Twelve years of Girl Scouting adds up to many boxes of cookies sold, many badges earned and many projects completed. But Riverside Girl Scout Shannon Layng isn’t finished yet.

Layng, a senior at St. Ignatius College Prep, is in the process of completing the requirements for her Gold Award, which is the highest award in Girl Scouting, no easy task. Similar in some respects to the Boy Scout Eagle Award, the Girl Scout Gold Award requires time and dedication.

One of its components is a service project, and Layng used Riverside landscape heritage as her starting point. Layng has titled her project “A Century of Trees” with the aim of benefiting Riverside and honoring the 100th birthday of the Girl Scouts at the same time.

Her goal is to have 100 trees planted in the village in cooperation with the village’s forestry department. After learning that the village was not planning its cooperative tree-planting this year and seeing the number of trees lost due to Dutch elm disease and the emerald ash borer she felt her project needed to address the issue.

Riverside is defined in many ways by its motto, “Village in a Forest.” And to help her accomplish her goal, Layng has applied for a grant from the Riverside Township and has planned an informational day on Saturday, Sept. 22 from noon to 3 p.m. at the Riverside train station. On that day there will be lists of trees available for purchase and information on how to participate in the project. As Shannon said, “Stop by and learn.”

Layng is doing the project with the cooperation of the Village of Riverside and Forester Mike Collins, with additional support from the Frederick Law Olmsted Society.

People can sign up early if they are not able to attend in September by contacting Shannon Layng at 497-5165. Donations may be sent to the Village of Riverside Tree Planting Program.

I doubt Juliette Gordon Lowe, who founded the Girl Scouts in Savannah, Ga., in March of 1912 would ever had thought her vision for girls would go so far and help empower young ladies like Shannon Layng to undertake projects that would be so beneficial to so many.

For Shannon, it is not just about earning the Gold Award it is, in her words, “Really important that we preserve the trees and the Olmsted legacy.”