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Anna Stenger: a scout’s journey in sustainability

Stenger+with+her+dog+Bonnie.+Stenger+is+one+of+few+girls+in+Boy+Scouts%2C+where+she+earned+the+Sustainability+Merit+Badge.+Photo+courtesy+of+Stenger.
Stenger with her dog Bonnie. Stenger is one of few girls in Boy Scouts, where she earned the Sustainability Merit Badge. Photo courtesy of Stenger.

Junior Anna Stenger is among the few girls marching towards the Boy Scout of America’s (BSA) most coveted rank — the Eagle Scout. 

 

In 2018, BSA started allowing girls into their ranks.

 

Stenger, a former Girl Scout, was among the first girls to join the BSA. She said that BSA offers “more leadership opportunities” and “an emphasis on camping” than Girl Scouts.

 

“The whole motto (of BSA) is to leave no trace,” Stenger said. “We go camping once a month. We get to spend a lot of time outdoors.”

 

Her journey to become an Eagle Scout fueled her enthusiasm for the environment. 

 

BSA requires Eagle Scouts to have earned 21 merit badges, including the Sustainability Merit Badge. Scouts must track their electricity usage for at least two months and other requirements to attain this badge.

 

But Stenger’s family only receives the water bill once every three months.

 

“I had to do (the project) for six months instead of two months to track the difference between when I wasn’t trying to be sustainable with my water use and when I was,” Stenger said. “As I learned more about it, I got more interested (in sustainability). It felt cool because being sustainable was easier than I thought.”

 

Stenger said earning the Sustainability Merit Badge boosted her confidence in her sustainable impact.

 

“Honestly, I’d always felt secretly guilty that I wasn’t doing enough for the planet. Starting that (project to earn the Sustainability Merit Badge) made me feel like I had more control over what I was doing,” Stenger said. 

 

At Huron, Stenger brings a reusable water bottle and a packed lunch — often leftovers — to reduce her carbon footprint. She is also an active member of the Huron Greenhouse.

 

“Sustainability is a lifestyle,” Stenger said. “I feel like the whole point of sustainability isn’t getting rid of climate change or saving blah blah blah from blah blah blah. Instead, you’re trying to make it so that you can continue your lifestyle without the fear that you’re causing a large negative impact on the planet.”

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Jamie Tang, Managing Editor
Jamie is currently a senior and has been on The Emery staff for two years. Outside of The Emery, Jamie is passionate about Go, a Chinese mind game with a 3000-year history. She is the Chicago Go Championships Outreach Director, American Go Honor Society President, and Baduk News Editor. She’s excited to craft articles that represent the diversity of communities near and far.
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