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  • Writer's pictureAmy Felder

Merit Badges

In today’s world of video games, SMART phones, television, computers, and social media, it is easy to lose touch with nature (Anderson and Guyas, 2012). As a result, many people do not realize how their lives, actions and choices are impacting the environment. Or if they do know, they do not seem to care, at least not enough to make changes in their lifestyles to reduce their carbon footprints. Fortunately, though, this is not true for everyone. Artists, scientists, educators, researchers and other concerned community members are uniting together to explore the potential of art and art education to positively impact humanity’s current harmful relationship with the earth. For example, “a mixed group of community members, university students, camp counselors, artists, and ecologists” joined with Gradle (2008) in a study that examined the potential of art to cultivate ecology (p. 6). By providing opportunities for people to experience nature, raising awareness of environmental issues and moving people to take steps toward restoring balance, an ecology-based art education could change the world.

My meticulously hand-embroidered merit badges reframe and modernize the traditional "Leave No Trace" ideals to provoke discussion about socially responsible practices.

Which merit badges would you earn?

What merit badges would you like to see?

Do you believe art can change the world?

I look forward to reading your comments below!


Anderson, T., & Guyas, A. S. (2012). Earth education, interbeing, and deep ecology. Studies in Art

Education: A Journal of Issues and Research in Art Education, 53(3), 223-245.

Gradle, S. A. (2008). When vines talk: Community, art, and ecology. Art Education, 61(6), 6-12.

Image credit: Merit Badges: Clockwise from top left: I Leave No Trace, I Do Not Feed Wildlife, I Do Not Cause Wildfires, and I Do Not Pick Wildflowers, 2020 | Embroidery floss on fabric

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