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Sussex gets flocked

Flocks of migrating flamingos mysteriously appeared in Sussex over the course of November and the first part of December. Their appearance prompted enough concern from Sussex residents that many opted to purchase "anti-flock" insurance to protect their yards from the pink invaders.

Historically, flamingo sightings in Sussex have likely been limited to the occasional escapee from the Milwaukee County Zoo, but thanks to several local Girl Scouts, some Sussex residents awoke to find their yards "flocked" by the tropical birds, albeit their plastic counterparts. The Girl Scouts' efforts helped raise enough money to purchase Barnes and Noble Nooks for the library at Templeton Middle School.

In a creative twist on fundraising, Kate Meagher, Lexi Detweiller and Emily Fassbender, all Girl Scouts and students at Templeton, developed an idea to place plastic flamingos in Sussex lawns - a phenomenon known as "flocking". The girls then asked the homeowners to pay $15 for "bird removal." The same homeowner could then pay an additional $15 to "flock" another home.

The three girls each had a flock at their disposal, leaving helpless Sussex residents defenseless against the flamingo migration across the village. Each night, the birds found new targets, and on the weekends, homeowners in the know could purchase "anti-flock" insurance for $10, guaranteeing their yard's safety.

The flamingos did not migrate without casualties, though. In fact, two entire flocks turned up missing, and their whereabouts remain unknown. Another flock lost a single member, only to turn up in a high school student's truck.

With the onset of winter, readers can rest assured of their yards' safety. The now-frozen ground make it impossible for the girls to plant the plastic birds in the ground. According to other sources, however, the birds may be migrating south for the winter.

Kate, Lexi and Emily ultimately earned more than $1,100, which they used to purchase seven Nooks for the middle school library. They plan to apply any extra fundraising money to purchase a protection plan for each device.

Silver Award Project

The girls embarked on this unique effort in pursuit of the Silver Award, the highest award given to Cadette Girl Scouts, ages 11-14. The Silver Award is the second-highest award in Girl Scouts, representing the culmination of years of other service projects, leadership experience and community service.

For Kate, Lexi and Emily, the project began two years ago, when, while in sixth grade, they began brainstorming ways to make a positive effect on the world. The following year they discussed ideas with community leaders and began researching and investigating various project ideas. This year, they executed their flamingo fundraiser.

Templeton principal Patty Polczynski said the three girls came to her last year in hopes of finding a sustainable community service project that would live on beyond the project's completion.

"We talked about what kinds of needs might be a 21st-century need to move us in a further direction with our school," Polczynski said.

The school had three Nooks that students could check out and take home for two weeks, but financial limitations prohibited the school from purchasing more.

"We were amazed. We were thinking one or two, but seven colored Nooks is absolutely amazing," said Templeton librarian Anita Paque.

Paque said that making the technology available to more students will help to promote reading and technology use to more students.

In appreciation for their efforts, Templeton presented each girl with certificates of appreciation and $20 gift certificates for the school's book fair.

The final project requires each Girl Scout to spend at least 50 hours on their respective projects. In order to achieve their fundraising goals, the girls also held a rummage sale and offered organized babysitting services to parents during the holiday shopping season.

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