Emily Inserra has earned the Girl Scouts’ most prestigious award for helping wildlife affected by Arizona wildfires.
The Gold Award is the most difficult to earn in Girl Scouts. It is only rewarded to Girl Scouts in grades 9 to 12 who tackle an issue in their community that they are passionate about. They must also develop sustainable solutions to local, national and global challenges. This year, 19 Girl Scouts from Arizona received their Gold Award.
With the award, girls can take advantage of scholarship opportunities, enlist at a higher pay grade when they join the military, and distinguish themselves among the competition in the college admissions process and when entering the workforce.
Inserra chose her project’s topic after learning about the Arizona wildfires. She wanted to help local wildlife whose habitats were impacted by wildfires and relied on vegetation to survive.
“The year where all the wildfires broke out, it was really hurting the animals, and they were losing a lot water, fresh air and oxygen,” Inserra said.
“It was that time of year where I wanted to help the environment get back to a stable condition to where it could help all the animals.”
Dubbed Preserving Conservation, her project called for Inserra to accept tree donations. She planted them to combat air pollution from fires in the Heber-Overgaard region and trimmed existing trees.
She chose this area because it was the most impacted by the Rodeo-Chediski Fire. Inserra reached out to her friends and the Arizona Elk Society to ask for help planting the trees for her project. They spent a week in the region camping and planting the trees.
Her project took two years, and she spent about 72 hours per week collecting material, reaching out to networks and filing paperwork. She learned patience and confidence during this time.
“I spent a lot of hours on my project per week,” she said. “It was close to 72 hours. I was trying to figure out all the materials I needed, like who can help me. I reached out to employers to see if they could run materials to me.”
An NAU freshman, Inserra has been a Girl Scout for 10 years. She is majoring in nursing and minoring in psychology. She’s driven by nature and enjoys visiting the Grand Canyon, hiking and kayaking with friends.
“Through Girl Scouts, I was getting to know other girls, that yes some are younger, but I have fun meeting other friends that I might go to school with in the future,” Inserra said.
Girl Scouts helps young women grow courageous and strong through girl-driven programs, ranging from summer camp and troop activities to product sales.
To protect the health and safety of this year’s recipients, their families, and GSACPC volunteers and staff, the 2021 Gold Award ceremony will be held virtually on Saturday, March 27.