WASHINGTON, DC – The Boy Scouts of America and Sustainable Forestry Initiative Inc.® (SFI®) have signed a memorandum of mutual support agreeing to work together to demonstrate forest stewardship and environmental education for America’s youth.
“The purpose and mission of the Boy Scouts of America is to prepare youth to become responsible, participating citizens and leaders,” said Bob Mazzuca, Chief Scout Executive for the Boy Scouts of America. “This agreement reinforces our strong partnership with SFI, and demonstrates our commitment to sustainable forest management. It lets us show scouts the value of our natural environment and how the future of our forests depends on the actions we take today.”
Dr. Richard W. (Dick) Brinker, Dean Emeritus, School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences, Auburn University, and a member of the social chamber of the SFI Board of Directors, welcomed the agreement. “I was a Boy Scout from age 8 to 18, and the Forestry merit badge was the first one I earned,” he said. “I was in 7th Grade, and it actually set a foundation in my mind that I wanted to be a forester.”
SFI President and CEO Kathy Abusow said the memorandum will encourage more SFI participants, including members of community-based SFI Implementation Committees, to volunteer as merit badge counselors, providing expertise through talks or tours for individual scouts or local scouting units who want to earn elective Forestry, Environmental Science, and Pulp and Paper merit badges. In addition to its merit badges, the Boy Scouts of America has certified its Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico to the SFI 2010-2014 Standard, and its Scouting and Boys’ Life magazines are printed on SFI chain-of-custody certified paper.
“It is rewarding and fun to help youth understand the complexity and value of our forests,” said Bob Izlar, Director of the Center for Forest Business at the University of Georgia, an Eagle Scout who is a member of both the Georgia SFI Implementation Committee and the Northeast Georgia Council of the Boy Scouts of America. “I have been the visiting forester for two summers at the Philmont Scout Ranch, which gives me a chance to show scouts how much we depend on forests, what we can do to keep forests healthy, and how they can contribute.”
Independent SFI Inc. is responsible for the largest single forest certification standard in the world, and works with a wide array of partners to improve forest management in Canada and the United States, and sourcing worldwide. In 2011, the Boy Scouts of America received the SFI President’s Award for leadership in embracing third-party forest certification and educating youth about the value of sustainable forest management.
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