July Cub Scout Roundtable Issue
Volume 7, Issue 12
Webelos Naturalist & Forester
Northwester Suburban Council
Ten-year-old boys and trees are natural companions.
To these boys a tree is good for climbing, swinging from or building a
tree house. Through the Forester
Activity Badge it is hoped that the boys' appreciation for tress may be
expanded. In earning the badge,
the boy may learn how trees grow, or how to identify them., or how to plant
and care for them. Hopefully, he
will learn how important a role they play as one of our natural resources.
125,000 forest fires are started each year by careless people.
The Webelos Scouts should learn how to prevent becoming a part of that
statistic. Later, when he becomes
a Scout, the boy may wish to continue the study of trees with a Forestry Merit
Badge. It is certain he will
spend a lot of time in the woods; hiking, camping and adventuring.
This is just the beginning of his lifelong friendship with trees.
He should learn not to use his knife or axe on live trees; the
difference between green and dry wood; and which is best for campfires.
If this is the only badge you are working on and you want
to have something for the boys to be doing on their own, suggest a leaf sample
collection where they collect a leaf, a sample of the seed, and if possible, a
piece of the bark. Lay them out
on a sheet of paper and glue them down with white glue.
Then they can write the name and description of the tree and the
location and date the sample was collected.
Make sure the leaves are pressed first.
Another project you can do with trees is to check
pollution from the book Science Projects in Pollution by Seymore Simon.
This also will work with the April theme “Pollution
Coat two index cards with a thin coat of Vaseline. Pin
one of the cards to the trunk of a large tree. Pin the other
card to a near-by place that is not shielded from above
by leaves. After a few days remove the cards and examine
them with a magnifying glass. Which card has more
pollution particles and do the particles on one card differ from
those on the other card? What does this show?
With a den of boys this can be done over an entire
neighborhood, and a pollution chart of the neighborhood can be
drawn up to show where high pollution areas are.
IDEAS FOR DEN MEETINGS:
1. Collect leaves for identification. Boys could mount
them or make leaf prints.
2. Bring a log to den meeting or find a tree stump and
have the boys count the annual rings to determine the
age of the tree. See if they can tell something about the
kind of weather -dry or wet spells -- through
which the tree lived by looking at the rings.
3. Visit a lumber yard or saw mill. A local lumber dealer
can help the boys by furnishing wood samples for
4. Check the local forester about advice on planting
projects and seedlings.
5. Plant a tree.
6. Make a tree survey in your area.
7. Ask a fireman or forest ranger to tell the boys about
wildfire and how to control it.
8. Teach the boys to measure tree diameter and height.
9. Check with a local conservationist for advice on
planting project and seedlings.
10. For a long-term project, adopt a tree and keep a
diary on it. Measure its girth, estimate its height, record
when it buds, when it loses its leaves, and other
11. Make a tree identification kit for your den from
strips of bark, leaves or needles and cones or seeds.
Forester Activity Badge is part of the Outdoor group.
The Webelos will learn how to identify the trees around them, how trees
grow, and how to prevent forest fires. A
forester deals with the care and growing of trees and a Webelos Scout working
on his Forester Activity Badge will learn how to recognize different species
of trees by their shape, foliage, bark, and types of wood, as well as how they
live and grow. A forester must
learn how to do a great variety of things as well as know many facts about
trees. Some of his tasks are
making tree inventories, estimating the lumber content in standing timber,
surveying, logging, and marking of trees for harvesting.
He is interested in woodland conservation and learns how to preserve
and protect them from fire and disease. A
forester must have excellent health and a love of the outdoors.
To make boys more observant and appreciative of trees.
To instill the idea of conservation in Webelos.
To teach boys the value and uses of trees.
To make Webelos aware of devastation due to wildlife.
To Go And What To Do
Visit a lumberyard, a sawmill, or a tree farm.
Spend a den meeting teaching Webelos how to measure tree
Contact a local tree service and see if you can arrange to have
them watch a crew in action.
Plant saplings in the spring as a conservation project.
Find a tree stump or log section and count the annular rings.
As you study them, can you tell what years were poor ones for growth,
perhaps because of draught?
Make a collection of leaf prints.
For a long-term project, adopt a tree and keep a diary on it.
Measure its girth, estimate its height, record when it buds, when it
looses its leaves, and other interesting things.
Make a tree identification kit for your den from strips of bark,
leaves, or needles and cones or seeds.
We sometimes forget just how important trees are in our
Provide fuel, furniture, paper, wax, cork, oils, gums, rubber, syrup,
nuts and fruits.
Give shade, beauty, and relief for the drabness of concrete.
Make it cooler in the summer with their shade and warmer in the winter
by serving as a windbreak.
Provide homes and shelter for birds, which in turn help reduce insect
Make an area more attractive and appealing and so it increases property
Screen impurities, trap the dust in the air.
Help prevent soil erosion.
Provide a barrier that helps screen out noise.
Properly placed, they can reduce traffic noise up to 60%.
Put oxygen in the air.
Produce humidity and cut the smog.
Are our principal air conditioners.
The cooling effect of a healthy tree is equivalent to 10 room-size air
conditioners operating 20 hours a day.
In state and national forest, provide recreational retreat for millions
Collecting seeds and nuts is a natural activity in the
fall. However, a collector often
overlooks many seeds because they are small or hard to recognize.
An entertaining way to collect some hard to find seeds is to take a
sock walk. Previously unnoticed
seeds will be easily collected and as a bonus, one method of seed dispersal
will become very obvious. Things
You Can Use: Long socks with fuzzy outer surfaces to which seeds will stick
(i.e. adult knee socks).
Dress each Webelos in knee high socks.
Go for a walk through a densely vegetated area.
An empty lot overgrown with weeds would be excellent.
Return to your meeting place and look at the socks!
Then take them off.
Wet the entire sock, and place it in a cake pan placed on a slant.
Fill the lower portion of the pan with water so that the sock remains
Put the pan in a warm place and watch the seeds sprout.
Want To Do More?
Pull the seeds off the socks.
Sort and place them into cups by species.
Allow them to dry. Divide
each cup of seeds in half. Place
one half in a freezer for 2 weeks. This
is to simulate winter. Some
plants won’t grow without freezing. Next,
plant seeds from both halves in “seedbed”.
Take sock walks at different seasons.
Which seeds are harder to remove?
Do some hurt you? Can
animals help seeds find new places to grow?
Glue samples on cards to develop a seed collection.
Repot sprouts and grow them to full size.
What other ways does nature have of spreading seeds around (e.g. winged
seeds-by-wind, berry seeds-by birds)? Plants
with fur carried seeds need animals to make sure they are widely spread.
Do you think the plants do something to help animals in return (provide
Dry Leaf Collections-Put each leaf between a separate
sheet of newspaper. Put several
fold of newspaper on top of and underneath the sheets you are using to press
the leaves. Put something heavy
on top until the leaves are pressed out and dry.
a leaf on the table with vein side up. Put
a clean sheet of paper on top of it. Hold
the leaf in place with your hand and make parallel strokes back and forth over
the leaf with your crayon until the print shows on your paper.
Prints-Put a leaf, vein side down, on your inkpad.
Cover it with a piece of newspaper and rub your hand back and forth
over it. Then put the leaf, ink
side down, on a clean sheet of paper. Put
a newspaper over it again and rub.
Leaves-Melt paraffin in a double boiler.
When it is melted, turn off the heat.
Dip one leaf at a time into the melted wax.
Shake off the extra drops of wax into the pan.
Hold the leaf until the wax hardens, then lay it on waxed paper.
Using this method, you can get the leaves in their green color, or the
brilliant colors of autumn.
Wood Would You Use?
Match the products on the left to the appropriate tree on
Baseball bats, tool handles
Furniture, lumber, barrels
Paper, soft lumber (derby cars)
Bowling alley lanes
Lumber for outdoor decks
The Height Of Trees
Some Native Americans had a very interesting way of
doing this. To see how high a
tree was, they would find a spot where, looking under their legs, they could
just see the top of the tree. The
distance from such a spot to the base of the tree was approximately the height
of the tree. Why does this work?
The reason is quite simple. For
a normal, healthy adult, the angle formed by looking under one’s legs is
approximately 45 degrees. Hence,
the distance to the tree must be around the same as the height of the tree.
Empty, clean ½ gallon milk carton
Black, brown, or gray paint
Lots of twigs
Glue gun or tacky glue
String or fishing line
Measure and mark 3-inches from the bottom all around the
empty milk carton. Cut into two
pieces, saving both the top and the bottom.
Cut a two-inch circle in the middle front of the top
piece. Cut the bottom piece down
to 1-inch high. Put some glue on
all four sides of the bottom piece on the outside.
Push the bottom piece into the bottom of the top piece, making a new
base for the milk carton. Glue
pour spout closed. Paint the
outside of the milk carton in a dark color.
This will help the spaces you will have between the sticks and help
them blend in. Set aside to dry.
of thin, straight sticks. Thicker
sticks will go faster but you may need a handsaw or pruning sheers to cut
sticks to size. Thinner sticks
can be broken to size.
Poke a hole through the middle of the top ridge.
Push string or line through the hole to hang the birdhouse.
Break or cut sticks to cover the bottom and all sides
working around the hole cut in the center front.
Glue them into place. Glue
a small stick under the hole for a perch.
Cut or brake sticks for the roof.
Glue into place. Glue
stick to cover the top of ridge.
Make a collection of various types of tree limbs cut in
cross-sections. These show
heartwood, growth rings, cambium layer and bark.
Do not cut these from live trees, but from limbs that have fallen off.
If green, allow to dry in a warm place for several weeks.
Saw the ends squarely and retain the bark.
Then cut them crosswise, lengthwise, and slanting to show all the
features of the wood. Sandpaper
your specimens, then brush on shellac.
Tape And Cruising Stick
Foresters use cruising sticks to measure a tree’s
diameter and height. These facts
are essential in figuring the amount of wood in a tree.
Cut a strip of flexible paper or cardboard about ½ inch wide and 45 inches
long. Begin at one end of the
paper strip and make ink markings 3.14 inches on tape equals 1 inch of tree
diameter. To measure tree
diameter, wrap tape around tree at chest height, about 4 ½ feet above ground.
The diameter of the tree in inches will be at the mark nearest where
the tape over-laps the zero end.
Tree Height: Glue
a strip of hard paper or cardboard on one side of a yardstick.
Begin at one end and make marks 6.16 inches apart with ink.
Label the first mark 1, the second 2, and so on.
To measure tree height, stand 66 feet from it.
Hold arm horizontally and the stick vertically at arm’s reach –
about 25-inches from the eyes. Slide
stick up or down until the top of the stick is in line with the top of the
tree. Without moving, sight
bottom of tree (be sure stick is still vertical) and see the place on the
stick where line of sight crosses it. The
nearest figure is the number of 16-foot lengths in the tree.
If the figure is 2, there are two 16-foot lengths, so the tree is 32
A Tree – A Joy Forever
Planting a tree can be a personal thing to beautify
your own property or it can be an excellent gift to a school, church, park,
retirement home, or many other worthwhile places.
In Planting A Shade Tree
Select the tree and decide when and where to plant it.
Protect the root from drying. Unpack
a bare-root tree immediately and place it in a bucket of water or thin mud.
Do not plant with packing material attached to roots.
Dig a hole large enough to hold the entire root system without
Make certain that drainage from the hole is good.
Planting-holes must be drained for trees to grow satisfactorily.
Cut off one half inch of the ends of the roots to expose live root
tissue. Prune the top of the tree
as needed to compensate for roots lost in digging and moving.
Consult a nurseryman or a good tree manual before starting to prune.
This is a skill, and care should be taken to control and shape growth
and to protect tree health by eliminating dead, diseased, and injured wood.
Put some fertile soil in the hole.
Set the tree in the hole no deeper than it was at its original site.
Install support stakes. One
to three wooden stakes usually will support trees that have a trunk diameter
of no more than two inches. The
wooden stakes should be 6 to 8 feet long and strong enough to hold the trunk
rigidly in place.
Cover the roots with fertile soil, tamping it or settling it with
water. Pour protective mulch,
such as wood chips or peat moss around the base after water has soaked in.
Wrap the trunk with a protective covering such as burlap, cloth strips,
or paper. Don’t use
Fasten the trunk to the stakes with canvas tape or loops of wire passed
through a section of rubber or plastic hose or similar material.
Care for the tree after planting.
Water well and Stand
Back And Be Proud!
A tree has three main parts.
The roots anchor it in the ground and absorb water and minerals from
the soil. The trunk and branches
carry sap and lift the leaves into the sunlight.
The leaves are the food factories of the tree.
A tree grows higher and wider by lengthening its twigs
and branches at the tips. At the
ends of the twigs, the terminal buds are continually adding new cells.
Meanwhile, the twigs, branches, and trunk grow thicker.
Most trees have a section called the cambium, which is a
layer of cells where the growth in diameter occurs.
Every year the layer of cambium between the sapwood and the inner bark
adds a layer of new cells to the older wood.
Each layer forms a ring. By
counting these rings you can tell the age of a tree.
Water and dissolved minerals travel up from the roots to
the leaves in the new layer of wood inside the cambium.
This part of the trunk is called sapwood.
Other sap carries plant food down from the leaves through a layer
inside the bark.
As the tree grows, the older sapwood stiffens and loses
connection with the leaves. Then
it just stores water, and finally, it becomes solid heartwood.
While the cambium makes the tree trunk and its branches
grow in size, the leaves produce the food, which builds the tissues of the
tree. Using the energy from the
sunlight, the green coloring matter in the leaves (called chlorophyll) takes
carbon dioxide out of the air. It
combines the carbon dioxide with water and dissolved minerals from the roots
to form sugars and starches.
FIRES--We Must Protect Our Forests!
Life is short. Forest
animals lives are in our hands. When
the trees and grass grow dry as timber, don’t leave burning embers at a
campground. Even contained fires
can quickly get out of hand and grow like fury.
A few smoldering twigs can become a rampaging blaze.
A single careless toss can turn the forest world into wholesale horror.
Fire destroys burrows, nests, seeds, roots, hunting territories, mating
grounds, and LIFE.
It takes no more than one fool to start a fire.
It often takes an army of cool heads to put one out.
Man is responsible for 58% of all forest fires, and about 1/3 of that
number are set on purpose. People
who use the woods for recreation are responsible for 1/3 of all forest fires
Learn How To
Use Fires Safely – Or Stay Home!
Lightning causes many forest fires too, but when it
strikes it often happens on top of a hill, where the temperature is cooler,
the fuel supply is sparse, and the flames are more easily spotted.
Animals caught in a forest fire can’t outrun the
flames. Think about them on your
next trip, and rake the ashes of your campfire extra carefully.
You’ll be glad you did and so will the animals.
A surface fire burns along the floor of the forest.
It is usually slow moving and close to the ground, but it can spread
fast. It kills small trees and
will permanently damage larger trees. Most fires are this type.
A ground fire burns on or below the forest floor.
Lightning often starts these fires.
They move slowly, and often go undetected for weeks.
They are hard to put out. The
heat they create beneath the ground destroys the trees’ roots and any chance
A crown fire moves faster than most people can run!
These fires often start as surface fires, and are blown by wind into
the tree crowns. Fir forests are
especially vulnerable. The
needles and cones catch fire easily and quickly.
A grove of trees “topping out” in this way is doomed.
A fire has to be fed or it dies.
If you want to kill one fast, cut off its supplies: heat, fuel, and
air. The main elements which
influence the spread of fire are fuel (such as dry grasses, dead leaves,
brush, small trees, logs, top soil); weather (wind, moisture, and
temperature); and slope.
(Tune: Rock A Bye Baby)
Out in the forest, under the tree,
See the scouts trekking, finding species.
This tree’s familiar, this one is not.
Oh no, don’t touch that bush, or you’ll get spots!
Slide – Walnut Squirrel
This adorable little fellow will make a cute tie slide.
To make the squirrel, glue two walnuts together – one in an upright
position for the body (pointed end up), and the other in a horizontal position
(pointed end toward front) for the head.
Bend 1” pieces of pipe cleaners into V’s for ears: invert and glue
to the head. Glue on tiny plastic
or bead eyes ands a small black dot with felt maker for his nose.
Glue on several short pieces of black thread for whiskers.
Add a loop on the back for the slide.
Each arm is a 3 ½” piece of pipe cleaner, folded in
half and bent at the elbow. Glue
arms to the body and glue a peanut between the paw.
Shape a 7 ½” pieces of pipe cleaner, as shown, for each leg; glue to
the body. Fold a pipe cleaner,
for the tail and glue to the body. Tie
a bright yarn or ribbon bow around his neck
Materials found in Baloo's
Bugle may be used by Scouters for Scouting activities provided that
Baloo's Bugle and the original contributors are cited as the source of the
Materials found at the U. S. Scouting Service Project, Inc. Website
©1997-2002 may be reproduced and used locally by Scouting volunteers for
training purposes consistent with the programs of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA)
or other Scouting and Guiding Organizations. No material found here may be used
or reproduced for electronic redistribution or for commercial or other non-Scouting purposes without the express
permission of the U. S. Scouting Service Project, Inc. (USSSP) or other
copyright holders. USSSP is not affiliated with BSA and does not speak on behalf
of BSA. Opinions expressed on these web pages are those of the web authors.