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Boys & Girls Club 'SMART Girls' Participate In Research

About 24 girls are participating in the Boys & Girls Club of Northern Westchester’s SMART Girls summer science program, held every Wednesday through Aug. 6 at Westmoreland Sanctuary in Mount Kisco.
About 24 girls are participating in the Boys & Girls Club of Northern Westchester’s SMART Girls summer science program, held every Wednesday through Aug. 6 at Westmoreland Sanctuary in Mount Kisco. Photo Credit: Contributed
Boys & Girls Club of Northern Westchester SMART Girls program participants observe aquatic life at Westmoreland Sanctuary in Mount Kisco.
Boys & Girls Club of Northern Westchester SMART Girls program participants observe aquatic life at Westmoreland Sanctuary in Mount Kisco. Photo Credit: Contributed
Boys & Girls Club of Northern Westchester SMART Girls program participants enjoy the pond at Westmoreland Sanctuary in Mount Kisco.
Boys & Girls Club of Northern Westchester SMART Girls program participants enjoy the pond at Westmoreland Sanctuary in Mount Kisco. Photo Credit: Contributed
Westmoreland Sanctuary Education Director Rachel Diersen shows a Boys & Girls Club of Northern Westchester SMART Girl how to scan for aquatic life.
Westmoreland Sanctuary Education Director Rachel Diersen shows a Boys & Girls Club of Northern Westchester SMART Girl how to scan for aquatic life. Photo Credit: Contributed

MOUNT KISCO, N.Y. -- For the second year in a row, the Boys & Girls Club of Northern Westchester’s SMART Girls are spending their summer learning the basics of field research at Westmoreland Sanctuary in Mount Kisco.

Through the local organization, The Running Goddess, the SMART Girls program – a small health, fitness and education enhancement program for girls between the ages of 8 and 17 – has been afforded the opportunity to participate in this month-long exploratory science program.

In June, The Running Goddess held a 5K to benefit the Boys & Girls Club’s SMART Girls and other female charities, donating partial proceeds to fund the summer science program.  “Through Westmoreland Sanctuary’s environmental science program, our club members – who haven’t been widely exposed to flora and fauna – are learning key insights about the environment through hiking and exploration," said Boys & Girls Club of Northern Westchester Executive Director Brian Skanes.

"What they’ll take away is an appreciation for nature and perhaps a love for environmental studies. Thanks to The Running Goddess’s generosity and initiative, this is all possible.” About 24 girls are participating this summer, learning hands-on field research skills and the basics of environmental studies through the guidance of Rachel Diersen, Westmoreland’s education director, and other Westmoreland Sanctuary staff.

The girls are absorbing skills such as how to safely catch and release birds as well as learning how to identify native birds through song, habitat and migration patterns. Other areas of study include turtle monitoring, butterfly and dragonfly surveying, identifying native plants and animals and detecting environmental trends. The Boys & Girls Club of Northern Westchester’s SMART Girls summer science program runs every Wednesday afternoon from July 2 through Aug. 6.