More than 8,000 Girl Scouts ages 5 to 18 from across western Washington crowd into CenturyLink Field Event Center in Seattle each October for GirlFest. Aleta Eng and Kathy Vue, from the MBS supervisor’s office, Matt Riggen and Catherine Austin, from Darrington Ranger District and Teresa Sollitto, from Snoqualmie Ranger District staffed a large salmon tent and taught girls about the wildlife they could spot in the forest.
“Once the doors opened we were constantly busy,” said Alet, partnership specialist. The Forest Service display was set up in two stations with one group staffing the tables while the others helped at the salmon tent. “We always had 30 girls waiting in line to enter the tent,” said Aleta. Kathy played games of Bugga Boo, Serious Face and Clap-Dilly-Osa to keep the children occupied while waiting in line outside the tent. By the end of the day, more than 450 girls had toured the huge blow-up salmon tent to learn about the five salmon species and their importance to our ecosystem. Students who went through the tent received a Smokey Bear wrist band after correctly answering a question about what they had learned. Thousands stopped by the tables, drawn by the stuffed bald eagle or to touch a mink, skunk or raccoon pelt. “The girls could compare their arm spans to the eagle’s wingspan,” Aleta said. This is the third year the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest has participated in the event. Some of the other activities at GirlFest included a blow up bouncy house, climbing rock wall, Seahawk football toss, hip hop dancing or guitar lessons, an obstacle course, robotics station and live performances of Girl Scout troop dance routines. “We have such a great time with the girls,” said Aleta. “We will definitely do this again,” she said.