Environmental Science Merit Badge
Environmental Science Worksheet
Requirements for the Environmental Science merit badge:
- Make a timeline of the history of environmental science in America. Identify the contribution made by the Boy Scouts of America to environmental science. Include dates, names of people or organizations, and important events.
- Define the following terms: population, community, ecosystem, biosphere, symbiosis, niche, habitat, conservation, threatened species, endangered species, extinction, pollution prevention, brownfield, ozone, watershed, airshed, nonpoint source, hybrid vehicle, fuel cell.
- Do ONE activity from seven of the following categories (using the activities in this pamphlet as the basis for planning and carrying out your projects):
- Conduct an experiment to find out how living things respond to changes in their environments. Discuss your observations with your counselor.
- Conduct an experiment illustrating the greenhouse effect. Keep a journal of your data and observations. Discuss your conclusions with your counselor.
- Discuss what is an ecosystem. Tell how it is maintained in nature and how it survives.
- Air Pollution
- Perform an experiment to test for particulates that contribute to air pollution. Discuss your findings with your counselor.
- Record the trips taken, mileage, and fuel consumption of a family car for seven days, and calculate how many miles per gallon the car gets. Determine whether any trips could have been combined ('chained') rather than taken out and back. Using the idea of trip chaining, determine how many miles and gallons of gas could have been saved in those seven days.
- Explain what is acid rain. In your explanation, tell how it affects plants and the environment and the steps society can take to help reduce its effects.
- Water Pollution
- Conduct an experiment to show how living things react to thermal pollution. Discuss your observations with your counselor.
- Conduct an experiment to identify the methods that could be used to mediate (reduce) the effects of an oil spill on waterfowl. Discuss your results with your counselor.
- Describe the impact of a waterborne pollutant on an aquatic community. Write a 100-word report on how that pollutant affected aquatic life, what the effect was, and whether the effect is linked to biomagnification.
- Land Pollution
- Conduct an experiment to illustrate soil erosion by water. Take photographs or make a drawing of the soil before and after your experiment, and make a poster showing your results. Present your poster to your patrol or troop.
- Perform an experiment to determine the effect of an oil spill on land. Discuss your conclusions with your counselor.
- Photograph an area affected by erosion. Share your photographs with your counselor and discuss why the area has eroded and what might be done to help alleviate the erosion.
- Endangered Species
- Do research on one endangered species found in your state. Find out what its natural habitat is, why it is endangered, what is being done to preserve it, and how many individual organisms are left in the wild. Prepare a 100-word report about the organism, including a drawing. Present your report to your patrol or troop.
- Do research on one species that was endangered or threatened but which has now recovered. Find out how the organism recovered, and what its new status is. Write a 100-word report on the species and discuss it with your counselor.
- With your parent's and counselor's approval, work with a natural resource professional to identify two projects that have been approved to improve the habitat for a threatened or endangered species in your area. Visit the site of one of these projects and report on what you saw.
- Pollution Prevention, Resource Recovery, and Conservation
- Look around your home and determine 10 ways your family can help reduce pollution. Practice at least two of these methods for seven days and discuss with your counselor what you have learned.
- Determine 10 ways to conserve resources or use resources more efficiently in your home, at school, or at camp. Practice at least two of these methods for seven days and discuss with your counselor what you have learned.
- Perform an experiment on packaging materials to find out which ones are biodegradable. Discuss your conclusions with your counselor.
- Using photographs or illustrations, point out the differences between a drone and a worker bee. Discuss the stages of bee development (eggs, larvae, pupae). Explain the pollination process, and what propolis is and how it is used by honey bees. Tell how bees make honey and beeswax, and how both are harvested. Explain the part played in the life of the hive by the queen, the drones, and the workers.
- Present to your counselor a one-page report on how and why honey bees are used in pollinating food crops. In your report, discuss the problems faced by the bee population today, and the impact to humanity if there were no pollinators. Share your report with your troop or patrol, your class at school, or another group approved by your counselor.
- Hive a swarm OR divide at least one colony of honey bees. Explain how a hive is constructed.
- Invasive Species
- Learn to identify the major invasive plant species in your community or camp and explain to your counselor what can be done to either eradicate or control their spread.
- Do research on two invasive plant or animal species in your community or camp. Find out where the species originated, how they were transported to the United States, their life history, how they are spread, and the recommended means to eradicate or control their spread. Report your research orally or in writing to your counselor.
- Take part in a project of at least one hour to eradicate or control the spread of an invasive plant species in your community or camp.
- Choose two outdoor study areas that are very different from one another (e.g., hilltop vs. bottom of a hill; field vs. forest; swamp vs. dry land). For BOTH study areas, do ONE of the following:
- Mark off a plot of four square yards in each study area, and count the number of species found there. Estimate how much space is occupied by each plant species and the type and number of nonplant species you find. Report to your counselor orally or in writing the biodiversity and population density of these study areas. Discuss your report with your counselor.
- Make at least three visits to each of the two study areas (for a total of six visits), staying for at least 20 minutes each time, to observe the living and nonliving parts of the ecosystem. Space each visit far enough apart that there are readily apparent differences in the observations. Keep a journal that includes the differences you observe. Discuss your observations with your counselor.
- Using the construction project provided or a plan you create on your own, identify the items that would need to be included in an environmental impact statement for the project planned.
- Find out about three career opportunities in environmental science. Pick one and find out the education, training, and experience required for this profession. Discuss this with your counselor, and explain why this profession might interest you.
Environmental Science Worksheet
Jul 07, 2015 - Donna Larkin
Can you please explain what #5 for the Environmental Science merit badge? What construction project is provided or what type of project is BSA looking for?Jul 08, 2015 - Scouter Paul
@Donna - The merit badge pamphlet has the necessary info. I can't define what would count as a project out not - that is up to the scout and his merit badge counselor.Jul 09, 2015 - Joanne Weller
Our summer camp is approaching and #4 is a prerequisite to have done prior to camp. Are there are any examples detailing what is needed. My son has typed up his observations listing the information but it appears that the worksheet is repetitive. He has diagrams of his plots, % of each living item, time, weather. Please advise what is needed so that he has the necessary information to finish the badge at camp. Thank you.Jul 13, 2015 - John Shettel
I am interested in working with Boy Scout troops in West Africa around various environmental merit badges, including this particular badge. How do these merit badge requirements for a troop in Silver Spring Maryland apply to troops in The Gambia West Africa. Are the badges contextualized by the Scout Master or has the International Organization already done this. If you can refer me to an International point of contact, I would appreciate it.Jul 19, 2015 - Scouter Paul
@Joanne - The merit badge pamphlet (and the optional worksheet aid) show what should be recorded. Since your son's camp has defined #4 as a PRErequisite, then he really should contact them, or his scoutmaster, to find out what they require. Changing requirements to prerequisites are not the way merit badges were designed to be done. Setting expectations of what is needed for a requirement should be done when meeting with the merit badge counselor.Jul 19, 2015 - Scouter Paul
@John - The Boy Scouts of America program is separate, and not coordinated with, any other country's scouting program. You can find the World Organization of the Scout Movement at scout.orgJun 09, 2016 - Ian Stravopolus
The merit badge pamphlet does not have the necessary info for requirement 5.Jul 12, 2016 - Walter Christensen
@Ian: The 2015 printing of the pamphlet has procedures for requirement 5 on pg 92.Oct 05, 2020 - Fred Mindrup
I think this badge should be required for Eagle.Oct 10, 2020 - John Hudson
@Fred It is required for eagle.Jan 05, 2021 - Camille Luke
I have a son taking Environmental Systems for his Science credit in school currently. Could some, or all, of this class work for this merit badge? Is there anything extra he would need to do to complete it?Jan 05, 2021 - Scouter Paul
@Camille - Sure, some of it could count towards his merit badge, if some of the schoolwork matches up with the merit badge requirements. He needs to discuss this with his merit badge counselor to determine what could count and set expectations.Apr 01, 2021 - Charlotte
I was looking in the merit badge book and I didn't see any construction plan in there. Am I not looking in the right places?May 03, 2021 - Ann King
Charlotte it is in the merit badge pamphlet under Environmental Impact Assessment. The Scout makes up an imaginary construction project that might be made in his or her community, such as a new school on land that was farmland or a new office building on a lot with an old building that is beyond repair. They pick a real site for an imaginary project and gather the data on the environmental impact that project would have, going through the various steps set forth in the pamphlet (not the worksheet).Jul 07, 2021 - Rebecca Smotrilla
Do merit badges have suggested ages? This one was selected for my 12 yr old, scout rank. I was him to get the most out of the work but it seems like college-level work to me. Thoughts?Jul 07, 2021 - Scouter Paul
@Rebecca - You are correct that some merit badges are more challenging that others, for either physical or mental development, but there are no age limits. Environmental Sciences tends to be started after the scout is experienced in how merit badges work. This Merit Badges for Eagle PDF shows a sample way to earn the merit badges in four years, and which ones work well at summer camp.
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