As you may be aware, Christopher Stowell, a Boy Scout and 14 year old beekeeper from Oklahoma, recently led a campaign to reinstate the Beekeeping Merit Badge.

BSA recently announced its response to Christopher’s request, and the news is mostly good. While BSA is not agreeing to reinstate the Beekeeping Merit Badge, it is agreeing to incorporate beekeeping activities into several different existing merit badges.
Emphasis of the importance of bees and beekeeping will be added to or enhanced in eight existing merit badge pamphlets: Bird Study, Forestry, Gardening, Nature, Plant Science, Pulp and Paper, Environmental Science, and Insect Study. All of this will be accomplished by the end of 2015. One of those badges, Environmental Science, is needed for a scout to attain Eagle rank. Although the BSA is not reinstating a merit badge specific to beekeeping, it is making changes that provide opportunities to expose over 100,000 boys a year to the joys of beekeeping.

Beekeeping projects, such as working with a colony or harvesting honey, will be considered for addition to one or more of those merit badges so that interested scouts can earn advancement recognition for their beekeeping activities. The BSA believes this will increase the awareness of honeybees and their critical impact on our environment, and training America’s young people about caring for this important natural resource.

HOWEVER WE AS BEEKEEPERS NEED TO SUPPORT THIS EFFORT!

BSA does not currently know how many people will be willing to act as mentors for scouts who want to learn more about beekeeping. BSA may be reluctant to include a great deal of beekeeping activities as options for earning the merit badges unless the beekeeping community demonstrates that it will provide mentors to boys who want to learn about beekeeping.

RIGHT NOW, there are three things that you can do to help.

First, BSA has invited all associations and experts in the beekeeping community who are interested in helping with this project to e-mail us at merit.badge@scouting.org. Please put “bees” in the subject line.

Second, if you are interested in serving as a merit badge counselor, contact your BSA local council to initiate the process.

Finally, if you are willing to be a mentor, please contact BSA directly and let them know you are willing to be a mentor. BSA has requested that interested beekeepers e-mail them at: merit.badge@scouting.org and please put “Honey Bees” in the heading. Just write a few words letting them know that you are willing to act as a mentor, and please give BSA a way to contact you and let them know what states and counties you are willing to mentor in.
Just write a few words letting them know you are willing to mentor. Give them a way to contact you and let them know the areas of your state/county wher you are willing to act as a mentor.