Boy Scout Troop 120 of Owensboro, Kentucky, recently paid a visit to Domtar’s Hawesville Mill to participate in a hands-on tour and educational session. By completing the tour and learning about the history of paper and the process of papermaking, the Scouts earned their pulp and paper merit badges. The pulp and paper merit badge is one of more than 135 merit badges that Boy Scouts can earn to learn about sports, crafts, science, trades and business.
The mill’s hospitality to the troop is just one example of how Domtar nurtures knowledge, education and interest about our industry in the communities where we operate.
In the past, our mills in Bennettsville, South Carolina, and Johnsonburg, Pennsylvania, have helped area Scouts earn pulp and paper merit badges.
Pulp and Paper Merit Badge Requirements
To earn the pulp and paper merit badge, a Scout must complete a classroom session with a worksheet and tour a manufacturing facility. The tour of the Hawesville Mill included actual hands-on papermaking and was conducted by Dennis Waldroup, who manages compliance and technology at Hawesville and is an EarthChoice Ambassador.
“It was great fun being able to be a part of this event and get opportunity to teach the Scouts something new and useful,” Waldroup said. “I think the knowledge they walked away with is invaluable and something that not everybody knows. I’m happy to think that I was a part of their development and growth.”
The classroom portion covered the history of papermaking, the pulp and paper industry, the types of trees that are sourced for fibers, the papermaking process, and the technological, environmental and economic impacts of the pulp and paper industry. The classroom time also covered the types of careers available in the industry.
Sean Lane, the environmental health and safety manager at the Hawesville Mill and the troop’s leader, coordinated the event and helped conduct the tour.
“It was interesting to see how the boys and their adult leaders were so surprised at the complexity and diversity offered by the pulp and paper industry,” Lane said. “I think we really made a great impression on those young minds, and I wouldn’t be surprised if we helped spark the interest of a Domtar employee in the making.”
That evening, the Scouts set up camp outside the mill. Temperatures fell to minus 6 degrees Fahrenheit and only reached the 20s during the day; the chilly temperatures allowed the Scouts to earn their polar bear patch, in addition to their pulp and paper merit badge.