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NGRREC celebrated female leadership for Back-to-School Neighbor Night

Girl Scout Troop 375 with Rep. Amy Elik; Paige Mettler-Cherry, Director of Operations and Strategic Initiatives at NGRREC; Rep. Katie Stuart (Submitted photo)


Community members, legislators, Girl Scouts and staff from the National Great Rivers Research and Education Center (NGRREC℠) gathered Tuesday, Aug. 8, at the Jerry F. Costello Field Station to celebrate female leadership in policy and science.

Among the speakers was State Rep. Amy Elik (R-111th, Alton) who gave the Scouts some advice.

“Try new things to open your eyes to new experiences,” she said. “Even if it is something you may not be good at.”

Also in attendance was Rep. Katie Stuart (D-112th, Edwardsville) who told the girls what she likes best about her position.

“Knowing what I do benefits people in a positive way,” she said.

Everyone enjoyed pizza and s’mores while learning about Girl Scout Troop 325’s community and nature-based projects, how to create seed-balls for spreading native plants and about the important research happening at the station.

The event concluded with a female leadership discussion panel, which was led by Girl Scout Troop 325, and included both Elik and Stuart along with NGRREC Director of Operations and Strategic Initiatives Paige Mettler-Cherry, Ph.D.

Mettler-Cherry left the young leaders with some encouraging words.

“Always believe in yourself and don’t let people tell you no,” she said.

For more information on NGRREC or the Field Station, visit the website at or send an email to

National Great Rivers Research and Education Center (NGRREC℠)

NGRREC is dedicated to the study of great river systems and the communities that use them, facilitating the efficient implementation of science into policy and to practice. Founded in 2002 as a collaborative partnership between the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Lewis and Clark Community College, the center aspires to be a leader in scholarly research, education, and outreach related to the interconnectedness of large rivers, their floodplains, watersheds, and their associated communities.

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