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Landscape Architecture Merit Badge
After reading an article on three scouts receiving a Landscape Architecture Merit Badge [pdf], I decided to investigate the requirements. It seems that the process is quite involved, hardly casual. The first on the list is as follows:

Explain the differences between a landscape architect and a horticulturist, a landscape contractor, an architect, an urban planner, and a civil engineer. Give an example of the work each might do that is unique to that vocation. How might people in these positions work with a landscape architect?

Landscape Architecture Merit BadgeHow does one answer this without being overcomed by existential angst or mired in the politics over professional boundaries? In several states, lobbyists for civil engineering and architecture associations (and others, for sure) are always weary, if not hostile, over state licensure legislations for landscape architects, since these legislations typically list the types of activities that only licensed landscape architects may then only perform. Should road design fall under the purview of landscape architects or civil engineers? So perhaps merit badge recipients will come away with a defining landscape architectural trait: schizophrenia.

Other tasks sound like introductory assignments at any landscape architecture program.

Look at and study a place of worship or school grounds to find the place where most people arrive by bus or car. Show you can do the following:

A) Using a measuring tape, measure and draw the entry and its nearby area using a scale of 1/8 inch equal to 1 foot on an 11-by-17-inch piece of paper. Be sure to include the driveway and the wall and door where people enter the school or place of worship. Indicate any sidewalks, structures, trees, and plants within the study area. Make a copy of this plan to save the original. Do the next two items on copies.

B) On one copy, use directional arrows to indicate where the water drains across the site, where ditches occur, and where water stands for a longer period of time.

C) Decide on how you can make the place safer and more comfortable for those using it. Redesign the area on another copy
of the plan. You may want to include new walks, covered waiting areas, benches, space-defining plantings of trees and
shrubs, and drainage structures.

Would a cemetery count as a place of worship?

It is all approved by the ASLA, so perhaps a merit badge should qualify one for some college credit or substitute for an entire semester.

  • Anonymous
  • August 19, 2005 at 8:51:00 AM CDT
  • Thanks For the pickup!

    Thanks for spotting the merit badge story in The Dirt, and linking to us on Pruned, it's a great blog. I was pleasantly surprised at how detailed the badge is as well. ASLA did write the book for this badge and it's a good way to build up some awareness of landscape architecture in the community, and "get them while their young," if you will. We had more on the merit badge and the 2005 Scout Jamboree in last week's LAND:

    Thanks again!
    Dave Connell

  • Alexander Trevi
  • August 19, 2005 at 4:37:00 PM CDT
  • Oh no, THANK YOU, Dave! For the article and the LAND piece, which I failed to notice for some silly reason, I'm sure. And for Dirt. I'm a big fan.

    I wonder if ASLA has any figures whatsoever on merit badge recipients entering landscape architecture programs. I'm guessing they would be amongst the few who come to LA directly and not from some other field.

    I wonder also if P. George Bush finally learned about LA from those scouts at the Jamboree. If so, way to go ASLA.

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