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Ecology Area Ideas?

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I recently accepted a job as Ecology Director at a Boy Scout summer camp. Wasn't planning on doing it, but the Camp Director, who is a good friend of mine was in a lurch and couldn't get anyone to do it. All the Ecology Area has done in the past is merit badge instruction such as Mammal Study, Enviornmental Science, etc. I was wondering if anyone could tell me programs/ideas that other Ecology areas do that are successful so I might be able to use them. Thanks!

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Couple of ideas -

 

1. Critters of the night hike.

2. Presentation by a Scales and Tales group.

3. Contest for the week - collection of the largest insect (alive of course), etc.

4. Real service project opportunities for units.

5. Eco-challenge event of some sort - can be physical or mental.

 

Good luck!

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Best litter cleanup: Not the daily unit trash to the dumpster, but what they find on the trails, in the lakes, and so on. Measure by weight or cube

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I worked in the ECON area last year at my camp in Goshen, CT called Edmund D. Scout Reservation.

 

Rules- You should be aware that now and days we have enviornmental groups to worry about. A critter collection while sounds good should not be left to the campers, which may be harmful to the ecosystem. Leave all collections in your area to the staff, which means all insect and animal collections should be in witness of the campers doing such a thing or collect them yourself. Both ways it is educational and fun, but does not involve the possible destruction or affects to an ecosystem.

 

Heres a few Merit Badge pointers that you should try, which are above average for camps but strive to offer as many badges covering a wide range of topics as you can. Mammal Study, Insect Study, Reptile and Amphibian Study, Nature, Weather, Astronomy, Geology, Oceanography, Bird Study, Enviornmental Science, Fishing(some places this involves another area such as Wilderness and ScoutCraft skills)and also some agrarian sectors can be covered here as well, although have never tried it. They include plant science, farm mechanics, animal science, gardening and others.

 

These are just a few opinions though, what you choose is completely up to you and your camp director.

 

Hopes this helps,

Robert

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An Astronomy night hike is popular at our Summer Camp. Also, the Rocket Launch... usually held at the end of the week is well attended. And, in my opinion quite amuzing as a spectator ;).

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We started 'that sixties night' in the middle of the summer. The scouts like it, but they don't really know what to make of it; neither do I. Since the sixties was a time of environmental awareness, we thought we would celebrate it Thursday nights. We dressed up in sixties aparrel (although mine really was early seventies) made cake, played sixties music, and sat around in a transcendental fashion. I still haven't thought of what to do to make it have more impact, but we're going to keep it for next year. It has potential.

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I worked in the Ecology-Conservation area for one season of Scout Camp. We would offer to take the different troops on nature hikes, that would include plant identification (needed to achieve First Class Rank, if I recall correctly).

 

We had a demonstration called "Incredible Edibles." We would prepare locally edible plants, even fry up some worms. Birch Tea, Sassafras Tea. Japanese beetles, when de-legged and sauteed in butter, are also a treat, believe it or not. In coordination with the Ranger staff, we would complete conservation projects, such as erosion control and brush piles to encourage animal habitation.

 

We had a camp-wide "Catch a Critter" contest. The unit members would bring in various creatures that had to be released ALIVE AND UNHARMED! (this even included fish caught in the lake). They would get so many points for certain animals that they had to correctly identify. The camp also had humane cage-type traps that the boys could set up near their tents and try to lure raccoons or other animals into it. Then the Ecology Conservation staff would go up an verify the animal was caught, and the troop would release the animal.

 

Then we had a "Catch a Litter" contest, where the scouts could write their name on a piece of litter that they picked up (and not taken out of a garbage can!). There would be a daily drawing, and the name drawn would win some little something from the trading post.

 

We would also do a silly skit at the first night campfire. I don't remember much except that the main character was named "Captain E-Con" and had a big "E" on his chest and a cape. As I recalled, he helped some "greenhorn" campers get straight on Nature and Conservation. The basic idea was to advertise the program. It seems like the Rifle Range and Waterfront never have to advertise, but it helped increase our use rate.

 

Still, the most important program is the merit badge program. Look through the entire list--there are a lot of them. The nature area had more merit badge possibilities than any other. Of course, the number one merit badge was Environmental Science. Wilderness Survival and Soil and Water Conservation were next.

 

You might also want to see if National Camp School has a program for Ecology Conservation area directors, and have your Camp Director secure funding for you to go.

 

hope some of this helps,

 

jack messick

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I was on an Ecology Staff for 4 years before moving on to bigger and better things on the Camp Staff. I have taught a wide range of merit badges from Mammal, Bird, Rep & Amphi Studies, Weather, Nature, Space Ex, and more i can't name off the top of my head.

 

Croakers and Peepers hike @ night

Astronomy Hike or Observation

Service Projects (Our camp had a camp award and a service project was manditory, these improve the ecology of camp)

Big Fish Award (biggest fish caught during the week)

Naturalist Award & Conserverator Award (both scouting awards i believe)

Fishing Outpost for Fishing Merit Badge and enthusiasts (off camp if better fishing)

Possibly Surveys of special animals on camp

Bring in experts if you have indangered species on camp

Show off Critters use as an educational tool.

Fish cooking and cleaning demonstration

Daily Weather Reports/ weather wheel or fire meter

 

Ecology isn't always the most popular area in camp, to get scouts down to the area Euchre Tournements are a hit @ my Camp, do it on a night where there isn't a lot going on such as outpost night if you have one. While the scouts are having fun it gets them down to the area and looking around as well.

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Some of those merit badges are listed differently at my camp. 1st of all, Wilderness Survival is taught at "Scoutcraft", we currently do not offer Space Exploration, but will consider it for this summer in adding it to our program. Last year I experimented with Oceanography and I felt that it had a good impact on th kids, will do again this year. You may also want to consider Archaeology in depending on where you live in the country, for example, there is an Indian museum right near our camp, I plan to go there with that merit badge class, hopefully with the Indian Lore people also which is located at Handicraft. So, in all I plan to introduce 2-3 more merit badges to the area this year, all will be by appointment and require me to do extra work by staying after, but is well worth the results and making the kids have the best program and time at summer camp!

 

CTBoyScout101

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