Soil and Water Conservation Merit Badge
Activity Guide for Patrol Leaders
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Soil and Water ConservationMerit Badge C) Prerequisites - Scouts
Work to be done prior to program start:

    Print Merit Badge Workbook - One for each scout.
    Req #2: Soil Erosion Pictures - Take 2-3 pictures of soil erosion in your neighborhood (maybe a hillside or near a river).
    Req #3: Erosion Control Pictures - Take 2-3 pictures of soil erosion in your neighborhood (maybe a construction site).
    Select Field Trip Goals - Patrol Leader Council Meeting - several options to choose from here!

Soil and Water ConservationMerit Badge D) Study Hall

The purpose of this section is to facilitate an opportunity for scouts to research and learn about key concepts relevant to this subject. They need to be prepared to explain these to the counselor.

While some scouts may be adept at self-study, others may do better in a small group setting and taking notes on worksheets. You can facilitate discussion by asking them why each of the principles intruduced here would be relevant.

    Req #1: What is Soil -
    Show the Presentation from Discovery Education shows the basics of "dirt".
    Oral Quiz for Scouts: a) What is Soil? b) List three kinds of soil did they see? and c) List three plant nutrients?

    Req #2: Soil Erosion

      Soil Erosion - (2a,2b,2c) website presentation on the three main forms of soil erosion.
      Soil Erosion Pictures - (2d) Scouts explain their prerequisite pictures.

    Erosion Control

    Req #3: Erosion Control

      Erosion Control Practices - (3a, 3b) The National Soil Erosion Research Laboratory at Purdue University presents five common methods for soil erosion control.
      Erosion Control Pictures - (3c) Scouts explain their prerequisite pictures.

    Req #4: The Watershed -
    Presentation by Watershed Atlas: A watershed carries water "shed" from the land after rain falls and snow melts. Drop by drop, water is channeled into soils, groundwaters, creeks, and streams, making its way to larger rivers and eventually the sea.

    Hydrological Cycle
    Courtesy of U.S. Geological Survey

    Req #5: The Hydrological Cycle

    The chart above and the experiment below can be run easily to demonstrate the Hydrological Cycle.

    Req #6: Water Pollution

      Water Pollution: Lentech - Oral Quiz - Water Pollution: a) What is it? b) What are some common sources?
      Waste Water Treatment - Oral Quiz - c) Describe primary and secondary steps in wastewater treatment and d) Treatment Design Plan -

    Waste Water Treatment Cycle
    Courtesy Karen Mancl - Ohio State University

    Req #X: Patrol Planning Meeting:
    Patrol leaders meet to plan details for Patrol Activity and Field Trip suggested below.

E/F) Patrol Activity / Field Trip

    Erosion Control Req #7: Conservation Field Tour:
    In close consultation with your merit badge counselor, Do TWO of the following activities. You might plan this as part of a campout or day trip.

      a. Make a trip to two of the following places. Write a report of more than 500 words about the soil and water and energy conservation practices you saw.
      1. An agricultural experiment.
      2. A managed forest or a woodlot, range, or pasture.
      3. A wildlife refuge or a fish or game management area.
      4. A conservation-managed farm or ranch.
      5. A managed watershed.
      6. A waste-treatment plant.
      7. A public drinking water treatment plant.
      8. An industry water-use installation.
      9. A desalinization plant.

      b. Plant 100 trees, bushes and/or vines for a good purpose.
      c. Seed an area of at least one-fifth acre for some worthwhile conservation purposes, using suitable grasses or legumes alone or in a mixture.
      d. Study a soil survey report. Describe the things in it. Using tracing paper and pen, trace over any of the soil maps, and outline an area with three or more different kinds of soil. List each kind of soil by full name and map symbol.
      e. Make a list of places in your neighborhood, camps, school ground, or park having erosion, sedimentation, or pollution problems. Describe how these could be corrected through individual or group action.
      f. Carry out any other soil and water conservation project approved by your merit badge counselor.

Soil and Water Conservation Merit Badge G) Program Debriefing

After completion of the above activities you may need a work session to finish completion of the merit badge worksheet to document the results of your visits, activities and the people you interviewed for Requirement #7.

Extra Credit:

Soil and Water Conservation is one of the elective merit badges for the World Conservation Award for Boy Scouts, and one of the elective merit badges for the William T. Hornaday awards for Boy Scouts and Varsity Scouts.

Merit Badge BSA World Conservation Award

Soil and Water Conservation is one of just three merit badges needed to earn this unique and prestigious scouting award.

An important opportunity for individual Scouts to 'think globally' and 'act locally' to preserve and improve our environment.


I) Soil and Water Conservation Famous Quotes:

    Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's needs, but not every man's greed. ? Mahatma Gandhi.
    Here is your country. Cherish these natural wonders, cherish the natural resources, cherish the history and romance as a sacred heritage, for your children and your children's children. Do not let selfish men or greedy interests skin your country of its beauty, its riches or its romance.- Theodore Roosevelt

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