Greater St. Louis Area Council
No matter where you live, there is a world of undiscovered secrets of nature still waiting to be explored. A naturalist is a student of natural history that includes the many found in nature. The Naturalist activity badge is concerned mainly with plants or animals. This badge helps the Webelos Scouts learn about the world of nature and develop an appreciation for it.
A naturalist stands like Columbus on the prow of his ship with a vast continent before him except that the naturalist’s world can be at his feet…a world to be discovered. It could
be in the boy’s backyard, a nearby park, the woods, fields or even a country roadside. It is inhabited with many kinds of insects, birds, plants, animals, trees, and other forms of life.
A boy’s interest in this badge may lead him into a hobby or vocation. It will help him prepare for the new adventures in the world of nature which he will find in the Scout troop.
Pack and Den Ideas
- Make an insect study laboratory
- Make bird feeders of houses and observe the birds who use them
- Make terrariums
- Start a nature collection
- Invite a conservationist to visit den meeting and talk about some phase of nature
- Make a leaf collection… and some leaf prints
- Learn to identify poisonous plant and reptiles
- Take a bird watcher’s hike. Identify birds. Make note about location, species, etc.
- Make a bird migration map
- Study wildlife homes
- Collect tadpoles; keep in aquarium and watch them grow
- Make a list of all plants in a given area
- Take a nature hike and look for animal tracks. Make plaster casts of the tracks
- Make a net and go insect hunting for an insect zoo
- Visit the zoo.
- Observe fish at night. Put a flashlight in a plastic bag and seal it. Attach a string and place in a stream or lake. Watch the fish that are attracted to it.
Hiking with Bugs
Personnel: 6 Cubs (Cub 2 should be the smallest).
A tent set up as in the out of doors,
2 small flashlights.
Setting: 4 very tired and dirty Cubs, are scratching and examining their bites
CUB 1: Boy am I glad to be back from that hike. I'm tired.
CUB 2: The mosquitoes must have called up all of their relatives and told them we were coming. I've been eaten alive.
CUB 3: They said a day hike, not an all day hike. Not only were we out near the river, but we were out all day. Gave those critters too much of a chance to eat at me.
CUB 4: I feel the same way. I couldn't feel worse if I'd been run over by a semi-truck.
CUB 1: Bugs! Bugs everywhere. I wouldn't mind if they didn't itch so much.
CUB 3: The blisters don't hurt as much as the itch itches.
CUB 4: Those insects hadn't seen human being in years. Here put some of this on all the spots. (Boys pass around a first aid ointment. Little lights start flashing in the dark, use 2 boys waving small flashlights)
CUB 2: We'd better get inside our tent now! The bugs are out looking for us with flashlights.
You will need:
Prepared list of animals
- Divide the Den into two teams, which line up relay fashion.
- In front of each team is a large sheet of blank paper.
- On signal, the first boy on each team runs to a leader who whispers the name of an animal.
- The boy goes to the paper and draws his subject.
- When his team members recognize the animal he draws, the next player runs to tell the leader.
- If correct, that next player is given the name of another animal to draw.
- If not, the first boy continues his drawing until his team guesses right.
- Continue until all players have had a chance to draw.
Equipment: Construction paper; scissors
- Each person is given a cut-out piece of construction paper with the name of an animal (e.g. mouse; long tail).
- The group is them put into pairs so that, for example, a rooster and a giraffe are together.
- Each pair tries to figure out a name of their animammal (e.g. Giroosteraffe).
- Pairs can then set out to try and guess the names of other ani-mammals in the group.
Equipment: 1 ball, whistle
- The Group divides into two teams.
- Team A stands in a circle with one Scout in the center, holding the ball.
- Team B stands in line, like the tadpole's tail, coming from the middle.
- When the leader calls 'GO', the Cub in the center of the circle starts to throw the ball to his team, one by one. Meantime, the Scouts in Team B in turn run around the circle and back to their places.
- When the last Scout in Team B is back in his place, the leader blows the whistle and Team A stops.
- Team A says how many throws the Scout in the center has made and when the teams change places,
- Team B tries to beat Team A's score.
In addition to the insects listed with the requirement in the Webelos Scout book, beetles, caterpillars, and termites may also used. When setting up your “insect zoo” you should keep the following things in mind:
1. Make sure when collecting any of the suggested insects, that you collect and keep them during the months when there is plenty of food for them. During the winter months, it is difficult to keep them alive because the unavailability of natural food.
2. Care should be taken not to allow the “zoo” to become contaminated with uneaten food and waste materials.
3. If soil is used, it should be kept moist not wet- by sprinkling or spraying many times a day.
4. Make sure you do not overcrowd. Make a Terrarium- An old fish tank makes a great terrarium. It doesn’t matter if it leaks because you are not going to fill it with water. If you use an old fish tank, place a sheet of glass on top over rubber washers to allow air space between top and sides.
You can also make your own terrarium from window panes. Tape the panes together as a glass-sided box. Place this on a board and mark the outline of the glass sides. Cut ¼” groove in the board in which to set the sides. Tape a glass lid to the top on one side so that you can raise or lower it. Painting a scene on the back of the terrarium adds much to its appearance. You could cut appropriate scenes from a magazine and paste them on. Paint or paste scenes on the outside of the terrarium so that your pet will not scratch it off and ruin it.
Mosses are good plants to collect for terrariums.
Make sure you put enough water in the terrarium to prevent the moss from drying out.
It is every bit as important, that you do not put too much water in the terrarium or the plants will die from being rotted my molds and other fungal organisms.
Many kinds of grasses can be used in terrariums. Many times, the unusual or larger kinds of wild plants do not survive in a terrarium because the root may be injured during transplanting, or too much water, too rich soil, or too warm of temperature.
Frogs, toads, salamanders, and lizards are easy animal to keep in a terrarium (Toads do exude an offensive odor). Common insects can be placed in the terrarium with these animals for food.
- Have someone cut out a bunch of different insect pictures and mount them on paper to hang around the Pack Meeting room. (Make sure you know the names of the different bugs.)
- Label the pictures with letters or numbers.
- Hand out sheets of paper with the names of the different bugs listed in a mixed up order.
- Ask people to match the pictures with the names.
- After the opening ceremony, read off the answers and ask everyone how they did.
- Give an appropriate cheer/applause to the one(s) who got the most matches.
Rare Bird Facts
Fill in the correct answer(s).
1. What is the fastest flying bird?
2. How high can birds fly?
3. What is the Nebraska State (Insert your state, please)Bird?
4. What bird has become extinct in the last 75 years?
5. Why do all birds build nests?
6. Name three "major league" birds.
7. Which birds can fly backwards?
8. What bird is known for its famous deliveries?
9. What is the largest bird in North America?
10. What is the smallest bird in the world?
11. List three birds that cannot fly.
12. What color is a bluebird?
Answers - Rare Bird Facts
1. Swifts have been timed at 200 mph.
2. A vulture has been seen flying at 25,000 feet, but most birds rarely fly above 3,000 feet.
3. Western Meadowlark
4. Passenger Pigeon
5. Birds build nests to "house" their eggs while they incubate
6. Blue Jay, Cardinal and Oriole
7. Hummingbirds or any bird using fluttering flight
9. Trumpet Swan
10. Bee Hummingbird of Cuba - 2.25" long
11. Kiwi, Penguin, Ostrich, Emu
12. It appears blue because of reflection and diffraction of light due to the structure of feathers
Southern NJ Council
Naturalist is spending time with nature. Take some time to explore natures world around you along with your boys. Don’t know the name of a particular kind of bird? Make one up and see if you can identify it later. The main thing is don’t be afraid just have fun.
Hidden Nature Items
In the following sentences you will find hidden the 15 words listed below. They may be contained within one word or parts of several words. Circle each one as you find it. Example: The grasshopper jumped high.
1. The antics of the clown made everyone laugh.
2. Lindbergh was a famous flyer.
3. Liz Arden was pale after being sick.
4. He didn’t plan to leave so fast.
5. If Roger goes to the park I’ll go also.
6. The camp lantern does not work.
7. The car rotates badly when driving through slippery mud.
8. Be easy on yourself, relax for awhile.
9. The dune buggy went fast.
10. A corny joke can be so unfunny that it’s funny.
11. The best reeds were picked for basket making.
12. When Mr. Van Gard entered the room everybody looked his way.
13. Alight dew or mist helps water the greenery in the park.
14. He picked a bushel of apples from the orchard.
15. The lava flow erupted from the volcano.
Nature Theme Riddles
- When is a baseball player like a spider? (When he catches a fly.)
- How do bees dispose of their honey? (They cell-it.)
- Which insect eats the least? (The moth. It eats holes.)
- Why is a frog never thirsty? (Because in an instant, he can make a spring.)
- What kind of bird is present at every meal? (A swallow.)
- Why is the letter A like a sweet flower? (Because a B (bee) is always after it.)
Wildlife As Pets
Keeping an animal is a tremendous responsibility. You are responsible for that animal’s health and happiness. Not meeting those requirements for the animal can have tragic consequences. Be sure you have the time, the patience, and the resources to keep that animal healthy and happy before you take it home.
Generally speaking, wild animals do not make good pets. There are enough kinds of domestic animals to choose the right kind for your household. But you can learn a lot about animals by watching them as they eat and live. So, a good plan would be to keep them for a short time and then turn them loose so that they can go about the business of being wild animals taking part in the web of life. Now here are some animals that you could keep long enough to learn about them.
Just remember, they do not like to go without food or water any more than you do, and that they will be happier in a clean cage or aquarium. Also, be sure that they have a place to hide and feel safe.
Nearly everyone finds turtles around their home each year. If you put scraps out in the same place every day, the turtle will show up for breakfast almost every morning during the summer. If you decide to keep one for a while, make sure that they have a place to sun, and a place to get out of the sun. A water dish sunk into the ground so that they can crawl in and sit in it is a good idea. A pen in the yard is usually the best place. Turtles love vegetables and fruit, tomatoes and melon rinds. They also need protein. Canned dog food should be fed to them first, with the vegetables for dessert. Do not keep them after Labor Day.
A simple bird feeder can be made out of two jar lids, a long nail and a donut. Find two lids about the same size as a donut. They can be either metal or plastic. Use a nail with a large head, and pound it into the center of each lid. You may have to work it a bit to get it through. (Be sure pounding is done on a thick board or on the ground.) To put the bird bakery together, stick the nail through one lid, through the donut hole, then through the second lid. Using pliers, bend the point of the nail as flat against the bottom of the lower lid as you can get it. This will hold everything in place, and also prevent injury to the birds that will use it. You might want to put a strip of filament tape across the sharp point of the nail. If the nail is too thick to bend, wrap tape around the end several times or tap the nail into a small piece of wood. Tie a string to the head of the nail and the feeder is ready to hang. Then check every few days to see if the donut needs replacing. You can use another donut, a bagel, dry dinner roll or even an apple.
Try this experiment to show your den how worms work. Put four to five inches of rich soil in a large glass jar with a half-dozen earthworms. On top of the soil, put an inch of light sand. Sprinkle corn meal on the sand. Wrap black paper around the jar to shut out light. At your next den meeting, take off the paper and see what has happened. The worms will have moved dark soil up into the sand and sand down into the soil. You will see tunnels along the glass marking their travels. Explain that the worm’s tunnels bring oxygen and nitrogen to nurture life and that the tunnels help the soil hold water.
More Outdoor Observation
Following is a list of things you can ask boys at an outdoor meeting. Or maybe you would like to use one or more of these questions or activities in a short den opening or closing at each den meeting this month.
- What is the farthest thing you can see from here?
- Find a seed that floats in the breeze.
- Find a seed with wings.
- Find a seed that sticks to you.
- Find 3 things made by man.
- Listen! Do you hear –
- a bird
- a cricket
- distant car
- Can you find 2 things that are white or any color besides green?
- Look at moss through a magnifying glass.
- Find a picture in the clouds.
- How many different shapes of leaves can you find? Round, oval, long, heartshaped smooth edges, toothed edge, etc.
Nature Lore Trail
Make up your nature lore trail using the features of your site. The trail outlined here could be laid out in a park, picnic area, or wooded area. Before you begin, - tell the boys this is not a speed contest. Give each boy a score card, listing each station. The den leader at each station marks the bay’s score card. Although the stations are numbered, they need not visit them in order, as long as an adult is there to mark the score.
Station 1: “Be quiet for 2 minutes. Listen to all the sounds of nature. Write them on a piece of paper and give it to the leader when the time is up. (Boys should hear such things as buzzing insects, wind in the trees, bird songs, etc.)
Scores 1 point for each valid noise.
Station 2: The Cubmaster has not slept for 3 days. His doctor says that he needs a sleeping potion made up of the following: 10 dandelion seeds, a bird feather, a fly, an oak leaf, 2 caterpillars, a maple twig, 5 pine needed, etc. (List about 10 items in your area within 20- 30 paces)
Scores 1 point for each valid item seen.
Station 3: Within 15 paces, you will find some items of an unnatural nature. For example, leaves on trees that don’t belong there, oak leaves on tulip tree, pine cones on an oak, etc.
Score 1 point for each freak discovered.
Station 4: Within 10 paces of this spot is an insect home. Find it, and tell what the insects are.
Score 5 points for discovery.
Station 5: Pick up a leaf or bit of grass and the toss it in the air. What is the wind direction?
Score 2 points for correct answer.
1. Nature is Beautiful.
- Show the beauty of the leaf; it’s shape, its veins and symmetry.
- 2. Nature is Useful.
- Have several small sticks of wood. Tell hw wood has many times saved men’s lives by either providing warmth, fire for cooking or shelter.
- 3. Nature has Mystery.
- Show the mystery of a bird’s nest. Why do different birds build different nests?
- 4. Nature has Magic.
- Cut into an apple crosswise and show the “star” shape that holds the apple seeds. Hold up a seed and explain the magic that this small seed can grow into a large apple tree and bear fruit we can eat.
- 5. Nature is a Teacher.
- Prepare a model of a kite. Explain Ben Franklin’s experience when he discovered electricity with his kite and key.
- 6. Nature has History.
- Secure a stone with a fossil in it and talk about how this happens.
- 7. Nature is Fun.
- Show a fishing pole. Tell a ‘Whopper” of a fish story.
- 8. Nature is Life itself.
- Very simply and without much flourish, drink a glass of water.
- 9. Nature is the Future of Mankind.
- Prepare 2 cardboard boxes in advance: s One box has soil in it, the other has a piece of healthy sod it. Using the box which had only soil, tilt it up and pour water into it, showing that the water will run off and leave gullies in the dirt. Using the other box to demonstrate that the water does not runoff the sod retains the water.
All mankind is separated from oblivion
by 3 inches of top soil.
Bees. Bugs and Butterflies
Have you ever walked through a park or meadow on a bright sunny day feeling like you are the only one around. Well, when we are outdoors, we are never alone.
There are thousands of tiny animals, called insects, surrounding us at all times.
There are more than 800,000 types of insects with more being discovered all the time. Butterflies, bees and ladybugs are only a few of the more commonly known insects.
All adult insects have three main parts to their bodies the head, thorax and abdomen. All insects have antennae, also. Most of them have one or more sets of wings. But, one way to tell an insect from any other type of animal is to count it’s legs. Adult insects always have six legs, no more and no less. This way we know that spiders are not insects because they have eight legs.
Insects make good pets. They do not require much space and are easy to care for you will find insects almost anywhere. Look in f lowers, on leaves of trees and plants, under bark, stones or logs, and in under ground burrows.
Make an insect cage and catch an insect to observe. Here are a few feeding tips.
Ants - drops of honey or bits of raw meat, apples, and bananas
Grasshoppers - fruit and vegetables
Praying Mantis - aphids and fruit flies
Lady Bugs and Beetles - aphids, fruits and boiled potato
Crickets - raw vegetables, fruit, dog biscuits and crackers
Bees and Butterflies - Should be set free to find flower nectar.
All insects need water. Place a few drops of water on a leaf, inside the cage, daily.
Insect cages can -be made from large glass jars and netting material. Oatmeal boxes, using a piece of nylon screen, also works well. Always place some grass, leaves or twigs inside your cage for the insects to climb on. In an insect cage, you can watch your insect’s life cycle. Admire its beauty and see how it changes.
Mother Nature’s Housing Developments:
- People don’t build homes in parks, but many creatures do. How many animal homes can your den find?
- Look for bird nests, cliff or barn swallows’ nest, squirrel nests, cocoons, insect galls, spider webs, paper wasps nests, mud dauber wasps’ nests, woodchuck burrow.
- It’s fair to count the evidence of homes, too, such as the little mud casts made by earthworms and a long raised mound across a lawn made by a burrowing mole.
- A hollow tree might be the home of several animals: woodpeckers, owls, bats, or white footed mice.
- If your park has a pond, look for mud chimneys of crayfish built near the shore.
- Award a prize to the one who finds the most animal homes.
- Caution the boys not to remove or destroy these homes.
Mixer Nature Game:
Have a list of familiar birds, animals, trees or insects and write the name of each on a card. Each week pin a card from one of these groups to the back of each Webelos Scout as he enters the meeting. Each boy must guess who he is by asking questions that can be answered with a yes or no. When he has successfully guessed the card is then pinned to the front of his chest.
Measuring Worm Race:
In this race all contestants line up at the starting line,
On Go, they fall forward to start and rest their weight on their hands.
Next they draw their legs up under them and then fall forward again on their hands,
This method of movement continues until the winner reaches the finish line.
Be sure to check out the International Paper site listed under Web Pages to obtain FREE materials for helping you with Forester. I received my copies very fast. The posters and activity materials are great. International Paper did a great job. Thank you so much. CD
St Louis Area Council
The Forester Activity Badge is part of the Outdoor group. The Webelos Scouts will learn how to identify the trees around them, how trees grow, and how to prevent forest fires.
At one time, both the east and west coasts of the United States formed a continuous changing, forest of trees ranging from pines to palm. Then, in a period of 350 years these forests came down and in their place rose eroded hillsides, flooded plains, and dead animals. The small areas, of forested land left are in danger of being destroyed by the advent of asphalt, pollution and people. The purpose of the Forester badge is to teach the boys to respect one of the few things that serve people while they live and after they die…trees.
- To make boys more observant and appreciative of trees.
- To instill the idea of conservation in WEBELOS Scouts.
- To teach boys the value and uses of trees.
- To make WEBELOS Scouts aware of devastation due to wildlife.
Pack and Den Ideas
- Visit a lumber yard, a sawmill, or a tree farm.
- Spend a den meeting teaching WEBELOS Scouts how to measure tree heights (see Official Boy Scout Handbook).
- Contact a local tree service and see if you arrange to have the den watch a crew "in action".
- Plant saplings in the spring as a conservation project.
- Make a tree exhibit “from roots to fruit: for a pack meeting.
- Make a tree identification kit for your den from strips of bark, leaves or needles and cones or seeds.
- Plant a tree.
- 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 drought?
Suggested Props: Leaf (real or made from paper, cardboard or cloth).
Presentation: Present boy with leaf award at the beginning of the meeting.
- All the boys except one lined up in a row facing the audience, spaced at least three feet apart.
- The remaining boy is the narrator.
- An adult "volunteer" is selected; usually this is the Cubmaster.
To avoid gray area concerns, the “volunteer” should be selected ahead of time and briefed on the skit and the punch line. Make sure he or she says it is all right and that they will go along with the gag. Commissioner Dave
- He/ She is instructed to stand off to the side until he hears the word spring. That is his cue to start running between the trees for a few minutes.
- The audience is first told the boys are trees during the summer.
- Their Branches are strong and sturdy, and they are full of leaves providing shade to the forest animals.
- While the narrator is talking, the "trees" raise their arms and mime what the narrator is saying.
- Next the audience is told about a tree in the fall and how it begins to lose its leaves. The "trees" should begin to sag their branches.
- Next the audience is told about a tree in the winter time and how the wind howls through their bare limbs. Someone can supply the sound effects if you desire, and the boys should be moving like their is a large gust of wind pushing them around.
- Finally, on cue as you say the word spring, have the volunteer move quickly between the trees several times.
- You will finish the skit by saying "...... And also in the
- springtime, notice how quickly the sap runs through the trees."
- This skit can be as long or as short as you want to make it. As each season is discussed in as much detail as you want.
- The trees should be mimicking what the narrator is saying. Make sure the narrator places emphasis on the word Sap, so the audience reacts quickly to the gag.
See if you can guess what kind of tree it is with the clues provided.
1. This tree comes in twos (Pear)
2. This tree is nearest the sea (Beech)
3. This tree is a romantic evening for 2 (Date)
4. This tree keeps you warm (Fir)
5. This tree was an Egyptian plague (Locust)
6. The tree we offer when we shake hands (Palm)
7. This tree is used in kissing (tulip)
8. This tree is always crying (Weeping Willow)
9. This tree is a Colorado ski slope (Aspen)
Match the products on the left to the appropriate tree on the right.
1. baseball bats, tool handles a. redwood
2. furniture, lumber, barrels b. black walnut
3. paper, soft lumber (derby cars) c. pines
4. gunstocks, cabinets d. maples
5. bowling alley lanes e. ashes
6. lumber for outdoor decks f. oaks
The St. Louis Pow Wow Book did not have the answers for this quiz. I figure they wanted the Webelos to do the research not just be given the answers. If someone sends them to me, I will publish them next month. CD
Dry Leaf Collection
- Put each leaf between a separate sheets of newspaper.
- Put several folds 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 presses out and dry.
- Lay 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.
Ink Pad Leaf Prints
- Put a leaf, vein side down, on your ink pad.
- 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.
Paraffin Coated 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 in the brilliant colors of autumn.
Sung to “Rock-a-Bye Baby”
Out in the forest, under the trees,
See the Scouts trekking, finding species,
This tree is familiar, this one is not,
Don't touch that ivy, or you'll get some spots.
The trees are both useful, To wildlife and birds,
They give them a home and, food for the herd.
- a tree,
- a piece of construction paper,
- a piece of screening 7-1/2” by12-1/2”,
- masking tape, and
- a crayon.
1. Find an interesting patch of bark, and tape the construction paper over it.
2. Holding the crayon flat side against the tree, rub up and down over the paper, pressing firmly. Keep coloring until you get and interesting pattern.
3. Remove the tape and inspect your bark rubbing. Try different trees, and look at the different patterns you get.
Southern NJ Council
Unless you are an avid gardener or outdoorsman, you may need a little more information to prepare you for this badge. There are some excellent free resources out there. Here’s just a few:
The United States Department of Agriculture, Forestry Division, will send you a publication called “A Guide to Your National Forests”, showing all the national forests and national grasslands and other lands administered by the U. S. Forest Service. The back of the map is chock full of information about the forest service.
Write to them at the address below and request publication FS-418, “A Guide To Your National Forests”:
201 14th St., SW
P. 0. Box 96090
Washington, DC 20090-6090
The U. S. Forest also will send you these publications if you write to the address below and request them: “Keeping Trees Healthy” (no. A7800430), “Trees Are Valuable” (no. 7800429) and “Planting A Tree” (no. 7800428). Write to:
Forest Service, USDA
P. 0. Box 2417
Washington, DC 20013
GLOBAL RELEAF is a program of the U.S.A.’s oldest nonprofit conservation organization, American Forests. Write and request their comprehensive information package:
GLOBAL RELEAF’, P. 0. Box 2000,
Washington, DC 20013-2000
The NATIONAL ARBOR DAY FOUNDATION offers several publications and will send them to you if you write to them at this address:
The National Arbor Day Foundation
100 Arbor Avenue
Nebraska City, NE 68410
1. Hug A Tree - When out on a hike, pair the boys and have one blindfold the other. The blindfolded boy is led to a tree and allowed to feel the tree for a minute or two so he will be able to later identify it. Once he is lead back to the starting point, the blindfold is removed and he is free to find his tree. After identification takes place, the boys reverse roles.
2. Match The Pairs - Once a few trees have been identified, collect a leaf and a small branch from these trees (make sure you have permission to do this). Give the boys the opportunity to study the matched pairs and then mix them to see if they can match the limb with the leaf.
3. Measuring The Tree - It is important for a forester to know how big trees are so they know how much wood they contain and how much room it takes to drop them. Two instruments are needed for these measurements. This could be a den activity before going to the field. Apiece of ribbon that has marks every 3.14 inches and numbered consecutively. When wrapped around a tree (done at 4 feet above the ground) it will tell the diameter of the tree. A regular tape measure will work, divide by 3.14. The other important tool a forester use is called a cruising stick. The cruising stick is marked every 6.15 inches. Standing 66 feet away from the base of the tree, hold the stick 25 inches from your face and align the end of the stick with the bottom of the tree and see where the top of the tree falls on the cruising stick. Each 6.15 inch mark equals 16 feet. If the tree falls half way between the first and second mark, then the tree is about 24 feet tall.
4. Leaf Hunt - There are many terms for identifying trees - lobed, toothed, simple, alternating, etc. List the terms on a sheet of paper and have the boys scour the woods for samples of these different terms.
5. Leaf Collection - The leaf hunt activity can lead to an interesting collection for the boys. Leaves can be preserved in many ways. They can be placed in a book to be pressed and dried. A simple leaf press can be built out of two pieces of plywood with bolds and wing nuts. Cardboard or heavy paper should be placed between the leaves.
6. Trace A Leaf - Using a flat hard surface, like a clipboard, to place a piece of paper. Place the leaf under the paper and rub a crayon over the leaf. Hold the paper against the trunk of a tree to make an impression of the bark.
7. Report - Have each den member choose a different tree found in your area and write a short report. Sample of leaves, seeds, and bark rubbings could be included. Tell the boys they should include any uses the tree has, where the tree can be found besides here, how big the tree normally grows and any other information they would like to include.
8. Field Trip - Arrange a trip to a lumberyard or sawmill. This can be very informative. The boys should learn about different woods and their uses, how woos is processed, and possibly about the different characteristics of wood. Commercially available wood can be divided into two main classifications: Hard and Soft. This can be confusing to the boys because these terms when used this way, do not mean the relative hardness or softness of the wood. Hardwoods come from deciduous trees (broadleaf) and softwoods come from conifers (evergreens). Balsa wood, which most boys are familiar with is a hardwood but is very soft and light. Yellow pine is a softwood, but is very hard and heavy.
JUNIOR FOREST RANGER QUIZ
1. Campfire permits are required for: (a) indoor fireplaces; (b) outdoors areas depending on local laws; or (c) lighting Halloween pumpkins.
2. The safest way to start a campfire is with: (a) a pile of leaves; (b) gasoline; or (c) small pieces of kindling wood.
3. The best place to ask where forest campfires can be built is: (a) sheriff’s office; (b) sporting goods store; or (c) ranger or fire warden stations.
4. When staying overnight in the forest, before going to bed you should: (a) place heavy logs on the fire; (b)put out your campfire; or (c) arrange to get up every 2 Hours to check the fire.
5. When you see a bear in the forest, parks or zoo, you should: (a) pull his fur, (b) chase him with a stick; or (c) stay away from him. Do not feed or pet him. Bears are wild animals and considered dangerous at all times.
6. To cook properly over a campfire, you should: (a) cook over the flames of a large fire (b) build a small fire and cook over the hot embers; or (c) burn a lot of paper to make the fire hot.
7. The best way to put out a campfire is: (a) inside a rotten log or stump; (b) under a green tree; or (c) in a dear open space away from trees.
8. For camping or burning trash, the following is the most important and practical tool to carry in a car. (a) shovel; (b)bucket of water or (c) wet blanket.
9. If a fire gets out of hand, you should: (a) get your parents and run to your car and drive away; (b) report it immediately to a forest range; or (c) get other Jr. Forest Rangers to come fight the fire.
10. If your clothes happen to catch on fire you should: (a) keep calm, do not run, roll a blanket around you to smother flames (if no blanket is handy. just lay down on the ground and roll to smother the flames); (b)run for help; or (c) jump up and down really fast.
11. Camp matches should be: (a) kept in a metal container, (b) stored near outboard motor fuel; or (c) placed in the hot sun.
12. The safest way for an adult to light A cigarette is: (a) use a cigarette lighter (b) strike match on a nearby rock; or (c) use paper book matches and throw into grass when finished.
13. A person who is careless and starts a forest fire: (a) is made honorary fire chief; (b) receives a fire prevention award; or (c) can be fined and sent to jail.
14. Well-managed forests give us: (a) Smoky Bear; (b) wood, water, wildlife, grass and outdoor fun; or (c) just lumber, paper, and walnuts.
15. A match or cigarette thrown from a car window: (a) is permissible if no one is looking; (b)is permissible if it looks like it has gone out; or (c) is never safe.
16. A windy day is a good time: (a) to burn trash; (b) to start a campfire; or (c) not to start a fire.
17. A trash burning incinerator should be: (a) well equipped with a good spark arrester; (b) placed under a tree for shade; or (c) used only on windy days.
18. Before lighting an open fire: (a) people should leave the neighborhood; (b) local fire laws should be checked and obeyed; or (c) help prevent forest fires.
19. Junior Forest Rangers: (a) put out forest fires; (b) start forest fires; or (c) help prevent forest fires.
Answers to Jr. Forest Ranger Quiz:
1. b 4. b. 7. a 10. a 13. c 16. c 19.c
2. c 5. c 8. a 11. a 14. b 17. a
3. c 6. b 9. b 12. a 15. c 18. b
17 - 19 correct - Official Jr. Forest Ranger
12 - 16 correct - Jr. Forest Ranger
8 - 11 correct - Jr. Ranger in Training
0 - 7 correct - need to study some more
Play this game while discovering the out-of-doors. As you complete each activity, cross out that square. Can your cross out five squares in a row? More than one row of five squares? The example given can be revised to meet the characteristics of the area you’re in, the time of the year, etc. GOAL: To help boys explore the natural world using all their senses.
Find a tree that has changed to something else
Find a nest and two insects
Smell pine needles
Find an animal track
Find an ant
Collect seeds from a tree, plant some
Find a bird feather
Name 3 things a tree needs in order to grow
Find a fossil
Estimate the height and circumference of a tree taller than you
Find a place where erosion is going on
Do something to help a tree
Find examples of evidence of pollution
Find a frog but leave him with his mother
Find the youngest tree and the oldest tree
Examine tree scars to find a sign that the tree was injured
Pick up one piece of litter
Identify a wild flower
Find a tree shaped by nature
Find a smooth-cut stump or log end, and look closely at the pattern of growth rings.
There is a layer of wood for each year of growth. Some tree kinds will show light spring wood and dark summer wood in year’s growth. Count annual rings low on the trunk to find the tree’s approximate age.
1. Drought years cause occasional narrow growth rings.
2. Crowding causes zones of narrow rings.
3. A leaning tree has rings narrower on one side than the other. A tree on a leaning edge may have similar uneven rings.
4. Look for branches deep within the wood-also for insect and disease damage. What kind of life has your tree had?