When Scotland Elementary School’s Junior Girl Scout Troop #50296 learned about the devastation the bushfires caused in so many areas of Australia, leaving thousands of animals injured and displaced, they knew they had to act. As animal lovers, working toward their Girl Scout Bronze Award in Animal Care, Education and Protection, they decided to find a way to reach those people helping the surviving animals.

The girls contacted Girl Guides of Australia, the equivalent of USA Girl Scouts, learned what areas of Australia were most affected by the bushfires, and needed most assistance — and decided on what they could do to help. They made fleece blankets to help injured animals feel comfortable and secure while healing. They also reached out to Nancy O’Connell of Nancy O’s. Nancy agreed to help, and in doing so impressed upon the girls how kind, giving and reactive the Ridgefield community is.

Nancy asked many of her knitters in both Ridgefield and New Canaan to knit and crochet joey and koala pouches, bird and small animal nests, bat wraps and more — all following instructions received from the Australian Animal Rescue Craft Guild. The Scouts learned of the hub in Victoria, Australia where these items were in highest demand. In order to raise money to ship their items to Victoria, their leaders, Patty Labozzo and Jessica Collins, asked the troop girls to return and recycle their family water bottles and cans, and then submit bottle receipts, which were cashed in and applied toward the postage.

In a small way, Ridgefield is helping Australia. In a big way, Troop #50296 has learned to ban with the community in times of need and to empower one another to stand up for a cause they believe in.