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WEBELOS
NATURALIST ACTIVITY BADGE

NATURALIST REQUIREMENTS  

Scouting and the outdoors go hand-in-hand. The Naturalist Activities Badge makes a Webelos aware of all the living things in the outdoors; it is in the Outdoor group.

The naturalist's world is one to be discovered and investigated.  It is as near as a boy's backyard, a nearby park or the woods and fields.  It is inhabited by many kinds of insect, birds, plants, animals, trees and other form of life.  The naturalist activity badge may lead a Webelos into a hobby or a vocation through all the exciting, new adventures you plan for your den.

OBJECTIVES

To increase boys' awareness of animal behavior, To kindle a love of nature, To teach wildlife conservation. To encourage Webelos to visit local animal preserves. To introduce boys to animal kingdom classifications.

RELATED SCOUT MERIT BADGES 

  • Beekeeping
  • Environmental Science
  • Reptile Study
  • Fish and Wildlife Management
  • World Conservation Award
  • Bird Study
  • Mammals
  • Nature
  • Insect Life

RESOURCES

Official Boy Scout Handbook,
Boy Scout Field Book.
Webelos Activities,
Ranger Rick magazine.
National Geographic Magazine

CAREERS / SPEAKERS

Zoo keeper, conservationist, taxidermist, pet store worker, gardener, museum curator,
landscape artist, nature photographer, publisher or writer of nature books.

' THINGS OF NATURE '
CALENDAR

I looked up phenology in Merriam Webster's Dictionary since I wasn't sure exactly what it is : )
Phenology: a branch of science dealing with the relations between climate and periodic biological phenomena (as bird migration or plant flowering)
Buy (or have the Webelos make) blank calendar pages and have the boys write in this month's dates.  Have them post it in the kitchen, so it's handy to jot down "things of nature."  List one or two things each day: cardinals at the bird feeder, grass turning green, saw the full moon, etc.
If the boys enjoy this activity, encourage them to keep a phenology calendar for a whole year.  Then they can look back and compare nature's cycles.


DEN ACTIVITIES

  • Invite a Fish and Game Department employee to your meeting.  Ask about major problems in the lakes in your area.  

  • Tour the Botanical Garden or an Arboretum.  Find out how many employees are needed to keep the grounds in good shape.

  • Visit a zoo with your den families. 

  • Contact your county park for bird banding information.  Try to arrange to be present to watch the licensed banders.  Find out about the flyways in your area and what birds are common.


BIRD CONE

  • Use large pinecones and spread peanut butter all around it.

  • Take birdseed and cover the pinecone completely.

  • Hang outside for the birds.

GAMES

TRUE OR FALSE

The world's largest bird, the ostrich, can weigh as much as 300 pounds. (True)
The hummingbird is the smallest bird in the world.  (True)
Swifts can fly faster than Peregrine falcons. (True)
Aviators have seen ducks flying at 30,000 feet altitude.  (False, about 8,000 feet.)
The number of species of bird is about 5,000.  (False, about 800.)
All birds build nests.  (False, cowbirds deposit their eggs in the nest of other birds.
Widgeons can lay as many as 18 eggs at one time.  (True)
Robins lay blue eggs.  (True.)
No bird can fly backwards.  (False, the hummingbird can.)
The Trumpeter Swan is the heaviest of all flying fowl.  (True, at 38 pounds.) 


LEADING A NATURE HIKE

Try a night hike in the woods, Have the boys identify objects in the dark. How do they describe it? Is the tree's bark smooth or rough? Is there any particular odor connected with it'? Get to know plants and trees without using eyesight.
The use of all five senses should be emphasized. It is not enough to merely look and listen but they should taste, feel and smell, too.
At the end of the hike, get each boy to describe what he liked the most. they usually remember the simple things. Don't worry about knowledge. Get out in the fascinating world of nature and enjoy it! See the Cub Scout Leader How-To Book for many ideas for theme hikes.

ANIMAL TRACKS

Make up outlines of various animal footprints, which are common in your area.  Number the tracks.  Write the animal name on a separate card.  Lay out the footprints and give each boy a chance to match the correct animal name to the footprint number.
Practice this game several times before going out on a hike to look for footprints in the mud or sand.  Take along casting materials and bring back "real" footprints.  Take this game to the pack meeting and let adults try it.


FISHING SKIT

Scene: Cub 1 is standing on the street corner, and the other boys approach him one at a time.
Cub 1: Where did you go on vacation?
Cub 2: My family went fishing at the lake.
Cub 1: Can't catch nothin' there!  Everybody knows that these lakes are very poor for fishing!

-(These lines are repeated by Cubs 2 through 5.)-
Cub 2: No sir, I caught this Sole. (hold up an old shoe on a line.)
Cub 3: No sir, I caught this Snapper. (Rubber band sling shot.)
Cub 4: No sir, I caught these Shellfish. (Shell Oil cans in a net.)
Cub 5: No sir, I caught this Skate. (Roller skate.)
Cub 6: (Enters running and hands a pole to Cub 1.)
Cub 1: Wait a minute, what did you catch?
Cub 6: An old crab.  Gotto go…(And runs off quickly.)
Cubmaster enters with a large foil hook attached to the seat of the pants.