GOLD AWARD SPOTLIGHT: Claudia’s passion for sustainable technology led to her “Avant-Gardening” project!


“I wanted to educate and inspire passion about the environment in my community. The greatest thing about my project was that it captured the interest of people of all ages.” – Claudia

Claudia Herbert, 18, a Redlands High School graduating senior, is facing the most difficult decision of her life this week.

“I don’t know which to choose yet. They’re all really good schools,” says Claudia, juggling her acceptance letters to Berkeley, UCLA, and USC. She is currently waitlisted at Stanford.

Finally, she gains a little headway, “I planning on majoring in Environmental Studies and Berkeley has the perfect program. I’m very interested in doing the public policy side of that. Like for my Gold Award, getting the world out. The education side of these issues is where we can all make an impact.”

Claudia, a Girl Scout since she was only four and a half years old, recently completed her Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest, most prestigious honor in Girl Scouting.

Her Gold Award project, “Avant-Gardening: Aquaponics,” taught the public about the benefits of aquaponics, a system which utilizes simple technology to ensure environmental sustainability in our future agriculture and aquaculture production by combining the raising of fish with the growing of vegetation in a water environment.

aquaponics exhibit at BIG EXPOClaudia said, “I wanted to educate and inspire passion about the environment in my community. The greatest thing about my project was that it captured the interest of people of all ages. I could just as easily talk to a group of AP Biology students, as I could little kids in an elementary school classroom.”

For her project, Claudia partnered with the Blessing Center in Redlands. She created an educational video to play at the center, and uploaded the clips to YouTube and started a blog for easy accessibility to a wider audience.

You can access her blog at

In addition, Claudia created models of an aquaponic farm for simple visualization.

SWF_Aquaponics_Junior_Overview_v01-1024x731Her passion for the environment came from an experience she had in 2012. The Girl Scouts of San Gorgonio Council nominated two Girl Scouts to attend the Girls World Forum in Chicago, IL. during the summer of 2012; Claudia was one of them.

There, she and other young women discussed the UN Millennium Development Goals and it was goal seven, Ensure Environmental Sustainability, which really caught her attention.

“Best week of my life, hands down. I was so excited to be with Girl Scouts when I got that opportunity. And now, uniting my love of Girl Scouting and green technology into one project has been really amazing,” said Claudia.

Gold Award Recipients are each Girl Scout council’s top young female leaders who, now and in the future, make the world a better place.

Each spring these exceptional young women are honored in ceremonies around the country, and the Girl Scouts of San Gorgonio Council are proud to honor Claudia and her 19 co-award recipients at the Gold and Silver Awards Gala on Sunday, April 27, 2014.


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