ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE


Requirements were REVISED effective January 1, 2006.

New text is in bold GREEN underlined Serif text like this sentence.
Deleted portions are struck through RED italic text like this sentence.


This Merit Badge
is Required to earn the Eagle Scout Rank


  1. Make a timeline of the history of environmental science in America. Identify the contribution made by the Boy Scouts of America to environmental science. Include dates, names of people or organizations, and important events.

  2. Define the following terms and describe the relationships among them: population, community, ecosystem, biosphere, symbiosis, niche, habitat, conservation, threatened species, endangered species, extinction, pollution prevention, brownfield, ozone, watershed, airshed, nonpoint source, hybrid vehicle, fuel cell.

  3. Do ONE activity in EACH of the following categories (using the activities in this {the merit badge} pamphlet as the basis for planning and carrying out your projects):

    1. Ecology
      1. Conduct an experiment to find out how living things respond to changes in their environments. Discuss your observations with your counselor.
      2. Conduct an experiment illustrating the greenhouse effect. Keep a journal of your data and observations. Discuss your conclusions with your counselor.
      3. Discuss what is an ecosystem. Tell how it is maintained in nature and how it survives.
    2. Air Pollution
      1. Perform an experiment to test for particulates that contribute to air pollution. Discuss your findings with your counselor.
      2. Record the trips taken, mileage, and fuel consumption of a family car for seven days, and calculate how many miles per gallon the car gets. Determine whether any trips could have been combined ("chained") rather than taken out and back. Using the idea of trip chaining, determine how many miles and gallons of gas could have been saved in those seven days.
      3. (2) Conduct a study to test the effects of acid rain on plants. Discuss your findings with your counselor.
        Explain what is acid rain. In your explanation, tell how it affects plants and the environment and the steps society can take to help reduce its effects.
    3. Water Pollution
      1. Conduct an experiment to show how living things react to thermal pollution. Discuss your observations with your counselor.
      2. Conduct an experiment to identify the methods that could be used to mediate (reduce) the effects of an oil spill on waterfowl. Discuss your results with your counselor.
      3. Describe the impact of a waterborne pollutant on an aquatic community. Write a 100-word report on how that pollutant affected aquatic life, what the effect was, and whether the effect is linked to biomagnification.
    4. Land Pollution
      1. Conduct an experiment to illustrate soil erosion by water. Take photographs or make a drawing of the soil before and after your experiment, and make a poster showing your results. Present your poster to your patrol or troop.
      2. Perform an experiment to determine the effect of an oil spill on land. Share your journal and discuss Discuss your conclusions with your counselor.
      3. Photograph an area affected by erosion. Share your photographs with your counselor and discuss why the area has eroded and what might be done to help alleviate the erosion.
    5. Endangered Species
      1. Do research on one endangered species found in your state. Find out what its natural habitat is, why it is endangered, what is being done to preserve it, and how many individual organisms are left in the wild. Prepare a 100-word report about the organism, including a drawing. Present your report to your patrol or troop.
      2. Do research on one species that was endangered or threatened but which has now recovered. Find out how the organism recovered, and what its new status is. Write a 100-word report on the species and discuss it with your counselor.
      3. With your parent's and counselor's approval, work with a natural resource professional to identify two projects that have been approved to improve the habitat for a threatened or endangered species in your area. Visit the site of one of these projects and report on what you saw.
    6. Pollution Prevention, Resource Recovery, and Conservation
      1. Look around your home and determine 10 ways your family can help reduce pollution. Practice at least two of these methods for seven days and discuss with your counselor what you have learned.
      2. Determine 10 ways to conserve resources or use resources more efficiently in your home, at school, or at camp. Practice at least two of these methods for seven days and discuss with your counselor what you have learned.
      3. (1) Perform an experiment on packaging materials to find out which ones are biodegradable. Discuss your conclusions with your counselor.
      4. Find out if your local community has a recycling program in effect. If it does, find out what items are recycled, and who pays for recycling. If your community does not have a recycling program, write questions for and conduct a survey on recycling. Include questions about attitudes toward recycling, what should be recycled, and your community's willingness to support a recycling program. Discuss your findings with your counselor.
  4. Build an ecosystem in a bottle. Include soil, plants, fungi, and small animals found in your local environment. Maintain the ecosystem for at least seven days after completing construction of the ecosystem. Observe it daily, and keep a record of your observations. Discuss your observations with your counselor.
    (5) Choose an outdoor area to study. In your study area, do ONE of the following:
    Choose two outdoor study areas that are very different from one another (e.g., hilltop vs. bottom of a hill; field vs. forest; swamp vs. dry land). For BOTH study areas, do ONE of the following:
    1. Mark off three study plots a plot of 4 square yards each in each study area, and count the number of species found there. Then estimate Estimate how much space is occupied by each plant species found in the plots and the type and number of nonplant species you find. Write a report that adequately discusses the biodiversity and population density of your study area these study areas. Discuss your report with your counselor.
    2. Make four visits to the study area Make at least three visits to each of the two study areas (for a total of six visits), staying for at least 20 minutes each time, to observe the living and nonliving parts of the ecosystem. Space each visit far enough apart that there are readily apparent differences in the observations. Keep a journal of your observations, including a discussion of differences noted during the four visits. Write a report on your observations and discuss it that includes the differences you observe. Then, write a short report that adequately addresses your observations, including how the differences of the study areas might relate to the differences noted, and discuss this with your counselor.
  5. Using the construction project provided or a plan you create on your own, identify the items that would need to be included in an environmental impact statement for the project planned.
  6. Propose a hypothetical construction project in your community and prepare a limited environmental impact statement for the project. Study the area to see what the impact of the project might be upon the living and nonliving parts of the ecosystem.
    Find out about three career opportunities in environmental science. Pick one and find out the education, training, and experience required for this profession. Discuss this with your counselor, and explain why this profession might interest you.
  7. Develop a project that would help solve an environmental problem, reduce an environmental impact, or affect environmental awareness in your community. Include plans for a specific project that could be done by your patrol or troop.
  8. Discuss three possible careers in the field of environmental science. Identify the education that you would need to pursue ONE of these careers.

BSA Advancement ID#: 7
Pamphlet Revision Date: 2006
Requirements last revised in 206

(footnotes)


Page updated on: May 10, 2014



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