Rachel Mazur of Amherst spent nearly two years catching every season for project
AMHERST, NH – Who hasn’t wanted to get outdoors and breathe fresh air during the COVID-19 lockdown? Gold Award Girl Scout Rachel Mazur has made it easier to figure out the best path to take for anyone wanting to walk, bike, Nordic ski, and just enjoy the many trails within Amherst by creating a video that explores the 11 rail trails here.
Mazur, 18, of Amherst, earned Girl Scouting’s highest honor for a 12th grader, the Gold Award, with her project, Amherst Conservation Trails Video, spending nearly two years shooting video in every season and under varying conditions, then learning how to edit video to create the final product. It is now posted on the Amherst Conservation Commission’s website at https://www.amherstconservation.com/get-outdoors-maps/
Mazur said she’s aware that people are spending much less time outdoors than in the past, so she wanted to educate high school students about trail conservation and inspire them to go outside. Once the COVID-19 pandemic took hold, she realized that she could reach a much wider audience of people eager to get outdoors.
Amherst Conservation Commissioner Jared Hardner, a neighbor friend of Mazur, told the Girl Scout Ambassador that the commission was setting up a new website and could use a video. He became her project advisor, helping her determine what was needed and how to present the idea to the commission.
“When I previewed Rachel’s video at our public meeting, it was the first time I saw the entire membership of the commission agree on something, and with cheery smiles all around,” said Hardner. “Rachel delivered on her commitments as a volunteer, fulfilled the goal, and certainly made a genuine contribution to our new website. On a frequent basis I stop to talk with trail users on our conservation lands, and I often get good feedback on the trails page of our website — and Rachel's video is a component of that positive user experience. We are grateful for her efforts.”
Mazur’s family has long enjoyed a trail near her home, whether by foot, fat-tire bike, or cross-country ski. They’ve also hiked some mountains when she was younger. The experience of exploring all of Amherst’s trails showed her that she can change her mood for the better by getting outdoors.
“The biggest thing I learned about myself is that exploring the trails in Amherst really helps me relax, and is great for my mental health,” she said. “I now know that if I am ever feeling stressed, tired, or even sad; a walk in the woods makes me feel so much better.”
Mazur hopes others will also benefit from the trail experience after seeing her video.
She has been a Girl Scout since kindergarten, and said she feels very grateful for her troop, working together on highest awards, going on camping weekends, and traveling to places like the Seacoast Science Center and to Boston. She will graduate this spring from Souhegan High School. She is narrowing down her choice of college, but expects to stay near the Boston area for a future in business or fashion design.
Gold Award Girl Scouts don’t just change the world for the better, they change it for good. The Gold Award is earned by girls in grades 9–12 who demonstrate extraordinary leadership in developing sustainable solutions to local, national, and global challenges. Since 1916, Girl Scouts have answered the call to drive lasting, impactful change. They earn college scholarships, demonstrate high educational and career outcomes, and are active in their communities.
Rachel Mazur has answered the call to drive lasting, impactful change, and her Gold Award is a testament to her remarkable dedication to improving her community and the world. The Gold Award is the mark of the truly remarkable.
About the Girl Scout Gold Award
- Gold Award Girl Scouts on average spend one to two years on their project.
- A Gold Award project must be sustainable after the girl’s involvement ends.
- The average age of Gold Award Girl Scouts is 17.
- Since 1916, more than 1 million girls have earned the Gold Award or its equivalent.
- Gold Award Girl Scouts are entitled to enlist at a higher pay grade when they join the military.
- University research indicates that noting you are a Gold Award Girl Scout on a college application is influential in the admissions decision-making process.
- Eleven young women from New Hampshire and Vermont earned their Gold Award in the 2019-2020 membership year as part of Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains.
- The Girl Scout Gold Award is the mark of the truly remarkable!
About Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains: Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains is recognized throughout New Hampshire and Vermont as a leading expert on girls. Our Girl Scout Leadership Experience is a one-of-a-kind leadership development program for girls, with proven results. It is based on time-tested methods and research-backed programming that helps girls take the lead—in their own lives and in the world. Through our exciting and challenging programs, Girl Scouts not only participate but also take the lead in a range of activities—from kayaking, archery, and camping, to coding, robotics, financial literacy training, and beyond! Serving girls throughout New Hampshire and Vermont, girls discover the fun, friendship, and power of girls together. Visit www.girlscoutsgwm.org.