It’s been a great week at the Boy Scouts of America’s 2013 National Jamboree, where SFI is helping thousands of the 35,000 scouts, leaders and family members attending to learn more about sustainable forestry and responsible purchasing of forest products.

Held at The Summit Bechtel Reserve, a beautiful new high-adventure scout camp near Beckley, West Virginia, the Jamboree includes zip lines, water sports, climbing walls, scuba diving – and many opportunities for scouts to earn a range of merit badges and special patches.

boyscoutsSFI volunteers are staffing the SFI tent on the Jamboree’s Conservation Trail. Scouts are participating in the “Conservation Challenge” developed by the West Virginia Division of Forestry and co-sponsored by SFI, the West Virginia Forestry Association and the Society of American Foresters. Here, scouts are learning concepts and facts and then completing an online quiz about forestry and sustainability. When answered correctly, designated letters spell out a message that can earn the scout a cool Conservation Challenge patch.

The SFI booth features a 3-D Wood puzzle for scouts to solve and a “tree cookie” – a cross section of a tree more than a century old – for scouts to handle and to guess the tree’s age. The back of the tree cookie displays notable year markers of significant events in U.S. history, such as the chartering of the Boy Scouts of America more than a century ago and the first man on the moon.

Scouts that complete one of these challenges receive an SFI neckerchief slide. There are some talented scouts here – we’ve handed out hundreds of the slides already!

The Jamboree also marks the official launch of the new BSA Sustainability Merit Badge, which is eligible to be one of 12 required badges for Eagle Scout, scouting’s highest rank. SFI worked with BSA on the sustainable forestry sections of the merit badge requirements, which include ones related to sustainable forestry and SFI certification. And the Sustainability Merit Badge book was printed on paper certified to the SFI Chain-of-Custody Standard.

SFI experts also are partnering with the West Virginia Division of Forestry to offer twice-a-day counseling sessions on requirements for the Forestry Merit Badge.

This week marks a solidification of SFI’s relationship with BSA. In 2012, SFI and BSA signed a memorandum of mutual support agreeing to work together to demonstrate forest stewardship and environmental education for America’s youth. The Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico is certified to the SFI Standard and BSA’s Scouting and Boys’ Life magazines are printed on SFI chain-of-custody certified paper.

We appreciate that Glatfelter provided certified paper for the Forestry Merit Badge tree identification booklets as well as note pads.  MeadWestvaco supplied black locust wood for the iconic Jamboree footbridge and hemlock timber for the Jamboree shower houses – all harvested from forestland certified to the SFI Standard. Plum Creek supplied laminated signs for the Conservation Challenge projects.

We couldn’t have made this great educational opportunity happen without the hard work of volunteer foresters from Glatfelter, MeadWestvaco, the Kentucky Division of Forestry, Plum Creek Timber Company, RockTenn, Resolute FP U.S. Inc., the University of Georgia Center for Forest Business, the West Virginia Forestry Association, the West Virginia SFI Implementation Committee and Weyerhaeuser who are staffing the Sustainable Forestry Initiative tent and supporting scouts and leaders on the Jamboree’s Conservation Trail.

 Barry Graden
Director, Southeast U.S. Community Outreach


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