Every year, the National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum (NMHFM) selects an individual or entity that has demonstrated ongoing, innovative work educating the public, policymakers, educators, or related institutions about the importance of the mineral and mining industry to our everyday lives. The awardee is selected from a pool of nominations reviewed by the National Mining Hall of Fame’s Prazen committee.
The BSA has implemented a multi‐faceted program that highlights the important role minerals play in our quality of life and national security. Through the launch and promotion of the Mining in Society Merit Badge program and other program initiatives, the BSA has substantially increased awareness of the role minerals play in our way of life and has identified the conservation‐minded means of extracting and processing minerals. The BSA has demonstrated a successful and continuing commitment to educate the public on the importance of the minerals industries.
The Mining in Society merit badge was launched in February 2014 during the Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration Annual Conference and Expo in Salt Lake City, UT. The badge has been well received, with more than 12,000 Scouts earning the badge by the end of 2016. The merit badge pamphlet is an excellent primer on mining. The pamphlet explains the key role that mined products play in our quality of life. The pamphlet is written and illustrated at a level that youth and the general public can understand and appreciate. The requirements that a Scout must complete to earn the badge help to build a lifelong understanding of how important minerals are to society. Further, the pamphlet identifies the multitude of career tracks offered in the mining industry.
The Mining in Society merit badge has created an “engine” with the potential to reach nearly 1,000,000 Scouts in the U.S. Considering the “multiplier effect,” where families discuss endeavors of their children, and Scouts earning the badge interact with schoolmates and friends, the educational outreach of the Mining in Society Merit Badge is likely to be multiplied well beyond the number of with a permanent means and channel to reach out to the public to educate and tell the story of mining and its necessity in the everyday life of all people.
Frank McAllister, NMHFM Board of Directors Chairman, commented, “The Mining in Society merit badge provides today’s youth with a glimpse into what makes their lives and their world so extraordinary. It provides an understanding that minerals and metals are key to everything we as humans do; a perspective that these natural endowments are life-essentials important to society.”