Teen Lilly Wins Girl Scout Gold Award | News, Sports, Jobs

Savana Koval, 16, a resident of Lilly, won the Gold Award, the highest honor a Girl Scout can receive.

She received her Gold Award in a ceremony held June 11 at St. Luke’s Lutheran Church in Lilly.

Savana, who has been a Girl Scout for 12 years, is a Girl Scout Ambassador with Troop 46508, part of the Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania Council. She joins an exclusive group of Girl Scouts who have won the Gold Award, with less than 6% of eligible Scouts winning the award.

Before beginning to earn a Gold Award, Girl Scouts must complete two Leadership Journeys or a Leadership Journey and the Silver Award.

They then identify a problem to solve, gain approval from their Girl Scout council for their Gold Award Take Action project and attend a Gold Award workshop.

Scouts then work individually to design and implement a project that has a lasting impact in the community and beyond. While earning the Gold Award, the girls connect with experts, community members and fellow Girl Scouts to create lasting change in their community. Gold Award recipients fulfill the Girl Scout mission of building courage, confidence and character to make the world a better place.

Savana’s chosen community issue is tree destruction caused by invasive insects. A large number of trees were destroyed in the community of Savana, including 30 trees that died right in her backyard. Currently, there are two main invasive insects, the emerald ash borer and the mottled lantern, which cause tree destruction.

Savana has spent many hours working with area experts including Michael Barton, Forestry Consultant, Cambria County Conservation District and Canoe Creek Education Specialist. She also attended two meetings of the Washington Township Council to get their permission to carry out her project and to update them on her progress.

Savana decided to place her project on the Lilly Walking Trail, near where she had set up a bat condo for her Silver Award. She planted four swamp oaks that could not be destroyed by these invasive insects. She also hosted an educational event that taught her Girl Scout troop and community members how to make a Ring Trap, which is a safe and effective way to catch Mottled Lanterns and stop them from doing more damage. . These traps were placed on the Tree of Heaven, which is the initial tree for these insects before they spread to other trees. Savana also placed a 10-foot vinyl gazebo between the trees so those walking the trail can have a place to rest. It took Savana 118 hours and over a year to complete the project.

In addition to her Gold Award, Savana has already won her Silver Award and Bronze Award, and will receive a very special and rare award won by Scouts who have all three High Awards. She has also earned all of the badges a Girl Scout can earn at each level, excluding those available at her current Ambassador level.

She has won many other awards during her Girl Scout experience, including three Religious Emblem awards: God and Me, God and Family, God and Church; Cadette and Senior Torch Awards for acting as a leader in her community; Cadet and Senior Community Service Bars; Pin Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace in Savannah GA; The National Historic Railway Heritage Medal; and the Gettysburg Heritage Trail Award.

During her scouting years, she participated in many community service projects such as collecting as many soda can pellets to give to a blind girl in need of a service dog, collecting with his 1,000-pound troop and their donation to Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, cleaning three beaches in Prince Gallitzin, cleaning up coves in Lilly, placing new mulch at the Lilly War Memorial, working weekends at Camp Conshatawba, cuddling a cat at Human Society and helping with many Girl Scout events.

Savana is the daughter of Rick and Brenda Koval. She attends Penn Cambria High School in Cresson.

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