HIGH-TECH + NATURE
“The most rewarding part was hearing about people going to it — that it’s making people want to get out on the trail into nature.” – Brianna Barry
Since the first iteration of the iPhone, it seems that one argument keeps resurfacing against technology: Staring at a screen is keeping us from connecting with what’s right in front of us. Brianna Barry, a Girl Scouts of Citrus 2019 Gold Award recipient, captured the attention of the community with a project that offered a new way of leveraging technology to make us more in tune with the world around us.
“From the beginning, I knew I wanted to do something nature-related,” she says. With the help of park rangers at Wekiwa Springs State Park, Barry set out to create a self-guided hiking trail with a high-tech twist. On each of the 14 marking posts that make up the trail, a QR code allows hikers to use their phones to scan the image, unlocking historical and biological information about the spot right in the palm of their hand.
Barry, who has been a Girl Scout since kindergarten and is now entering her first year as a student at the University of Central Florida, had previously earned the Girl Scouts Silver Award for a project with her troop. With more than a decade of Girl Scouting experience under her belt, she embarked on this project ready to get people out into nature. Setting her goal, working closely with her community including park officials, and raising the money for materials through cookie sales and a car wash, Barry spearheaded everything from beginning to end.
The response was overwhelmingly positive and continues to attract hikers excited to learn more about Florida’s wildlife. To Barry, that is the measure of success: “The most rewarding part was hearing about people going to it — that it’s making people want to get out on the trail into nature.”
The Girl Scouts Gold Award is one of the highest distinctions in the world for girls, and the highest award a Girl Scout can earn. Gold Award winners are inspiring leaders who have identified an issue and taken action in the community to educate, inspire and unite those around them for a better world.