Is there a Scout Merit Badge that directly involves the use of iNat, or could involve the use of INat? A Scout troup is planning to camp on our farm and I am hopeful that we can get them involved in pariticpating in our citizen science biodiversity survey which uses iNat, Jack Spruill email@example.com
Our biodiversity survey is at https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/spruill-farm-conservation-project
This could be possible, but you need to talk to the scout troop leaders about this because they may need to get someone in place who can verify the work is being done correctly.
There are two key requirements every scout needs to do that work well with iNaturalist, but I don’t know the native plants versus introduced plants in your area.
For the Second Class Rank:
Identify or show evidence of at least ten kinds of wild animals (such as birds, mammals, reptiles, fish, mollusks) found in your local area or camping location. You may show evidence by tracks, signs, or photographs you have taken.
For the First Class Rank:
Identify or show evidence of at least 10 kinds of native plants found in your local area or campsite location. You may show evidence by identifying fallen leaves or fallen fruit that you find in the field, or as part of a collection you have made, or by photographs you have taken.
Regarding merit badges, the most obvious ones are “Bird Study”, “Mammal Study”, and “Nature”.
Bird Study might make the most sense because I see many of the observations in your project are birds.
Observe and be able to identify at least 20 species of wild birds. Prepare a field notebook, making a separate entry for each species, and record the following information from your field observations and other references.
Note the date and time. Note the location and habitat. Describe the bird's main feeding habitat and list two types of food that the bird is likely to eat. Note whether the bird is a migrant or a summer, winter, or year-round resident of your area.
Explain the function of a bird’s song. Be able to identify five of the 20 species in your field notebook by song or call alone. For each of these five species enter a description of the song or call, and note the behavior of the bird making the sound. Note why you think the bird was making the call or song that you heard.
Go on a field trip with a local club or with others who are knowledgeable about birds in your area. Keep a list or fill out a checklist of all the birds your group observed during the field trip. Tell your counselor which birds your group saw and why some species were common and some were present in small numbers. Tell your counselor what makes the area you visited good for finding birds.
I don’t know if Mammal Study is appropriate since I don’t see many mammals in your project.
Nature is a little harder to do because extra work is required.
Do all the requirements in FIVE of the following fields:
BIRDS In the field, identify eight species of birds. Make and set out a birdhouse OR a feeding station OR a birdbath. List what birds used it during a period of one month. MAMMALS In the field, identify three species of wild mammals. Make plaster casts of the tracks of a wild mammal. REPTILES and AMPHIBIANS Show that you can recognize the venomous snakes in your area. In the field, identify three species of reptiles or amphibians. Recognize one species of toad or frog by voice; OR identify one reptile or amphibian by eggs, den, burrow or other signs. INSECTS and SPIDERS Collect and identify either in the field or through photographs 10 species of insects or spiders.* Hatch an insect from the pupa or cocoon; OR hatch adults from nymphs; OR keep larvae until they form pupae or cocoons; OR keep a colony of ants or bees through one season. FISH Identify two species of fish native to your area. Collect four kinds of animal food eaten by fish in the wild. MOLLUSKS AND CRUSTACEANS Identify five species of mollusks and crustaceans. Collect, mount, and label six shells. PLANTS In the field, identify 15 species of wild plants. Collect and label seeds of six plants; OR the leaves of 12 plants. SOILS AND ROCKS Collect and identify soils found in different layers of a soil profile. Collect and identify five different types of rocks from your area..
One more important consideration: many troops have a “no electronics” rule. You definitely need to work this out with the scout troop leaders.
Another consideration: You do need to be 13+ yrs old to have your own iNat acct, though parents or scout master can help admin for younger.
We do have a special path for getting parental permission for people under 13: https://www.inaturalist.org/user_parents/new
Most people end up here via Seek (which is why we built it). When we come across accounts that identify themselves as under 13 or we otherwise learn they’re under 13 we also need them to go through this process.
Thanks for that. It’s been about 50 years since I last got a Cub/Scout badge! It saves me having to track it down.
https://www.boyscouttrail.com/boy-scouts/meritbadges/environmental-science-merit-badge.asp addresses endangered species, invasive species, pollination and as one of the possible set of activities includes making observations in a study area:
- 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.
There’s a ready-made worksheet for all the badge requirements here: http://usscouts.org/usscouts/mb/worksheets/old/Environmental-Science-15.pdf and the 97-page “pamphlet” is here: http://troop142bsa.org/mb_pamphlets/Environmental%20Science.pdf
There are over 130 merit badges available. There are also some key rank requirements that can be completed using iNaturalist. You should contact the adult leaders in that scout troop and discuss this idea with them. They will likely know what will work with their scouts and how to handle the details. You can help them understand what is possible with iNaturalist and how this will help your organization.
Understanding and explaining what is possible is important. For example if you think they will see mostly birds then cell phones may not work well, but cell phones are great for plants. (A disclaimer: I use an older cell phone with only a single camera…maybe the newer ones work better…I would not know.)
Are you aware of this:
There seems to be several ways in which iNaturalist could partner with this worldwide …
The Girl Scouts of USA uses Sci starter for their Citizen Science projects. This links to a variety of Citizen Science projects, including iNaturalist. It’s a nice way to keep data from the troop together. They do have a Citizen Science badge. I would be surprised if the Boy Scouts (or just Scouts now?) does not.
Having said that, most of my Girl Scout parents were either not interested or not able to create a log-in for their girls, so that was more of a stumbling block than anything.
I still have my WWF scout merit badge based on a dodgy essay I wrote about a species I’d never seen before. I’d like an iNat one, it’d mean so much more to me. Can I get one? :)