rainforest http://michiganradio.org en Two Michigan Girl Scouts nominated for "Forest Heroes" Award http://michiganradio.org/post/two-michigan-girl-scouts-nominated-forest-heroes-award <p>Sixteen year-olds Rhiannon Tomtishen and Madison Vorva could teach us a thing or two about dedication.</p><p>They are two of three people in North America nominated for a United Nation&#39;s &quot;Forest Heroes&quot; award.</p><p>Since they were 11, the girls have been working to raise awareness about endangered orangutans and the diminishing Indonesian rain forests.</p><p>They began to get attention when, as Girl Scouts, they formed a petition drive to get the Girl Scouts of America to remove palm oil as an ingredient in their cookies.</p><p>Rain forests in Indonesia have been slashed and burned to make way for palm oil plantations. Palm oil is used in all kinds of products, including Girl Scout cookies.</p><p>Palm oil plantations are bad for orangutan habitat, and they&#39;re bad for global warming too.</p><p>In 2009, the <a href="http://www.environmentreport.org/story.php?story_id=4775">Environment Report&#39;s Ann Dornfeld</a> visited one of these forests months after is was burned:</p><blockquote><p>Greenpeace Indonesia campaigner Bustar Maitar looks out on a charred landscape. You&#39;d never know a forest stood here just a few months ago.</p><p>&ldquo;Is the no more ecosystem here. No more forest here.&rdquo;</p><p>Only a few burnt tree trunks are standing. Sour smoke curls up from the blackened ground. Maitar says this fire has been burning for a month.</p></blockquote><p>You can listen to that report here:</p><p>http://www.environmentreport.org/mp3/2009/12/feature_dornfeld_120709.mp3</p><p>After Tomtishen and Vorva learned about this type of devastation, they started<a href="http://projectorangs.org/"> a website</a> to teach others about it.</p><p>In an interview with <a href="http://www.michiganradio.org/post/michigan-girl-scouts-take-saving-endangered-species-asia">Michigan Radio&#39;s Lindsey Smith</a> last March, spoke with Tomtishen:</p><blockquote><p>&ldquo;We felt motivated to continue this project and I think we also felt that because we were girl scouts and because this was an issue in Girl Scout cookies, we thought we were going to be able to make a change.&rdquo;</p></blockquote><p>At that time, the Girl Scouts of America hadn&#39;t removed palm oil from the cookies. But this past October, they did budge a little, as <a href="http://www.mlive.com/news/index.ssf/2012/02/michigan_girls_finalists_for_u.html">MLive.com</a> reports:</p><blockquote><p>...in October Girl Scouts USA agreed to <a href="http://www.girlscouts.org/program/gs_cookies/cookie_faqs.asp#tropical_oils">revise its policy on palm oil use</a> to include the purchase of <a href="http://www.greenpalm.org/">GreenPalm certificates</a> as offsets and use sustainable oil when possible...</p><p>The girls say purchasing offsets is a good first step, but they would like to see the organization do more to make sure harm to rainforests is minimized and human-rights concerns related to palm oil farming are addressed....</p><p>&ldquo;(Offset certificates) are better than nothing, but we&rsquo;re not done talking about it,&rdquo; Vorva said.</p></blockquote><p>Winners of the United Nation&#39;s Forest Heroes Award will be announced tomorrow in New York City. Wed, 08 Feb 2012 18:24:37 +0000 Mark Brush 6145 at http://michiganradio.org Two Michigan Girl Scouts nominated for "Forest Heroes" Award Michigan girl scouts take on saving endangered species in Asia http://michiganradio.org/post/michigan-girl-scouts-take-saving-endangered-species-asia <p><a href="http://www.saveorangutan.bravehost.com/">Two Ann Arbor teens</a> are trying to save Orangutans on the other side of the globe from becoming extinct. Orangutans have become an endangered species because of poaching and the <a href="http://www.ran.org/">rainforests they live</a> in are being destroyed.</p><p>15-year olds Rhiannon Tomtishen and Madison Vorva became friends 4 years ago through Girl Scouts. Tomtishen says it their mission started when they decided to work together to earn a bronze award.</p> Tue, 15 Mar 2011 13:55:58 +0000 Lindsey Smith 1655 at http://michiganradio.org Michigan girl scouts take on saving endangered species in Asia