Teen girls and mentors roll up their sleeves to give back and practice sustainability

How can young people meet their concerns for climate change head-on?

One way to start is by getting your hands dirty.

The Sweet Retreat is an opportunity for girls ages 13-18 to roll up their sleeves, experience the workings of an organic farm, and learn the value of choosing and consuming food grown close to where they live.

Presented by Pretty Brainy, The Sweet Retreat is scheduled from 8 a.m. – 2 p.m., Thursday, June 15 at Garden Sweet, a small, sustainable farm, located at 719 W. Willox Lane in Fort Collins.  Participants will get to work alongside mentors from OtterBox as they explore how small choices can make a big impact in their world.

For many young people, climate change has triggered a growing sense of “eco-anxiety,” or fear of pending environmental doom, according to the American Psychiatric Association. Heidi Olinger, founder of Pretty Brainy, sees The Sweet Retreat program as a positive step that girls can take to connect with the earth, practice community giving, and work first-hand with professional women.

Pretty Brainy works with teenage girls interested in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art & design and math) learning.  At The Sweet Retreat, girls will pick vegetables to be donated to the Larimer County Food Bank. “Giving back and practicing philanthropy is a key value teen girls hold,” Olinger said. “Pretty Brainy programming is steeped in learning through service.”

What participants can expect:

Gain insight into service learning and how to use it for college and scholarship applications.

Connect with the earth and Otter Women’s Network mentors while serving the community.

Learn about sustainable, regenerative, organic agriculture principles and practices.

Practice empathy and collaboration while learning about science and gaining self-efficacy.

Cut fresh flowers for bouquets to be sold.

Picnic at the farm and dive into what being a leader in our community means.

Thanks to the support of Richardson Communications, TraceGains, and Mr. Deane Jewett, each registrant will receive a full scholarship to participate. The program also is made possible thanks to Closed2Open, a program of the OtterCares Foundation. Register here by June 9.


About Pretty Brainy:

Launched in 2008 (becoming a 501(c)(3) in 2013) to give girls science and math experiences with real-world purpose where girls are respected as scientists, engineers, designers, and technologists.  Pretty Brainy empowers girls to gain STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art & design, and math) skills so they are equipped to develop their abilities and genius to make a positive difference in our world.  Through Pretty Brainy, girls are better prepared to become innovators, problem-solvers, thinkers, and leaders.  prettybrainy.com

In a 2019 Washington Post-Kaiser Family Foundation Climate Change Survey, more than 7 in 10 teenagers and young adults responded that, “Climate change will cause a moderate or great deal of harm” to their generation. By the time today’s teens reach age 30, the Post reported when publishing the survey, “the world must achieve a ‘rapid and far-reaching’ transformation of society to avoid warming’s most dire consequences.”

The survey also found that a majority of teens are motivated to do something about climate change, despite the fact that 57 percent of those surveyed say they feel fear and 52 percent say they feel anger over the warming effect of fossil fuels on the planet.