Volume 5 Issue 10
May 1999


North Florida 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, which includes the many things, 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 back yard, 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 the 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.

Den Activities
North Florida Council

  • Make an ant farm
  • Make an insect laboratory
  • Make bird feeders
  • Make terrariums
  • Start a nature collection
  • Invite a conservationist to visit den meetings and talk about some phase of nature
  • Make a leaf collection, and leaf prints
  • Take a bird's watchers hike. Identify birds, make notes about location, species, etc.
  • Collect tadpoles; keep in aquarium and watch them grow
  • Make bird migration maps
  • Study wildlife homes
  • Make a list of all plants in a given area
  • Take a nature hike and look for animal tracks
  • Make a plaster casts of the tracks.

Take a Hike Survey
Circle 10 Council

Preparation: Make a copy of the survey sheet for each boy and bring along a tape measure and some crayons.

How big is nature? Can you hear it: How does it feel? You'll need to use all of your senses to complete this hike survey.

Use a tape measure to find each of the measurements.

1. Circumference (distance around) of the biggest tree

2.Circumference of the smallest tree

3.Distance between any two trees

4. Length of a leaf close to the length of your nose

5. Width of something more narrow than your thumb

6. Length of a friend's shadow

Use your eyes, ears, nose and fingers to find something that fits each description.

1.Smells good

2. Makes a noise

3. Feels bumpy

4. Looks wrinkled

5. Likely to change the way it looks

Look for objects that fit the descriptive words by the boxes below. Place this paper over each object, one object to a box. Use a crayon or pencil to make a rubbing of each object.

Under each box put one of the following words
1. Smooth 2. Gritty . 3. Ridged 4. Grooved 5. Patterned






Circle 10 Council

Pine Cone Battle

Have twice as many pinecones as players. Divide boys into equal teams, each about 20 yards from a dividing line and facing each other across the line. At signal, the battle starts with each player throwing cones as close to the 20-yard marker as possible, but staying on their side of the line. Those closest to the 20-yard mark score two points. Team with the most point's win.

Arbor Day Treasures
Circle 10 Council

Find tree name hidden in the following sentences:

  1. The ranger's map led us safely through the woods.
  2. Will owls hoot in daylight?
  3. It's fun to hike and tramp in every direction.
  4. Forest rangers wear white helmets.
  5. We saw a honey bee checking clover blossoms for honey.
  6. Many forest fires are caused by human carelessness.
  7. We got soaked when we were caught in a cloudburst.
  8. The boy's face darkened when she kissed him on the cheek.

Answers: 1. Maple 2. Willow 3. Pine 4. Elm 5. Beech 6. Fir 7. Oak 8. Cedar

One Leaf Trail
Circle 10 Council

Lay a trail using one kind of leaf as a marker, letting the stem point in the direction to be followed.

Do Trees Drink?
Circle 10 Council

A simple demonstration can be done with celery. Use a piece of celery with leaves for each boy. Place three drops of red food coloring in a glass of water and place celery in the water. Over a couple of days, the veins on the outside of the celery will start changing color, showing how the liquid goes up the stalk. The same type of activity takes place inside a tree.

Tree Planting
Circle 10 Council

Collect acorns or other tree seeds and plant in small Styrofoam cups filled with dirt. Keep watered. After the seeds sprout and are a fair size, plant in a suitable place like the property of your charter organization. Get permission first.

Flag Forestry
Circle 10 Council

Which tree is on the flag of:

1. Florida
2. Maine
3. Canada
4. South Carolina
5. Vermont

Answers: 1. A Cabbage Palmetto Tree 2. Pine Tree 3. Maple Leaf 4. Palmetto Tree 5. Pine Tree

How Old Is That Tree?
Sam Houston Area Council

The only way to tell the age of a tree exactly is to cut it down and count its annual rings of growth. However, we can estimate the age of a standing tree using this method?

  • Measure in inches the circumference of the tree (distance around) about 4 1/2 feet above the ground.
  • Divide the circumference by 3 to find the diameter
  • To find the tree's age, multiply the diameter (in inches) by the correct factor listed in the table below

These factors vary because of the differences in the growth rate of trees. (Note: If the tree gets more water and nutrients than average, it will be younger than it looks. If it lives in stressful conditions -- poor soil, less than average water, drainage, or disease -- it will be older than it looks.

American Beech


Shagbark Hickory








Red Oak


Norway Maple


White Oak


Sugar Maple


White Birch


Norway Spruce


White Pine


Forester Neckerchief
Sam Houston Area Council

Make a neckerchief for each boy out of inexpensive cotton fabric. When a boy can identify a particular forest tree leaf, print the leaf on his neckerchief. Eventually each boy will have a permanent record of the six forest trees he has identified.
Leaf Prints -- Spread neckerchief fabric on a sheet of newspaper. Place a leaf, vein side up, on another sheet of newspaper and paint the leaf with fabric paint. Be sure to cover the entire leaf, but try not to put paint on too thick or your finished product may look smudgy. When the leaf is covered, turn it paint side down onto the neckerchief. Cover the leaf with a single piece of clean newspaper and gently move a roller back and forth over the leaf two or three times. Pick up the newspaper and discard it, then gently remove the leaf. Green leaves work just as well as dried ones and often can be used for repeat images. To make the image permanent, press the neckerchief with a warm iron after the paint has dried.

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