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Well, there are a few ideas to do.


One is to incorporate things that can be see only at dark: star gazing, setup a sheet with a light to attract night bugs. To make this more effective, make the boys use red lens on their lights to get their eyes more light sensitive.


If you have the time to set things up, you can do night geocaching. You can use small reflective items on trees to help mark the trail, that is shown only with flashlights.

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All of the above...


Ask around and find someone with a good telescope and look at Jupiter and Saturn, both of which are visible this time of year, Jupiter early in the evening, Saturn much later (how late do you want to stay up??)



Altho it is no longer a FC rank requirement, find the North Star and talk about navigation.

Learn the major constellations and you can tell some of their stories, either American Indian, or Egyptian or Roman or whatever. I always liked the Iroquois story about the bears...

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"Altho it is no longer a FC rank requirement, find the North Star and talk about navigation. "


While the North Star isn't a specific requirement, night navigation without a compass is.




"1. Demonstrate how to find directions during the day and at night without using a compass."



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Nocturnal animals have some really cool physical and behavioral adaptations so they can be active at night. This includes their eyesight, hearing and smell.


A discussion on animal niches & habitat, as well as hunting behavior and survival strategies might intrigue your boys. Besides the fact that a lot of things "go bump in the night..." Have fun!!

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I love night hikes!


Granted, ours are done on the Cub level and not Boy level.


First thing we do is tell everybody that NO LIGHTS ALLOWED! No exceptions! Okay a few leaders have flashlights in their pockets in case of an accident or unexpected emergency, but do not use them just for hiking.



Before we hike, we explain how you can only see a limited area that happens to be lit up when using lights, but go without them, and your eyes will adapt after a few moments - and you can see a bigger, wider longer area all around you without the lights.


Then we talk about looking slightly to the side of what you want to see instead of staring directly at it.

Talk about yellow eyes in the trees and greenish one on the ground: all visible if you are lucky and paying attention. Mostly if you are clam and quiet.


Then right before we set out, one last bit of advice: If you feel something crawl across your foot, there is no need to scream since if you stay calm, it will probably only bite you once! :)


Then we hike. Any time you come to a clearing, take advantage of looking ar stars or the sky. Point out constellations or even have a telescope set up in a clearing.


Maybe pick a clearing and tell about a local haunt story. We talk about "The Devil's Stomping Grounds" in Siler City, NC. We tell them if they think we are making it up..then google it. The site(s) are vague enough that they never know for sure! :)


Then talk about and re-emphasize the buddy system and it's importantance.


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We took the tigers night hiking at a local nature preserve earlier this year and had a great time. The guide assigned to us did a fantastic job. First made sure that everyone's flashlight either had a red bulb in it or taped red cellophane over it to minimize the light's impact on our night vision. During the hike she pointed out lots of signs of animal activity that could be observed at night. When we got to a clearing she brought out her laser pointer and did a short intro to stargazing pointing out some of the major stars.


One thing she did was pretty cool, I'm not sure if I remember exactly how it was done but I think it went like this. She divided us up into two groups, had each group line up facing the other, say about 15 to 20 feet apart, all lights off. Told everyone to focus on the face of the person opposite them, and after a few seconds, the face disappeared. The explanation was that your eyes receptor cells for color, the cones, are grouped in the center of your retina, and the rods (which sense only white light) are more prevalent around the periphery, so that in low light, your peripheral vision is stronger than your central vision, and focusing on something in the middle of your field of view can make is vanish. I don't know if the boys understood all that, but it was pretty cool.




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  • 2 weeks later...

We're looking at doing at least one of the Hiking MB 10-milers at night . . . partly because it's cool, and partly to generate 'bragging rights' for our new Scouts and partly to develop a practical awareness of what it takes to move around at night.


Had anyone else done this?


Some of us have hiked 5+ miles at night with no lights, but none of us have done it with boys before.


TN Scout Troop

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Teach the Scouts to look at all the spiders in the leaves and pinestraw, by seeing their eyes reflecting light. I have found using a headlight works well. The reflections look like water drops reflecting light. When you learn to see them, it is amazing how many spiders are out there - most are very small.

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