On February 24, the Boys Scouts of America launches the Mining in Society merit badge, the latest in a series of merit badges focused on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) topics. The Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration Inc. (SME), which was instrumental in the development of the Mining in Society merit badge, held a number of special events at its annual meeting in Salt Lake City, Utah, February 23–26.

“Whether it’s the source of the metal in a Dutch oven or the key components in a smartphone, mining affects Scouts both in their Scouting activities and in their everyday lives, making this Mining in Society merit badge a great way for Scouts to gain a better understanding of some of the key building blocks of commonly used items,” said Chief Scout Executive Wayne Brock. “There are some important STEM lessons to be learned through earning this badge, and that focus may lead some Scouts to develop an even greater interest in the vastly important fields of science, technology, engineering and math.”

“By providing a factual and comprehensive program of instruction, the Mining in Society merit badge ensures that, for years to come, members of the next generation will be introduced to the importance of mining and minerals in their daily lives and have the opportunity to learn about careers in the industry,” said John Murphy, SME past president and chair of the SME Merit Badge Advisory Panel.

The BSA selected SME to lead the development of the new badge because of the dedication and expertise of its members. The SME Merit Badge Content Development Team and Advisory Panel worked diligently with the Boy Scouts of America to create a fun, compelling badge program that would focus on mining’s key components of exploration, permitting, excavation, processing, production, safety and reclamation.

For more information, visit www.scouting.org/meritbadges, www.mineralseducationcoalition.org/MiningInSocietyMB, or www.smenet.org/MiningInSocietyMB (site available in early March). Resources for individuals who are interested in serving as a merit badge counselor are available here: www.scouting.org/scoutsource/BoyScouts/GuideforMeritBadgeCounselors/Resources.