Boy Scout Merit Badge to Be Discontinued?

Scott D. Russell srussell at OU.EDU
Mon Sep 15 16:48:43 EST 1997


The following was posted on the sci.bio.botany Newsgroup. The time for
action is now, if you want to restore the botany merit badge!

-----------------------------------------------------------------------
From:          smfact at aol.com (Smfact)
Subject:       save the botany merit badge
Date:          10 Sep 1997 20:33:08 GMT
Organization:  AOL http://www.aol.com


I recently became aware that the Boy Scouts of America have discontinued
the botany merit badge. They report that when the number of badges
completed per year drops below 1200, that badge is reviewed. They weigh
the costs of making the badge more attractive and in their opinion ,
botany did not make the grade. Supposedly, in the last 5 years
an average of about 750 botany merit badges per year have been awarded.
Even though these numbers are low, it does suggest that there are many
young people who are interested in the field and would benefit from the
work involved in obtaining such a badge. 

The national headquarters for the Boy Scouts will consider reinstating
the merit badge for botany if it receives enough letters from
professional organizations and individuals around the United States. The
next meeting is in October of this year. If you would like to see the
botany merit badge reeinstated send a letter to the following address:
Attn: Mr. John Dalrymple, Advancement Committee, Boy Scouts of America,
Post Office Box 152079, Irving, TX 75015 - 2079. 

Try to mail it so it arrives by the next week or two in September.
Mention any personal experience in Scouting or with other youth groups
that influenced your career choice, as well as the importance of
Scouting in introducing boys to your profession. This is your chance to
help spread the interest in the field of botany. I originally received
this information/request from Charlotte Jones-Roe of the North Carolina
Botanical Garden. 

Thanks for any help, Steve Messier, Connecticut Botanical Society 
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I think that those in plant biology education should be very concerned
about letting this pass by the wayside without comment.  There have been
over 85,107 botany merit badges awarded from 1911 to 1993 and 953 in
1993 according to their website at URL: http://www.bsa.scouting.org/

Botany is the science of plants.  Other merit badges concerning plants
have also had considerable interest: for example, gardening (2,523),
pulp & paper (1,776), plant science (1,366), and agribusiness (1,138). 
The science of plants on which these derivative areas are based should
be built up and not dismantled -- especially given its long history and
the importance of scientific knowledge of plants to produce food for
future generations and to understand the influence of plants on the
environment.
-- 
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Scott D. Russell                     Internet:  srussell at ou.edu
Dept of Botany & Microbiology      ->http://www.ou.edu/cas/botany-micro/
 & Noble Electron Microscopy Lab   >http://www.ou.edu/research/electron/
University of Oklahoma, Norman OK    Phone:  1-405-325-6234
 73019-0245   USA                    FAX:    1-405-325-7619
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