Updated Feb. 21 to add image of cover.
Mining in Society merit badge won’t officially launch until Feb. 24 at the Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration’s Annual Meeting in Salt Lake City.
But I’ve been given the OK to release the merit badge patch and first two requirements today — just to give you and your Scouts a sneak peek at the all-new merit badge coming later this month.
First, though, pay careful attention to the merit badge’s name. It’s Mining in Society, not simply Mining. And after looking at the full list of requirements today I can confirm that Scouts won’t be doing any actual mining. So leave the hard hats at home.
That is, of course, unless Scouts opt to visit an active mine for Requirement 5. That’s one of five hands-on options from which Scouts can choose, and it’s only to be done with advance planning, parental permission and proper safety gear. Scouts who don’t live near an active mine or who prefer not to visit one can choose from four other activities, including Internet-based mine tours.
When I’ve blogged about Mining in Society merit badge in the past, many have asked how this merit badge and the new Sustainability merit badge can coexist. Well, you’ll be pleased to see that Requirement 6 asks Scouts to explore that very subject. For Requirement 6c, for instance, they’re told to “Discuss the transformation of the BSA Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve from a mine site to its current role.”
On the whole, the eight requirements for Mining in Society are less about learning how to work in a mine and more about understanding how the results of modern mining are all around us — in our smartphones, in our bicycles, pretty much in everything.
I see parallels with Pulp and Paper merit badge, which I earned at the 1997 National Scout Jamboree. Yes, Pulp and Paper MB asks Scouts to make a sheet of paper, but its main focus is the hundreds of pounds of paper every American uses each year and how that paper is made.
But back to Mining in Society, here are the first two requirements I promised you, as well as a higher-resolution version of the merit badge patch for you to share: Continue reading