 people participate in the program – each walking 100 miles – helping us achieve our goal of One Million Miles!  There is even a virtual pedometer on our website where participants can track the progress for the entire council.  Participants are encouraged to click on the pedometer and fill out the submission form to add their steps to our total.

With us each walking at least 100 miles, together we will reach our goal of One Million Miles!

Let us know about your steps! Share your stories, walking events and photos on our blog! Submit to, subject line Million Mile Challenge.