Jessica Lisiecki next to one of the trail kiosks she installed

TMHS 2020 graduate Jessica Lisiecki stands next to one of the trail kiosks she installed in Tewksbury as part of her Girl Scout Gold Award project. Lisiecki also created a web resource for the community which focuses on the town’s trails. (Courtesy photo)

TEWKSBURY — In ad­dition to graduating with the TMHS class of 2020, Jessica Lisiecki capped off her high school and Girl Scout career by completing the Gold Award, a community service-based project which is considered the highest achievement in the organization.

Lisiecki, a scout since age eight, has always lov­ed the outdoors, and her project inspiration came while attending a program at the Tewksbury Public Li­brary.

“The Open Space group gave a presentation about the trails in town,” said Lisiecki. “I learned about so many new places to walk, some of which are right near my house that I never knew about.”

In order to complete the requirements of the award, Lisiecki was required to put in approximately 80 hours of work. Compo­nents of the project include investigation, research, in­volvement of others, sustainability, planning and education.

Lisiecki reached out to Bruce Shick of the Open Space and Recreation com­mittee, along with town conservation agent Stefa­nia Gallo, who was her com­munity advisor, to determine what would be most helpful. Information­al kiosks turned out to be the right choice, and Li­siecki worked with trail steward Ray Bowden and her grandfather, Robert Boyce to construct them.

Lisiecki had already completed a Silver Award with her troop, and was excited to go for the gold.

“I really wanted to link to the outdoors,” she said about her choice of Gold Award project.

As a companion to the work she did in the field, Lisiecki created an online resource called “Close to Home,” a website that pro­vides outdoor activities for families to do with their children, shares plant facts, and links to the Open Space trail maps, among other features.

In total, Lisiecki and her team installed four kiosks; one at the Chandler Well Fields entrance at Whip­ple and Chandler Streets, two at the Livingston Street Recreation area, and one at Long Pond. Lisiecki also wanted to host a community event about trails through the Tewksbury Public Libra­ry, but COVID-19 got in the way. She decided that making her online re­sources more robust would be the best way she could still accomplish her outreach goals.

Lisiecki was supported in her Gold Award pro­cess by her troop leader Joyce Hamlyn.

Hamlyn, the Service Unit Coordinator of the Baldwin Unit of Girls Scouts for Tewksbury and Wilmington, led troop 66771 and said, “The Gold  Award is the highest award a Senior or Am­bassador Girl Scout can earn. I am so proud of Jes­sica for completing her Gold Award.”  

Hamlyn went on to say, “Jessica had to overcome several obstacles due to the pandemic; having to adjust parts of her project so she could still meet the requirements and con­form to COVID guidelines. I hope her website will be shared as there are many nature trails ‘Close to Home’ that we aren’t aware of.”

Lisiecki will be a freshman at Northeastern Uni­versity this fall and will study biology. Her long term goal is to be a veterinarian.

Visit her “Close to Home” website at sites.google.com/view/closetohome.

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