Using Plants Map for Eagle Scout and troop service projects

I am very pleased to share that since we started Plants Map, we have seen a steady increase in the amount of senior-level Boy Scouts and Girls Scouts using our tools to help them attain a merit badge in their scouting careers.  Many of them are working toward their Eagle Scout status or Gold Award project. We also have troop leaders contact us about their troop using Plants Map for a community service project as well.

I have replied to many Scouts or their leaders with a similar email to answer their questions and get them off to a good start. I thought I should post some of the most frequently asked questions and answers and use Eagle Scouts in the example, but this also would work for a Girl Scout Gold Award Project too.

How fast can you make tags or signs for my trail project?

By far, the most frequently asked question has been, “How fast can you make tags or signs for my trail project?” I’ve learned that the deadline for an Eagle Scout rank is timed with the Scout’s birthday and that there is often a rush to finish a project at the last minute.

The short answer to that is we make tags every day. If your plant pages have been created and you send an order, we’ll normally send a proof the same day or the next day. After edits are made, if any, once we have a final approved proof, we normally print and ship the following day. Shipping typically takes 3-4 days.

Learn more about Adding Plants and ordering tags using our My Tags process.

Once the project is finished, can the completed profile be passed to the troop or other entity?

Yes, organization profiles on Plants Map are perfectly suited for groups or multiple individuals to be involved. Using the “Network” feature on an organization page, a Scout can easily turn over a project to another entity, group, or individual. The organization profile can then be maintained by the park, another civic organization, the troop leader, etc. to make updates or for use in future projects.

In some instances, the troop leaders make a sign in and begin the organization profile and work with the troop offline to complete their plant list and the plant identification stories. They then upload the plants, stories, and photos for the troop. In other cases, the troop leader begins the organization and adds the participating scouts to the network to directly add plants, edit the plants and add photos (please see our Terms of Use for age eligibility).

Another reason to use an organization profile is so that the profile, as well as the signs and tags, can be maintained in the future. This is especially true if you are going to attach the signs to mature trees as they will need future adjustments on a regular basis.

Learn more about Adding an Organization to get started.

See examples of profiles started by Scouts:

Can I make a trail or identification map?

Plants Map tools allow you to easily map a tree trail, a wildflower trail, or plants within a garden, park, or landscape.

Most Eagle Scouts that have contacted us have been working on projects related to trail maps where trees need to be identified with signage that links to a webpage about the tree.

You can either map the plants as you are entering them on Plants Map to begin your tag order or after you receive them and begin to place them in the landscape.

Learn more about what you can map on Plants Map.

See examples of profiles with trail maps:

How do we get started? 

Here is a typical workflow for a Scout or troop service project built with Plants Map:

  1. Permission from the location or organization has been granted for you to use Plants Map for the Eagle Scout tree or plant identification project.
  2. Perform a quick search at the top of our Explore page or using or Map page to make sure a profile has not already been started for your project location. If one has already been started, after you make a sign-up, choose Connect to join their network to begin your project.
  3. Sign up for a Plants Map individual profile (please see our Terms of Use for age eligibility).
  4. Add a new “Organization profile” for the landscape, garden, park or trail using their name (ie: Ni River Park).
  5. In the description, write a paragraph or two about the organization and then edit the profile with a map location, a profile, and cover photo and contact information.
  6. Add plants to the organization profile.

At this point, you have two options.

1) If you need the tags in a short amount of time we suggest entering the basic information needed to begin your plant list and tag order. Fill in the title, and the fields for botanical name, common name, family name (if applicable). You can return to edit the plants with more details, map location, photos later. If you are really pressed for time and have more than 30 plants to identify and tag, we can upload a plant list. After the organization profile has been created email us a spreadsheet of your plants letting us know what profile to upload them to.

2) Take as long as you want to enter the plants, story identification, photos, map location, etc and then proceed with your order when you are satisfied with your plant stories.

Learn more about Adding Plants and ordering tags using our My Tags process.

Place your order via My Tags

Once the plants have been added, use the My Tags system to begin your order, edit the lines of text for your tags or signs and then submit your order.

We then email back a visual proof of the order for you to review and approve.  Once the proof is approved we send an invoice to you and begin preparing your order. Shipping typically takes 3-4 days.

When your tags and signs arrive, install them in the locations with the matching trees and plants.

Best Practices:

Before your tags are in place or as soon as you place them, begin to fill in as much detail as you have for the plant.

Add your photos and caption them. Photos of different aspects of the plant help with identification such as an overall photo of the plant and close up photos of the bark, the leaves, the flowers, etc.

You may organize your project into a collection if future projects may be added to the profile.

Once you are finished, you can pass ownership of the profile or grant access to other individuals to make updates and continue to add updates to the profile, the plants, and collections.

Learn more about Adding Plants and Collections.

Next Steps:

If you added a new organization and want to provide access to others or add a new owner, have them start their own individual profile(s) on Plants Map and instruct them to visit the organization profile page and click the “Connect” button on the profile page.

You will receive an email asking you to approve their connection request to join the network.

If you want them to be able to edit the profile, set their permission level to “Administrator.”

If they should be connected, but you don’t want them to be able to edit anything, set the permission level to “Connection.”

To change ownership, send us an email instructing as to which connected profile should become the new owner.

Learn more about the network feature of an organization profile.

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