Participants of the 2017 National Jamboree got to relive their childhood through The Sustainability Treehouse. But this wasn’t  just any old tree house. This was a treehouse that stood four stories tall. Each level had interactive activities, demonstrations, and displays all focused on sustainability.

The Sustainability Merit Badge is one of the choices for the required merit badges needed to earn the Eagle Rank. But, that’s not the only reason why it’s important for Scouts to complete it. Being conscience of the environment determines the fate of the planet. The entire purpose of The Sustainability Treehouse is to demonstrate ways to be sustainable.

On the first level guests were greeted by items of the forest such as old tree stumps with plaques explaining age rings. Leaves and other specimens of nature on display educated the people on what they were. There was a small theater-style seating area that one could sit and look out the windows to observe the surrounding trees or watch the short film about conserving water usage and other information.

The other stories of the treehouse continued to inform those present about the importance of being sustainable, ways you can reduce your energy, waste, etc. There was a demonstration about energy. Scouts could sit on a bicycle and pedal to create energy to light up the different types of light bulbs. Some bulbs needed only a little bit of pedaling while other bulbs took most of the Scouts energy just to get a dim light.

As you made your way to the roof, you were becoming more and more aware of your environment. The exhibits were strategically placed for you to start realize just how much of an impact you had on your planet. By the time you reached the roof, you felt a need to make a positive difference.

On top, over looking the massive trees and parts of the Summit, you were greeted by an ongoing art project. The “Make a Commitment” art project consisted of thousands of scrap pieces of metal, all with etched commitments made by visitors. A posted sign explained the project:

As you’ve gone through the Treehouse, you’ve learned about how forests are closed loops and recycle everything. Now it’s up to you. What actions will you take to live a cleaner, greener, more sustainable life? Write your commitment on a tag and hang it up here. You’ll inspire yourself and you’ll inspire Scouts who visit here after you. Once you leave today, make it a responsibility to spread the word to others and encourage your friends and family to take action, too.

“Don’t litter”, “Think before I buy”, and “Earth is sacred” were just some of the etchings made by the Scouts. You could spend most of your day just reading all the metal tags that were subtly influencing your choices.

Being sustainable is more than just recycling your water bottles: it’s consistently turning off the lights, picking up your trash, reducing your waste, reusing your grocery bags. It’s making a lifestyle change to love and take care of your planet.

What commitment will you make to live A more earth-friendly life?

Author: Maloree Anderson | is a photographer, graphic designer, mom of one, friend of Scouting and Marketing Specialist with the Utah National Parks Council, Boy Scouts of America.


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