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UN honors scouts for orangutan-saving project

UNITED NATIONS (AP) – The U.N. is honoring two 16-year-old Girl Scouts for their work aimed at saving orangutans from extinction.

Madison Vorva, of Plymouth, Michigan, and Rhiannon Tomtishen, of nearby Ann Arbor, on Thursday received the first ever International Forest Heroes Award for North America.

The Union of Concerned Scientists nominated the girls for bringing international attention to the threat posed to orangutans in Indonesia and Malaysia as tropical forests, their natural habitat, are deforested to plant huge palm oil plantations.

The girls learned of the connection while working on a scout project five years ago.

Palm oil is used in thousands of products, including Girl Scout cookies. The girls encourage using sustainable substitutes, such as canola oil.

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