Scouting BSA to help plant 3.2 million trees across the Palmetto State
By W. Thomas Smith Jr.
Six Scouting BSA (Boy Scouts of America) councils from across South Carolina have partnered with POWERPLANTSC with Scouts preparing to plant pine tree seeds – and help set a record 3.2-million trees planted in a single day – on Earth Day, Apr. 22, 2021: The Scouts officially signed on with POWERPLANTSC in early Feb.
“This is so perfectly aligned with our mission and activities,” says Doug Stone, scout executive (executive director) of the Columbia-based Indian Waters Council Scouting BSA. “This is a great opportunity not only for Scouting families, but for the community as a whole.”
Like all POWERPLANTSC participants, Scouts will be planting loblolly pine-tree seeds, each in packs of 60 seeds and donated by the S.C. Forestry Commission, which have been stored by the S.C. Dept. of Corrections and are being distributed to staging areas for Scouts and others over the next few weeks.
“This will be the largest single-day tree planting event in American history,” said S.C. Floodwater Commission Chairman Tom Mullikin, who conceived and is now directing the POWERPLANTSC project. “We are thrilled to have the active involvement of Scouting BSA. These young people, their families, and adult Scouting leaders are all part of a broad coalition of public, private, and non-profit environmental partners which are not only raising awareness of the importance of trees to human and environmental health, but their participation will aid in the mitigation of disastrous flooding which has plagued the Palmetto State since at least 2015 even before.”
Mullikin also wants the Scouts to be recognized for their work in a “visible, memorable way,” he says. Consequently, POWERPLANTSC is designing an event-specific patch for Scouts, which Stone says will be authorized for wear on the uniform. Additionally, the POWERPLANTSC tree planting effort will become part of Scouting BSA’s merit badge “advancement program” for older Scouts with separate achievement recognition for the younger Cub Scouts who will also be participating.
“This tree-planting effort demonstrates that the day-to-day activities of the Boy Scouts of America are very much alive and well in our communities,” says Stone, adding that when he first learned of the project from POWERPLANTSC’s communications chief Tyler Ryan, “We wanted to jump onboard right away.”
Stone adds: “When it comes to serving others and providing community projects, the Scouts are always the first to rush to the occasion.”
Following a POWERPLANTSC meeting in early Jan., S.C. Lt. Gov. Pamela Evette said: “We are not only planting and growing trees, but this is about growing our economy and growing our state. And through this [POWERPLANTSC project] we are now educating our children as to how important our environment is.”
In addition to the Indian Waters Council, S.C.’s BSA councils include: Blue Ridge (headquartered in Greenville), Palmetto (Spartanburg), Pee Dee Area (Florence), Coastal Carolina (North Charleston), and Georgia-Carolina (Augusta) serving approximately 16,000 Scouting BSA members statewide.
Stone says Scouting families are now signing-up for POWERPLANTSC through the Scouting BSA website.