Finding Gold

Upcycling project earns a Girl Scout Gold Award

Anya Merriman-Mix of Amherst, a Girl Scout and high school senior at The Dublin School, recently earned the prestigious Girl Scout Gold Award, investing more than 93 hours and more than $500 in funding in organizing sustainable fashion workshops. Merriman-Mix talked about her initiative to raise awareness about the harmful effects of fast fashion and promote upcycling as a viable solution.

What inspired you to raise awareness about the impact of fast fashion and promote upcycling?

During Covid, when I was stuck in my house and trying to find things to do, I saw a bunch of people making their own tops, by crocheting them or using recycled materials. … I started doing some research around it … and into fast fashion and the impact that it has on other countries. … The fashion industry no longer operates around just four seasons; it puts out new styles every few weeks. This results in a huge influx of clothes that stay in stores for a short period, then get sent back to the countries they came from if they’re not sold. I found all this really interesting. I regularly go through my closet and donate or give away anything I don’t want, and I discovered that many donations given to places like Goodwill aren’t always bought, and a lot of it is unusable. If something gets donated and sits there for a long time, it also gets sent back [to other countries]. There’s an overflow of clothes and fabrics that aren’t needed and can’t be reused and end up in landfills. I wanted to raise awareness and make people more conscious of their clothing-buying decisions … and I noticed that many people have no idea what upcycling is when I bring it up.

How did this translate into a project for Girl Scouts, and what did that project consist of?

I decided to propose an upcycling course for my school during what’s called “J-term,” which is a two-week period in January when my school offers various courses. A couple of teachers expressed interest, and we worked together to create the course. That’s when I decided to turn it into my Gold Award project [for Girl Scouts]. … I also ran a workshop for Brownies where they made their own tote bags and dreamcatchers. What’s interesting is [the Brownies] actually took the extra fabric from their dreamcatchers and started making bracelets out of it … they took it upon themselves, which was really great to see. I’m going to teach another upcycling course at a Girl Scout summer camp this year. I also created a website, and I’ve connected with a woman in Milford who does upcycling through her company called Mountain Girl.

How can individuals who are not creatively inclined toward upcycling dispose of their unwanted clothing and fabrics responsibly?

If you can’t find someone to give them to directly, donating clothes is always a better option than throwing them away. There are higher-end thrift stores like Mother and Child that accept good quality clothes. Companies like Lululemon and Patagonia also have buyback programs where you can return old clothes for them to resell.

How has this project changed the way you think about and manage clothes in your own life?

I try not to buy clothes unless I need something specific for an event or it’s something that I truly love and know for sure that I’ll wear again. I look for higher-end brands that are moderately affordable, because they usually offer better quality.

What skills aside from upcycling have you developed through this project?

Public speaking and advocacy were significant skills I developed. I had to communicate and convince different people about my project and learn to adapt my message for different audiences, such as teachers, Girl Scouts council members and Brownies.

What advice do you have for other Girl Scouts who are working toward earning the Gold Award?

If you have an interest, start researching and brainstorming ideas. I had been passionate about upcycling for a few years, but I didn’t have much preparation or knowledge at the beginning [of the project], so I learned things as I went along. … Not everything goes smoothly all the time, but it’s definitely worth a shot. I know I’m really glad I took on this project.

Featured photo: Anya Merriman-Mix. Courtesy photo.

News & Notes 23/06/08

Sununu is a ‘no’

Gov. Chris Sununu is not running for president in 2024, as he explained in a Washington Post opinion piece from June 5 and as was reported by several local media outlets that day. “Our party is on a collision course toward electoral irrelevance without significant corrective action. The stakes are too high for a crowded field to hand the nomination to a candidate who earns just 35 percent of the vote, and I will help ensure this does not happen,” Sununu said in the piece (former President Donald Trump received 35 percent of the vote in the 2016 Republican primary). Sununu said in the Washington Post piece he believes he can have more influence “on the future of the Republican Party and the 2024 nominating process” as governor. In an interview with WMUR aired on Monday, he said he could be more unleashed as governor than as a candidate. The WMUR piece also said Sununu has not yet said whether he plans to run for a fifth term as governor.

Schools survey

The New Hampshire Department of Education has released the results of its 603 Bright Futures Survey, which recently gathered feedback from educators, families and community members on the previous school year. The survey showed progress made in innovation, school safety and partnerships between schools and families, while areas for improvement identified include student anxiety, behavior and additional support for educators. Other key findings include positive relationships between staff and students; the need for more support for educators working with special education and academically advanced students; and the importance of social and emotional support systems in schools. Full survey results can be viewed at

Pedestrian bridge

The City of Manchester has unveiled updated designs for the Granite Street Pedestrian Bridge, which is part of the RAISE Manchester transportation infrastructure project, “Connecting Communities.” According to a press release, the new design incorporates feedback from residents, businesses and community groups to enhance safety and usability for pedestrians, bicyclists and drivers. The bridge, near the Commercial Street and Granite Street intersection, will provide a safe alternative for Fisher Cats fans and commuters crossing Granite Street. The widened bridge and ramps now meet ADA accessibility standards, and cyclists can choose between using the bridge or street-level travel lanes. The project also aims to improve signal operation, reduce emissions and pay homage to Manchester’s history by resembling the former Notre Dame Bridge.

Lawsuit settlement

Attorney General John M. Formella has announced in a press release a nationwide settlement of $102.5 million with Indivior Inc., the maker of Suboxone, in which 42 states participated. New Hampshire will receive approximately $896,400 as part of the settlement. The complaint alleged that Indivior used illegal tactics to maintain its monopoly over Suboxone, making it more expensive and difficult to treat opioid addiction. “Indivior’s illegal actions truly put profits ahead of people, and with this settlement we are holding them accountable and obtaining significant relief for our citizens,” Formella said in the release. The agreement, subject to court approval, requires Indivior to pay the states and comply with injunctive terms to prevent similar conduct in the future.

Help for kids

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has awarded $499,277 to Lamprey Health Care to support its Southern NH Area Health Education Center program, according to a press release from New Hampshire’s congressional delegation. The funding will be used to expand access to trauma-informed care and interventions for children and caregivers who have been exposed to adverse childhood experiences. The delegation, including U.S. Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan, as well as Reps. Annie Kuster and Chris Pappas, emphasized the importance of such programs in addressing the substance use disorder epidemic in New Hampshire and supporting affected families.

Detentions abroad

U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen has been appointed as an honorary co-chair on a bipartisan commission aimed at addressing the increase in hostage taking and wrongful detention worldwide. According to a press release, the commission comprises various experts, including former hostages and their families, law enforcement officials, diplomats, academics and journalists. Formed in collaboration with the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), it will focus on studying effective strategies to respond to different types of hostage-taking actors, proposing new U.S. government policies to deter such actions and developing tools and authorities to aid U.S. officials and hostage families. Additionally, a bipartisan legislation co-led by Shaheen establishing a national day recognizing U.S. hostages and their families was unanimously approved by the U.S. Senate. Shaheen is also a leader on the Supporting Americans Wrongfully or Unlawfully Detained Abroad Act of 2023, which aims to provide assistance to families of wrongfully detained Americans and improve mental health support for detainees and their families.

Anagnost Investments held a ribbon-cutting Tuesday, June 6, for the opening of its new Bow Lane Property, behind Bedford High School at 3 Bow Lane in Bedford. The property comprises three buildings totaling 93 units, with 47 units dedicated to workforce housing, aligning with the community’s affordable housing initiatives. Speakers in attendance, included Dick Anagnost, developer at Anagnost Investments, Inc.; U.S. Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan; State Sen. Denise Ricciardi, and Rob Dapice from the New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority.

The Candia Town Wide Yard Sale will be held Saturday, June 10, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Find maps to registered sales on Friday, June 9, outside the front door of Candia Town Hall (74 High St.) and Smyth Library (55 High St. in Candia) or via the Candia Community Women’s Club’s website,

From now until Aug. 20, all Jordan’s Furniture store locations, including the one in Nashua, will collect donations of new and gently used clothing for children up to 12 years old to support its Cradles to Crayons’ Ready for Learning initiative, which provides back-to-school supplies and clothing to children experiencing homelessness or living in low-income households. Donations will be distributed through a network of partner hospitals, shelters, schools and community centers. Visit to learn more.

Different priorities

The Union Leader recently reported that Manchester is spending $2 million from the American Rescue Plan Act funds on a community-wide identity and branding initiative for the Queen City. It further noted the project was made a priority by Mayor Craig and the board of aldermen to address the negative impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.

While a property owner in Manchester, I do not reside in the city. Thus, even though we remit tax revenue to Manchester, we have no voting rights in the city. The property owned is near City Hall where, sadly, our maintenance team continues to deal with discarded needles and drug paraphernalia as well as human feces, discarded clothing, shopping carts, and other items strewn about the property. Like many property owners in downtown Manchester, despite repeated calls and requests to the mayor’s office, we have received no assistance or response to this issue that negatively impacts our property, our employees and our guests.

So it is disappointing to learn that a decision was made to spend $2 million on a branding campaign instead of the long-standing issue within Manchester that has not been properly addressed, homelessness. As noted in prior columns, homelessness is a complex issue with many facets. Manchester has failed in almost every area due to a lack of leadership and consistent finger-pointing. Residents of encampments have been evicted and shuffled from one location to another. Blame has been placed on the state for not addressing the problem, and on outlying areas for sending their residents to Manchester. This past winter, the city scrambled at the last minute to provide emergency housing (as though it were a surprise cold weather was coming). Property owners suffer the consequences.

Yet nobody in a leadership position in Manchester has taken the reins and said, “We’re going to address this, put a plan in place to assist this population, and solve this issue within the city.” In fairness, Manchester has hired a Director of Homeless Initiatives. Looking at the website, I see more excuses in the Q&A section as to why things can’t be done versus solutions as to what will be done. At present, it certainly seems as though the plan is to “brand” Manchester away from its problems.

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