Volume 6 Issue 9
April 2000


Craft--Bird Call
San Francisco Bay Area Council

Take a piece of close grained hardwood, a dowel rod from the hardwood store will do fine, about two inches long. You will also need a 'chunky' eye screw purchased at the same hardware store. Drill a hole slightly smaller than the screw threads, in the end of the block, and turn the screw eye into it. Unscrew the eye, put some powdered resin ) purchase a pitcher's resin bag at the sports store) in the hole. As you twist the screw eye back and forth in the hole, very slowly, you will make a chirp-chirp or trill in loud.
With practice, this simple device will produce an astounding variety of bird noises. If you wish, paint or decorate the bird call with marking pen designs or your own initials or other means of identification.


Donations to a Bird's Nest
Greater Detroit Area Council

Everyone needs a home, including the birds that fly around your neighborhood. Here is a way to help them find materials for building their nests.


Strips of string, fabric and yarn
Wire hanger
Piece of wide mesh material such as an orange or potato bag from the grocery store

  1. Bend your wire hanger into a square or rectangular shape
  2. Attach the mesh material to it. If you use a potato sack, simply drape the bag over the hanger. If you use other material, tie it on with string or glue into place.
  3. Loosely weave yarn, fabric strips and string through mesh
  4. In early spring, hang your nest building helper in a tree near your window. Watch as the neighborhood birds flock to it to choose the materials they need.

Take a neighborhood walk after your hanger has been emptied. See how many nests you can find that contain your material scraps. Remember that a bird's nest is its home, so be careful not to trespass.

Collecting Animals Tracks
Miami Valley Council

When you're hiking across fields, along streams or in the woods, watch for animal tracks. Footprints that have been marked clearly in the dirt or mud can be easily preserved.

With a small brush carefully clean any loose dirt from the tracks.

Select a tin can that will fit over the track with some space to spare around the edge. You can also use a cardboard or metal band held together with a paper clip or clothespin to form a collar.

Coat the inside of the can with a heavy coat of Vaseline. You would also do this with the collar.

Fill a small paper cup 1/3 to 1/2 full of water. Add enough plaster to the water to absorb most of the water. Mix. It should be a thin cream.

Put can or collar around track, then pour the plaster mixture onto the track about 1" deep.

Do not touch or move the cast until you are sure it is completely dry. It will take 1/2 to 1 hour. Remove the plaster cast from the can or collar and label it.

(Another way to study animal tracks is to use molds to make casts. Check with your local Natural History to see if they have molds available.)


Friendship Stick
San Francisco Bay Area

It is exciting to learn about animals, birds, insects, flowers, trees, soil, weather, water, and stars. Nature is everywhere all the time; in cities, in the woods, and in the fields, in the winter, spring, summer and fall. Nature is not confined by time and place, it is everywhere. The following craft idea will help you, the Cub Scout Leader, explore nature with your den.

The friendship stick is made of green wood and is a symbol of friendship. It is curved to fit the curve of the earth, symbolizing that friendship can grow just as the trees in the forest grow. The green circle at the bottom is for Faith in God and one another. It is the first ring on the stick because it is the basis of a happy, meaningful life.

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The next four circles represent the races of the world-red, yellow white and black. They stand close together indicating that all people are equal. Every person is capable of being a loyal friend.
The green of Hope is above the races. This is the hope of the future-that everywhere people will try to overcome any difference of opinion and human failing.

Thus the four races are bound by faith and hope, the path leading toward a central goal signifying the attachment of this unity.

The Cross and Star of David are symbols of the way for all races to come together and work for world peace.

The smiling face is the result of Friendship based on Faith, Hope and Unity. To be greeted by the smiling face of a friend is one of the greatest joys which can be experienced.

The face is crowned with green of the forest, symbolizing the wonderful outdoors, and the friendships developed therein.

A friendship stick must be carved by the giver. It shows time, thought and effort.

Prepare a friendship stick for each boy in the den. When you present the sticks, read the symbolism to them.

Then furnish each boy with a green stick, uncarved, and ask him to carve his own story in the stick. He can paint the symbols which he feel are appropriate to the story. When he is finished, he can show his stick to the den and tell what the symbols represent.

Adopt A Tree Project
San Francisco Bay Area

Make friends with a tree. This is a long-term activity and can be an individual or den project.

Select a tree that appeals to you. It should be near your home so there can be daily contact, finding out what is going on in, under, and around the tree. Select more than one tree to compare the action in each type of tree.

  • With notebook in hand, visit the adopted tree.
  • Describe the tree as it is right now, today.
  • Look at its physical characteristics (size, leaf shape, bark color and other features).
  • Look to see whether it is alive. How can you tell?
  • Look to see if it appears to be asleep (dormant) or awake. How can you tell?
  • Listen to find out if it makes any sounds.
  • Smell to find out whether it has an odor. Do different parts of the tree smell different - like bark, new leaves? Does it have a different smell at a different time of the year?
  • Think about how the tree got where it is and how new trees might come to join it.
  • Think about what other living things might need this tree for survival.
  • Think about what things the tree might need for its own survival.

Warning: Do not taste any part of the tree

  • Repeat visits throughout the year and compare observations.
  • Look to see how the tree has changed.
  • Look to see what ways the tree remains the same
  • Think and talk about what the tree might look like the next time you visit
  • Are there any animals calling your tree "home?"
  • Have you seen any bird nests?
  • Did the leaves turn colors before falling
  • Have you shared your tree with a friend?
  • Write a poem about your tree. Sketch a picture.
  • Keep your notebook and come back to the tree in years to come. It will be hard to say farewell.


During the Adopt the Tree program, take pictures of your scouts by their trees, perhaps during the changes in the seasons. The scouts can then compare how they change also during the seasons: spring, new blossoming; summer, fresh start; fall, showing all their colors, winter; gaining strength through the cold weather.

Celebrate (A Late) Arbor Day
York Adams Council

Activity Ideas

Plant a tree as part of an Arbor Day ceremony at school, a nearby park or along a city street.

Establish an area of plantings to attract birds or butterflies at the school or other nearby site.

Inventory trees which grow in your schoolyard, neighborhood, local park or nearby open space.

Adopt a tree, study it, maintain a diary of changes and observations.

Promote a community awareness campaign (posters, newspapers, articles, bumper stickers, etc.) to stem consumer demand for wood products from rainforests

Construct and place boxes for birds and mammals which use cavities for nesting or roosting.

Create a bird feeding station in the schoolyard or at home

Hold a special assembly to commemorate trees and wildlife as part of Arbor Day.

Contact the nearest Forest District Office to discuss local and state forest resource issues.

Link Arbor Day Earth Lesson to an Earth Project to create a Schoolyard Sanctuary.

Materials found in Baloo's Bugle may be used by Scouters for Scouting activities provided that USSSP, Baloo's Bugle and the original contributors are cited as the source of the material.

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