PoolDoc replied to fl_mom_of_2's topic in Advancement ResourcesPoisonous plant ID is a pretty valuable skill, assuming that your troop is actually planning to do some camping. Poison ivy in particular is found throughout the USA and certainly throughout Florida. My son and I are new to scouting, so he when went on his first Scout camping trip this past April. I was dismayed to discover (after the fact!) that not only had the Patrol Leader pitched their tent with the doorway opening squarely onto a patch of poison ivy, but that the SM -- who inspected the location -- didn't note a problem. Several of the boys had mild (fortunately!) reactions the following week. This will NOT happen again! My son had a science project due in May, which I steered toward an study of local plants that contained contact poisons, especially poison ivy, oak and sumac. He can now recognize poison ivy at 50 paces! ;-) (As a bonus, he got 2nd prize for his exhibit . . . and much interest from parents trying to pass his "Can you ID poison ivy?" test booklet.) Many people do not realize that babies are usually NOT sensitive to urushiol, the toxin in PI, PO, and PS, and that most people require multiple exposures to be sensitized. This delayed sensitization misleads many into believing that they are immune, and don't have to worry about it. This can be a terrific problem, since it's not uncommon for people to exhibit their first reaction after a major exposure . . . and for that reaction to be fairly horrendous. There are some pretty gruesome pictures online showing typical moderate to severe reactions to urushiol exposure. Such reactions can even require hospitalization! Needless to say, you do NOT want your son, or his friends, to come home from a trip, only to have a miserable reaction show up on Monday or Tuesday. Even the requirement to recognize the plants, not from books or online pictures, but from actual plants in the field is very appropriate. Poison ivy and poison oak are particularly known for their morphological instability, making them pretty difficult to reliably identify without field experience. Ironically, my son and I challenged a botanist who'd posted some poison ivy pictures online because we were sure that some pictures he had of Floridian poison ivy were misidentified. He readily agreed that those plants had a atypical look but assured us that he was certain of his identification. So, your son not only needs to know what poison ivy looks like typically, he needs to be able to identify what poison ivy looks like in YOUR area. PS: A tip for SM's and other instructors: warn scouts, that if they suspect that they may have handled poison ivy, to ALWAYS wash their hands VERY CAREFULLY with soap and water before urinating. If this is impossible, they MUST 'handle themselves' using a tissue, glove, leave, whatever in order to avoid direct hand-to-organ contact. I've seen medical pictures of guys who failed to do so. Trust me, those pictures make any guy who sees them groan and grab himself! It would be better to pee in your pants, than suffer what those guys did.