Merit Badge University Creates Learning Environment for Scouts and CNR Volunteers

hands-on fisheries excercise

Graduate student leads Scout in hands-on exercise to earn Fisheries & Wildlife Management merit badge.

Contributors: Aletta Davis and Christi Standley

It was a cold and windy day, rain threatened on the horizon, but about 150 hardy Boy Scouts were found roaming throughout NC State University’s campus and properties, learning and working hard to earn merit badges in science-based subjects. Held March 26 this year, NCSU Merit Badge University is a one-day event hosted by several colleges and departments for local Boy Scouts.

The College of Natural Resources provided the curriculum and resources for a great group of dedicated Boy Scouts to earn their choice of five badges: Fisheries & Wildlife Management, Environmental Science, Pulp & Paper, Forestry, and Soil & Water Conservation.  To offer this fabulous experience, numerous faculty, staff, and students (undergraduate and graduate) joined together to plan and lead the Scouts through a variety of requirements needed for each of these badges. For instance, fourteen NCSU faculty, staff and students, along with several Boy Scout volunteers, served as instructors and guides at Schenck Forest, the site of the Forestry and Soil & Water Conservation merit badge activities.

Goldfarb leads group

Forestry and Environmental Resources Department Head, Barry Goldfarb, gathers the Scouts before their next exercise.

Spending the day teaching the Boy Scouts about these fields of interest was rewarding for all involved, especially having the opportunity to observe intelligent, curious scouts who are full of energy and interested in learning new things.  Seeing Scouts who were ‘repeat attenders’ this year is a strong indication of the success of Merit Badge University.  Aletta Davis, graduate student and lab manager in the college, recalled her experience helping with this event over the past two years, saying, “I’m always amazed at the Scouts’ willingness to participate in hands-on learning exercises while working together to help each other earn these badges. I’ve learned a lot from working with the Boy Scouts and, I hope, in turn, they’ve learned a little bit about my field of interest, soils. ”

soil demonstration

Aletta Davis, center, leading the Scouts through a demonstration about soil properties.

A special thanks to Tiffany McLean, CNR Director of Enrollment Management, for organizing CNR’s contribution to NCSU Merit Badge University, as she did a fabulous job of planning and organizing this event in every detailed way, even including tracking down a freezer of frozen fish stomachs!

Partners in Preservation: Students and Faculty Join Wake County for Learning and Stewardship

– submitted by Meghan Lobsinger and George Hess

Beautiful day to be out outside, learning and helping WakeNatureOn Friday September 10 – a beautiful, blue-sky morning – a handful of College of Natural Resources students and faculty traveled to eastern Wake County to learn about Piedmont prairies and help remove invasive, exotic plant species as part of a prairie restoration project.  Staff from Wake County’s Division of Parks, Recreation, and Open Space joined them at the County-owned area of some 220 acres that is slated to become the first WakeNature Preserve later this year.

John Stucky explaining to students the significance of the plant species found on the site

John Stucky explaining to students the significance of the plant species found on the site

Co-chaired by College of Natural Resources faculty members George Hess and Toddi Steelman, the WakeNature Preserves Partnership brings together NC State University faculty and students, and natural resource and park system professionals from various state, county, municipal, and non-profit agencies.  Their goal: identify and steward the finest natural areas in Wake County for everyone to enjoy.

WakeNature has become a rich platform for student and faculty involvement and learning.  Several classes have participated in WakeNature-related projects, bringing real-world experiences to graduate and undergraduate students.  Numerous workdays, like the one on September 10, have provided additional opportunities for students to learn and interact with other professionals in the field.  Recently, members of the Leopold Wildlife Club have expressed an interest in carrying out wildlife surveys for WakeNature.

Charles Rudder, Meghan Lobsinger and Adrian Zeck working together to remove exotic, invasive plants from the site

Charles Rudder, Meghan Lobsinger and Adrian Zeck working together to remove exotic, invasive plants from the site

WakeNature envisions a County-wide, cross-jurisdictional brand of “WakeNature Preserves” that highlights Wake County’s finest natural areas and raises public awareness and appreciation of these special places. Continued involvement of enthusiastic members of the NC State and College of Natural Resources communities is critical to attaining this vision.  There will be many opportunities to become involved in inventory and stewardship opportunities as the WakeNature network expands.  We hope you’ll join us!

Please visit for more information.

Meghan Lobsinger is a graduate student in the Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources and a program assistant with Wake County Division of Parks, Recreation & Open Space.

George Hess is an associate professor in the Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources and the co-chair of WakeNature

Study Shows Race, Not Experience, Impacts Hiring In Sports World

Heidi GrappendorfNEWS RELEASE – July 7, 2010
For More Information:
Caroline Barnhill  /  News Services  / 919.515.6251
Dr. Heidi Grappendorf  /  919.513.0060

If you want to get your foot in the door of the sports industry, your race may mean more than your experience. That’s the major result of a new study from North Carolina State University that examined hiring decisions for entry-level sports management positions.

“Previous research has shown that management positions in the sports industry continue to be dominated by white males – and that a prejudice against blacks in managerial positions exists because of a perceived ‘lack of fit’ between being black and being a manager or leader,” explains Dr. Heidi Grappendorf, assistant professor of parks, recreation and tourism management at NC State. “We wanted to find out – when all other factors were considered equal – what  impact  race had on hiring for entry-level sports management positions.”

In the study, researchers created one-page resumes for fictitious job applicants. The resumes  all included identical work and education experience, but changed factors such as race, sex and previous participation as an athlete. The results showed resumes with traditional black names rated significantly lower than their white counterparts in terms of overall likeability, competency and likelihood of being hired.

The study showed male athletes benefit most from having an athletic background – as they have been evaluated as more competent for upper-level positions when compared to male non-athletes, female athletes and female non-athletes with identical athletic qualifications. While white male athletes did not receive significantly higher ratings than the other applicants (i.e., both blacks and whites), they did receive the highest ratings of all groups in both hiring and competence ratings.

“Our findings indicated that for black males and females, athletic participation provided no advantage in hiring recommendations,” Grappendorf says. “Clearly, athletic participation is not ‘superseding’ race. This contradicts previous findings indicating that the athletic role could be beneficial in the hiring process.”

Grappendorf and fellow researchers Laura Burton, from the University of Connecticut, and Angela Henderson, from the University of Northern Colorado, recently presented their findings at the 2010 North American Society of Sport Management Conference.

NC State’s Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management is part of the university’s College of Natural Resources.


Note to editors: The study abstract follows.

“Examining the Influence of Race, Gender, and Athletic Participation on Hiring Preferences in Sport Management”

Authors: Heidi Grappendorf, North Carolina State University; Laura Burton, University of Connecticut; and Angela Henderson, University of Northern Colorado

Presented: June 3, 2010, North American Society of Sport Management Conference in Tampa, Fla.

Abstract: Lapchick (2008), in the Racial and Gender Report Card that reports the hiring practices of women and people of color in leading sports organizations, reported that representation of racial minorities at NCAA institutions declined in comparison to previous report cards. In addition, the majority of general managers, senior administrators, and professional administrators in major league sports continue to be dominated by White males (Lapchick). Overall, there exists significant racial inequality in the general United States labor market (Bertrand & Mullainathan, 2004). Studies have shown that when employers were faced with a White and a Black applicant who share similar educational backgrounds and work experience, the White applicant was more likely to be chosen for employment and that employer prejudice or the perception of race may signal lower productivity of the Black applicants (Bertrand & Mullainathan). Prejudice can arise from the relations that people perceive between the characteristics of members of a social group and the requirements of the social roles that group members occupy (Eagly & Karau, 2002). When perceivers hold a stereotype about a social group that is incongruent with the attributes that are thought to be required for success in certain classes of social roles, a potential for prejudice exists. These stereotypes may potentially affect how males and females perceive Blacks in management and could even impact how they are judged once they enter the workforce.