Incoming Palmer Trinity senior Alissa Dobrinsky is close to completing her Girl Scout Gold Award. She decided to highlight her passion for the environment through her Gold Project.
“I am labeling the native Florida trees and plants on the campus,” she says.
With the help of Palmer officials, she’s identified most of the native plants on the campus. By spring, they had already identified 25 different kinds. Now she needs to finish the maps of the property that highlight the native plants and will allow interested people to take a walking tour of the native plants.
“I will put the description on the website with the locations,” she says. “And it will be on the website of laminated hard copy on the campus.”
She also plans to label the trees. This summer she’s been volunteering at the Kampong and that has helped her decide how to label the plants.
“They have wire that you wrap around the tree with a plaque,” she says. “The wire grows with the tree so you don’t harm the tree. I’m going to be ordering the labels and plaques this month and I hope to have the project completed by September.”
There have been some surprises along the way.
“I think I’m surprised by how many native plants we do have,” she says. “Which is a lot.”
The trees include a gumbo limbo and a coffee colubrina, which is rare.
“Palmer is lucky,” she says. “We have many native Florida trees. We want to preserve the native species in Florida because it’s important for the eco system here.”
Before actually starting on the project, Dobrinsky had to define the project and have it approved by the Girl Scout Council and the school administration. She also had to fundraise for the materials to make the labels.
“I’ve sold cookies, nuts, chocolates and other scout projects (magazines),” she says.
The environment has always been important to her. She’s entering her second year as president of the Eco Club.
“The Eco club partakes in one beach or park clean-up once a month,” she says. “We’ve cleaned up at Bill Sadowski Hammock Preserve and Black Point Marina. We do fundraising.”
Her dream is to install solar panel charging stations for the laptops required at Palmer.
“There are outlets in all the classrooms,” she says. “My goal is to have solar charging stations so they would be reducing electrical costs.”
Her environmental interest also led her to volunteer at the Kampong for five weeks this summer.
“I’ve been marking trees that don’t have labels,” she says. “And I’ve been picking up debris from the mangroves. I’m just walking and pick up as much as I can reach. There are some parts that are hard to get to but I do my best in the areas that I can.”
This summer she’s also participating in a summer basketball league with her teammates on the Palmer varsity team. Plus, she recently returned from the Breakthrough Basketball Camp in Georgia. Dobrinsky’s been playing basketball at Palmer since sixth grade and on the varsity since tenth grade. She plays center.
This year the team made it to the regional finals where they lost to eventual state champions, Miami- Country Day. She expects the 2016-2017 to be good since they only lost two seniors and there are five juniors stepping up.
Soon Dobrinsky will begin her fourth year as class secretary. She’s also a member of Mu Alpha Theta and the Spanish Honor Society. She’s also a peer counselor and a student ambassador.
Linda Rodriguez Bernfeld