Webelos Naturalist Activity Badge
A naturalist is a person who enjoys and studies nature. Naturalists respect the wildlife and the plants that live in the out-of-doors. A naturalist shows respect by learning about the wildlife and knowing what to do so that that plant life and wildlife can be there as long as it can be. Naturalists want to be able to share the outdoors and their appreciation of the outdoors with others.
§ Learn the Outdoor Code.
§ Earn the Leave No Trace Awareness Award.
§ Learn to identify poisonous plants, insects and reptiles.
§ Learn to identify birds in your area.
§ Identify poisonous plants and animals in your areas.
§ Make a water scope.
§ Look for animal tracks and make a print of one.
§ Identify insects and know what they eat.
§ Make bird feeders.
§ Visit a nature center and talk to a naturalist that works there.
§ Visit a zoo or museum of natural history.
§ Invite a naturalist to come to your den or Pack meeting.
§ Earn the Wildlife Conservation Belt Loop and Pin.
As an American, I will do my best to -
Be clean in my outdoor manners.
I will treat the outdoors as a heritage
I will take care of it for myself and others
I will keep my trash and garbage out of lakes, streams, fields, woods, and roadways.
Be careful with fire.
I will prevent wildfire.
I will build my fires only where they are appropriate.
When I have finished using a fire, I will make sure it is cold out.
I will leave a clean fire ring, or remove all evidence of my fire.
Be considerate in the outdoors.
I will treat public and private property with respect.
I will use low-impact methods of hiking and camping.
And Be conservation minded.
I will learn how to practice good conservation of soil, waters, forests, minerals, grasslands, wildlife, and energy.
I will urge others to do the same.
Each Webelos Scout stakes a “claim” on a square foot of land for the month. This should be away from where others usually play. Each Scout will then need to each carefully see what their one square foot contains – grass, weeds, adult insects, larvae, worms, etc. They should record everything they see so that they can later report on it. Throughout the month, they should also make sketches of those things that are in that square foot. These could then be displayed at pack meeting.
Following is a list of things you can ask boys on a hike or at an outdoor meeting.
1. What is the farthest thing you can see from here?
2. Find a seed that floats in the breeze.
3. Find a seed with wings.
4. Find a seed that sticks to you.
5. Find three things made by man.
6. Listen! Do you hear a bird? Is it a cricket? Is it a distant car? What do you hear?
7. Can you find two things that are white or any color besides green and brown?
8. Look at moss through a magnifying glass.
9. Find a picture in the clouds.
10. How many different shapes of leaves can you find? (Oval, long, heart-shaped, smooth edged, etc).
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.
The boys won’t have any trouble finding insects in either city or country, but if they want a particular kind, you may be able to suggest where to look for it and how to catch it.
Beetles and Crickets: Sink a small jar or can in the ground so that the rim is level with the surface. Pour in about an inch of mixture of two parts molasses and one part water, or some other very sweet mixture. This gooey mess will attract hordes of insects which will promptly tumble in and be trapped. They will drown in a short time, so check the trap frequently to avoid killing the insects that are attracted. Clean up when you are done.
Butterflies, Moths and Other flying insects: A sweet slightly fermented pulp of fruits (peaches or apricots) painted on a tree trunk will trap flying insects. Or you can catch them with a net in an empty lot, open field or public park.
Earthworms can often be found in a handful of soil. Clear away any surface debris from a small patch of ground. Force a soup can deep into the earth, scooping up as much soil as you can, then empty it onto a sheet of paper (white is best). See how many earthworms and insects have been captured.
Webelos Scouts should be reminded that insects need food and water to stay alive. Once the study is completed, the insects should be released near where they were found.
§ A praying mantis will eat a bit of fresh liver from your fingers or from a toothpick. They will drink from a spoon. They like milk or watermelon juice. They also need live food, like grasshoppers, flies and beetles to eat.
§ Earthworms will eat small pieces of carrots and lettuce, grass cuttings, corn meal, and leaf mold.
§ Field crickets will eat bits of bread soaked in water, lettuce and even peanut butter.
§ Grasshoppers and walking sticks will eat the grass sod in the bottom of their cage.
§ Caterpillars should be fed the same kind of leaves as those you found them on.
§ Spiders can be fed flies, inchworms, or other small insects. Food must be alive.
Put out a bird feeder and the birds will come. You must be still and quiet
Get out a field guide for your area and a set of binoculars so that you can get a really close view.
Parts of a bird are good to know as you look at a field guide and want to know – what’s that bird I just saw?
§ 1/2 cup peanut butter
§ 1/2 cup shortening
§ 1-2 cups bird seed
§ large pinecone
§ thick twine
§ paper bag
Twist twine around the pinecone and tie it securely. Mix the peanut butter and shortening together. Spread the mixture between the petals of the pinecone, filling in as much as you can. Put the pinecone along with the birdseed in the paper bag. Close the bag and shake, coating the pinecone with birdseed. Hang the feeder on a tree where you can watch the birds enjoy it.
Keep your birdfeeders away from where cats can easily get at them. Keep them up high and don’t put them above a shrub where cats can hide. Squirrels can scare birds away, but they won’t harm them. Hawks may also come to your feeder – after another bird. Don’t worry. Cooper's and sharp-shinned hawks eat birds and play an important role in the natural community. Feel fortunate that you saw a hawk in your backyard.
Birds also like to drink water so if you have a bird bath make sure it’s full and clean.
These are just a few birds you may see in your backyard...some you will only see at specific times of year.
Materials: Empty juice can (large), can opener/crimper, waterproof tape (duct tape), rubber band, clear plastic food wrap
1. Remove both ends of the juice can with a can opener.
2. Carefully tape over the sharp edges of the can.
3. Tightly put plastic wrap over one end of the can.
4. Secure the plastic wrap with a rubber band.
5. Tape edges of the plastic to the can.
6. Now you are ready to watch some water bugs. Remember to only submerge the end of the can with the clear plastic.
Poison oak is a widespread deciduous shrub throughout mountains and valleys of California, generally below 5,000 feet elevation. In shady canyons and riparian habitats it commonly grows as a climbing vine with aerial (adventitious) roots that adhere to the trunks of oaks and sycamores. Poison oak also forms dense thickets in chaparral and coastal sage scrub, particularly in central and northern California. It regenerates readily after disturbances such as fire and the clearing of land. Rocky Mountain poison oak (Toxicodendron rydbergii) occurs in canyons throughout the western United States and Canada. Because the two species of western poison oak often exhibit a viny growth form, they are listed as subspecies of eastern poison ivy by some authors.
Poison Ivy can be a climbing or trailing vine, a shrub or even a small tree. The leaf edges can be smooth, toothed or deeply notched. New leaves are red in spring and dying leaves are yellow.
Fall leaves are yellow, orange and red. The plant produces small, greenish-white clusters of flowers in spring and white, waxy, berry-like fruits in fall.
Poison ivy grows almost everywhere in almost any type of environment. Several variations of the old adage 'Leaves of three, let it be’ proclaims the warning -- typical 3-leaf clusters on a single stem identify it.
The symptoms of poison ivy contact begin to appear between 12 and 36 hours after exposure. They include an itchy, burning rash followed by small blisters and in severe cases, large blisters and swelling. All parts of the plant are toxic in all seasons. Burning leaves of poison ivy is particularly dangerous because t
Poison sumac acts very much like Poison ivy, but it looks very different. It is also usually only found in very wet, wooded regions of Texas, typically in the east. It can be a tall shrub or small tree.
The leaves are arranged in pairs of 3 to 6 with a single leaf at the terminal end of the stem. The fruits of the poison sumac are a whitish green hanging fruit. There are non-poisonous varieties of sumac, which appear similar yet their fruits are red and upright.
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.
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
ü Divide the Den into two teams, which line up relay fashion.
ü In front of each team is a large sheet of blank paper.
ü On signal, the first boy on each team runs to a leader who whispers the name of an animal.
ü The boy goes to the paper and draws his subject.
ü When his team members recognize the animal he draws, the next player runs to tell the leader.
ü If correct, that next player is given the name of another animal to draw.
ü If not, the first boy continues his drawing until his team guesses right.
ü 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
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:
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.
Fill in the correct answer(s).
1. What is the fastest flying bird?
2. How high can birds fly?
3. What is the California StateBird?
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. Passenger Pigeon
4. Birds build nests to "house" their eggs while they incubate
5. Blue Jay, Cardinal and Oriole
6. Hummingbirds or any bird using fluttering flight
8. Trumpet Swan
9. Bee Hummingbird of Cuba - 2.25" long
10. Kiwi, Penguin, Ostrich, Emu
11. It appears blue because of reflection and diffraction of light due to the structure of feathers
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.
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.
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. FOR MORE THAN A MONTH WITHOUT THE ADVICE OF A VET?
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.
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.
1. What is the farthest thing you can see from here?
2. Find a seed that floats in the breeze.
3. Find a seed with wings.
4. Find a seed that sticks to you.
5. Find 3 things made by man.
6. Listen! Do you hear –
a. a bird
b. a cricket
c. distant car
7. Can you find 2 things that are white or any color besides green?
8. Look at moss through a magnifying glass.
9. Find a picture in the clouds.
10. How many different shapes of leaves can you find? Round, oval, long, heart shaped smooth edges, toothed edge, etc.
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.
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.
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.
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.
· Make insect cages
· Make ant houses
· Learn how to identify outdoor hazards
· Take a nature hike
· Have boys keep a nature notebook, jotting down discoveries while on field trips
· Make charts showing life cycle of an insect
· Collect tadpoles and watch them grow
· Go on bird watching hike
· Make birdfeeders
· Make a leaf or nut collection
· Make a leaf print
· Invite a naturalist or conservationist to your den meeting to talk about nature
· Museum of Natural History
· Fish hatchery
· National Wildlife Refuge
There is a great magazine called Ranger Rick’s NATURESCOPE. It is published by the National Wildlife Federation. It has wonder ideas for teaching and providing activities for school age children. You don’t have to be an expert to teach, the activities are simple and easy to understand as well as FUN!
Books that are available from Ranger Rick include:
Incredible Insects Digging into Dinosaurs
Wild About Weather Birds, Birds, Birds
Discovering Deserts Trees Are Terrific
Astronomy Adventures Amazing Mammals 1& 2
Wading into Wetlands Geology: The Active Earth
Endangered Species Reptiles and Amphibians
Diving into Oceans Wild and Crafty
Check them out at your local library for free or you can write for ordering and pricing information. Prices are subject to change, but at Pow Wow time in 2004 they were $6.00 each -
NATIONAL WILDLIFE FEDERATION
1400 Sixteenth Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20036-2266