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Environmental Science Merit Badge Guide

Environmental Science Merit Badge Guide

The Environmental Science Merit Badge is a unique and engaging educational program for young individuals, particularly those associated with the Scouts. This merit badge program introduces participants to the multidimensional and highly impactful world of environmental science, driving a sense of responsibility towards the environment.

Participants learn the foundational concepts of environmental science, which encompass the study of interactions among physical, chemical, and biological components of the environment. By earning this merit badge, scouts develop a deeper understanding of how human activities affect the natural world and ways we can lessen our environmental footprint.

Through a blend of theoretical learning and practical activities, the Environmental Science Merit Badge provides scouts with the opportunity to observe and investigate various environmental phenomena. These include topics like air pollution, water quality, soil conservation, and the delicate balance of ecosystems.

Environmental Science Merit Badge Requirements

Environmental Science Merit Badge Requirements
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. Do ONE activity from SEVEN of the following EIGHT categories (using the activities in this pamphlet as the basis for planning and carrying out your projects):
(a) Ecology
(1) Conduct an experiment to find out how living things respond to changes in their environments. Discuss your observations with your counselor.
(2) Conduct an experiment illustrating the greenhouse effect. Keep a journal of your data and observations. Discuss your conclusions with your counselor.
(3) Discuss what is an ecosystem. Tell how it is maintained in nature and how it survives.

(b) Air Pollution
(1) Perform an experiment to test for particulates that contribute to air pollution. Discuss your findings with your counselor.
(2) 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.
(3) 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.

(c) Water Pollution
(1) Conduct an experiment to show how living things react to thermal pollution. Discuss your observations with your counselor.
(2) 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.
(3) 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.

(d) Land Pollution
(1) 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 counselor.
(2) Perform an experiment to determine the effect of an oil spill on land. Discuss your conclusions with your counselor.
(3) 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.

(e) Endangered Species
(1) 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.
(2) Do research on one species that was endangered or threatened but that 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.
(3) 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.

(f) Pollution Prevention, Resource Recovery, and Conservation
(1) 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.
(2) 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 five days and discuss with your counselor what you have learned.
(3) Perform an experiment on packaging materials to find out which ones are biodegradable. Discuss your conclusion with your counselor.

(g) Pollination
(1) 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.
(2) Present your counselor a one-page report on how and why honeybees 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.
(3) Hive a swarm or divide at least one colony of honey bees. Explain how a hive is constructed.

(h) Invasive Species
(1) 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.
(2) 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.
(3) 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.
4. 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:
(a) Mark off a plot of 4 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.

(b) 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.
5. Identify the items that would need to be included in an environmental impact statement for a construction project such as building a house, adding a new building to your Scout camp, or one you create on your own that is approved by your counselor.
6. 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.

Scientific Method

Imagine that you are watching a line of ants carrying pieces of food from a picnic site to an anthill. If you push the ants aside, they soon line up again. 

You want to know how the ants know where to line up. To try to answer that question, you follow a series of steps known as the scientific method.

First, you state the problem you want to solve and how ants know where to line up. Then you gather information about ants. Perhaps you do some research on ants in the library.
Second, you form a hypothesis, that is, you formulate a statement or question that can be tested. Your hypothesis might be a statement such as Ants know where to line up because they can see one another.
Next, test your hypothesis by performing an experiment. In your experiment, you place food in one corner of a box and ants at the other end. When the ants have found the food and have formed a line to carry it, you disrupt the line and then turn off the lights.
Now, you analyze your results. Did the ants line up again? If the ants lined up even in the dark, you might draw a conclusion that they do not need to see one another in order to line up, so your hypothesis is wrong.

Your conclusion would be that ants must use some sense other than sight to line up. Sometimes, when the results of an experiment do not support a hypothesis, you can use what you learned to formulate a new hypothesis and carry out a new experiment to test the new hypothesis.
Steps in the Scientific Method

Not all hypotheses can be tested by doing an experiment in a laboratory. Some hypotheses are tested by observing events and collecting facts.

You could test which kinds of birdseed a particular type of bird prefers just by observing what birds eat at several feeders.

Also Read: Eagle Required Merit Badges

Define Terms in Environmental Science

The population is all the organisms of the same group or species who live in the same geographical area and are capable of interbreeding.
The Community is a group of interacting living organisms sharing a populated environment.
The Ecosystem is a community of living organisms (plants, animals, and microbes) in conjunction with the nonliving components of their environment.
The Biosphere is part of the earth and its atmosphere in which living organisms exist or that is capable of
supporting life.
Symbiosis is a close and often interaction long-term between two or more different biological species.
Niche is the way of life of a species
Habitat is an ecological or environmental area that is inhabited by a particular species of animal, plant and other types of organisms.
Conservation is a practice that protects animals, plants, and the environment.
Threatened Species are any species (including animals, plants, fungi, etc.) that are vulnerable to endangerment in the near future.
Endangered Species are the species of animals or plants that are in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range.
Endangered Species are the species of animals or plants that are in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of their range.
Pollution Prevention is activities that reduce the amount of pollution generated by a process, whether it is consumer consumption, driving, or industrial production.
Brownfield is sites are abandoned or underused industrial and commercial facilities available for re-use.
Ozone is a gas molecule composed of three oxygen atoms contained in the earth’s atmosphere and ultraviolet radiation at certain wavelengths. Ozone protects the earth from harmful UV radiation which damages skin, eyes, and the immune system of life forms.
Watershed is the area of land where all of the water that is under it or drains off of it goes into the same place.
An airshed is areas within which the air frequently is confined or channeled, with all parts of the area being subject to similar conditions of air pollution.
Nonpoint Source is pollution, unlike pollution from industrial and sewage treatment plants, comes from many diffuse sources.
Hybrid Vehicle a vehicle that uses two or more distinct power sources to move the vehicle.
Fuel Cell is a device that converts the chemical energy from a fuel into electricity through a chemical reaction with oxygen or another oxidizing agent.
Define Term in Environmental Science

The following information is in answering the third requirement of the Environment Science Merit Badge.

Understanding Ecology

Although laws and agencies have been established to help protect and preserve nature, much more needs to be done. Before you can help protect nature, you must understand how it works.

Imagine that you are standing on the bank of a quiet river in Florida. Along the banks of this river, you see a great blue heron, an alligator, a rat snake, and a raccoon. On a rock in the river, a Florida red-bellied turtle basks in the sun.

Looking down into the water, you see the long body of a fish called a gar gliding through slender leaves of eelgrass. Snails feed as they travel among the water plants. Here and there, whirligig beetles dot the water’s surface.

Tiny duckweed plants float near the quiet banks. A bullfrog jumps from the river’s edge and disappears into the water.

All of the living things in and around the river are connected in some way. Bullfrogs eat whirligig beetles. Herons eat bullfrogs, rat snakes, gars, and hatchling red-bellied turtles.

Raccoons eat bullfrogs, insects, worms, and snails. Snails and adult turtles eat aquatic (water) plants. In nature, living things interact in many ways.

1. Living things in the Environment

Snails, red-bellied turtles, and eelgrass are living things. All living things have the ability to reproduce, that is, to make more of the same kind of living thing. Living things also change during their lifetimes.

They grow and develop and have a life span that eventually ends in death. Another important characteristic of living things is that they can usually adjust to their surroundings. They can respond to changes in their environments.

Scientists call living things organisms. Think of all the millions of organisms that inhabit Earth. Organisms can be found in the deepest oceans and on the highest mountains. Some bacteria can even be found high in the Earth’s atmosphere.

The part of Earth that contains and supports living things is known as the biosphere. The biosphere is all parts of Earth where life exists on land, in water, or in the air.

Within the biosphere are many different kinds of environments. Beaches, forests, glaciers, deserts, and rivers are environments.

Every environment on Earth includes both the living things found there and the physical, or nonliving, environment.

in which living things exist. Think about the living things in your own environment. No matter where you live, organisms surround you.

The bacteria on your skin, your pet, the fleas on your pet, the spider in a corner, and the plants growing outside are organisms in your environment.

You have interactions with the bacteria, your pet, its fleas, the spider, and the plants, but these interactions are not the only ones in your environment. There also are nonliving things that influence the organisms in every environment.

2. Nonliving things in the Environment

Let’s go back to that Florida river you imagined before and think of nonliving things. You probably know that the water in the river is nonliving, but what about the wind? The sunlight? Rocks in the river? The soil that supports the plants growing at the river’s edge?

These are all nonliving things that interact with the living organisms in the river environment.

In your environment, the weather affects you and your pets. The soap you use when you shower affects the bacteria on your skin. Sunlight, temperature, rainfall, and minerals in the soil affect the plants outside.

The important interactions between nonliving and living things determine which living things can share an environment with which nonliving things.

Let’s look at four nonliving factors to find out how they affect the living things in an environment.

A. Water

Life on Earth would be impossible without water. The bodies of most organisms are 50 to 95 percent water. Water is necessary for many life processes, including respiration, photosynthesis, and digestion.

Water covers more than 70 percent of Earth’s surface. But about 97 percent of the water on Earth is salt water contained in oceans. That means only about 3 percent is freshwater.

Most of the freshwater is not available to living things, because it is frozen in the ice caps or glaciers.

In fact, only a tiny fraction of Earth’s water is freshwater that is available to organisms. This freshwater is in rivers, ponds, lakes, streams,
underground water supplies (aquifers), or in water vapor.

B. Soil

Soil is formed by the physical and chemical breakdown of rocks and by the actions of living things. The breakdown of rock into soil releases minerals that organisms need for their life processes.

These minerals return to the soil when organisms die and decay. Decayed material that once was living is called organic matter. The more organic matter in the soil, the more fertile it is.

Soil determines the type of plant life that can grow in certain environments. Therefore, the soil has an effect on the other organisms that can live there, too.

Among the factors that determine which organisms can live in a particular soil, the environment is the mineral and organic matter content, air content, and soil texture.

C. Sunlight

Nearly all living things depend upon the sun for energy, either directly or indirectly. Plants, algae, and some other organisms “trap” sunlight and capture its energy in the
process of photosynthesis.

Plants use this energy to power their life processes, or they store it. When a snail eats a plant, for example, the snail uses the stored energy in the plant to carry out life processes such as breathing and moving.

When a raccoon eats the snail, the energy is passed along. Green plants, algae, and other photosynthetic organisms must live where there is sunlight.

In aquatic environments, photosynthetic organisms can live only in the top layer of the water, where sunlight can reach the organisms.

D. Temperature

In general, the temperature of an environment depends on the amount of sunlight it gets. Air is heated more at the equator than at the poles.

This is why tropical areas near the equator are hot, the polar regions are cold, and the regions in between have moderate temperatures.

Temperatures also are affected by Earth’s rotation, by winds and ocean currents created by that rotation, by the tilt of Earth on its axis (see the illustration), and by elevation.

As you hike up a mountain, the air temperature drops. That is why it is possible to have a snowball fight on top of Mount Baldy at Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico in July!

earth orbit
Earth’s Orbit

3. interactions among living things

Think again of the organisms living in a Florida river. There are several different species of turtles living there. A species is a group of organisms that has characteristics in common and can breed to produce offspring.

For example, red-bellied turtles can mate with other red-bellied turtles to produce baby red-bellied turtles. In the river, there are at least three species of turtles red-bellied turtles, cooters, and common snapping turtles.

All the individual red-bellied turtles living in the river make up a population of red-bellied turtles. All the cooters make up a population of cooters, and all the snapping turtles make up a population of snapping turtles.

You can see that the river environment contains many different populations of organisms.

Populations of organisms, of course, do not live alone in the environment. Most interact with other populations in a given area. The red-bellied turtles interact with the eelgrass
(by eating it).

The eelgrass provides hiding places for young fish and tadpoles. The great blue herons eat the bullfrogs. Populations are constantly changing in size, density, and age as they respond to changes in their environment.

If the herons eat all of the adult bullfrogs in the river, for example, the population of bullfrogs will include only tadpoles and eggs.

The Answer for Requirement Number 1

The history of environmental science in America is intricately woven with various key events, influential people, and organizations. Here’s a brief timeline showcasing the evolution of environmental science in the country, along with the contributions made by the Boy Scouts of America.

Time PeriodKey Environmental MilestonesDetailed Descriptions
Pre-17th CenturyNative American Sustainability PracticesNative American tribes utilized resources like forests, waterways, and grasslands sustainably for thousands of years. When local resources were depleted, they relocated to enable natural recovery.
1620s-1690sEstablishment of Plymouth Colony and Timber RegulationsThe Plymouth Colony was the first English colony in Massachusetts. In 1626, Plymouth leaders implemented a pioneering regulation on the harvesting and sale of timber on colony lands.
1680s-1720sWestern Expansion and Fur TrappingThe inception of Government Environmental Protection Programs
1750s-1850sThe First Industrial RevolutionThe advent of industrialization and steam engine technology spiked demand for nonrenewable resources such as metals and coal. The beginning of significant carbon emissions was noted.
1840s-1900The Forestry merit badge was introduced in 1911. In 1916, Congress established the National Parks Service, to maintain protected park lands. Atmospheric carbon pollution reached around 300 PPM during this time.The US Department of Interior was established in 1849 to conserve and manage federal lands. In 1892, environmentalist John Muir founded the Sierra Club, promoting wilderness preservation.
1900s-1910Founding of Scouting in AmericaScouts BSA, originally the ‘Boy Scouts of America,’ was founded in 1910 by William D. Boyce. This followed the 1905 creation of the US Forestry Service by conservation pioneer Gifford Pinchot and President Theodore Roosevelt.
1910s-1920Protection of National ParksBenton MacKaye, a pioneering regional planner, created plans for the Appalachian Trail, a 2000-mile trail along the USA’s east coast in 1921.
1920s-1930The Great Depression and the Appalachian TrailBenton MacKaye, a pioneering regional planner, created plans for the Appalachian trail, a 2000-mile trail along the USA’s east coast in 1921.
1930s-1940Dust Bowl Era and Environmental DevelopmentsUnrestrained farming methods resulted in the ‘Dust Bowl,’ severely damaging North American prairies. The Fish and Wildlife Act was passed in 1934, and the Philmont Scout Ranch was established in 1938.
1940s-1950WWII Era and Environmental InitiativesIn 1948, The World Conservation Union (formerly The International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources) and The Defenders Of Wildlife nonprofit were founded.
1950s-1960Early Cold War and Scouting ContributionsThe BSA introduced the Nature and Soil&Water Conservation merit badges in 1952. In 1954, nuclear power was first harnessed for civilian electricity in the USSR, and in 1955, the US Air Pollution Control Act was enacted.
1960s-1970Mid Cold War and Environmental MovementsThe Multiple-Use Sustained-Yield Act was established in 1960. Rachel Carson’s groundbreaking book, Silent Spring, was published in 1962, revealing the risks of chemical pesticides to the environment.
1970s-1980Late Cold War and Scouting AdvancementsEarth Day was inaugurated on April 22, 1970, the same year as the establishment of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In 1972, the BSA initiated the Environmental Science merit badge, and in 1976, they instituted the World Conservation Award.
1980s-1990Collapse of USSR and Environmental DevelopmentsSuperfund, an environmental clean-up program, was established in 1980. In 1986, the Chernobyl nuclear disaster occurred. The global population hit 5 billion in 1987.
1990s-2000Turn of the Century and Environmental MilestonesThe National Environmental Education Act was passed in 1990, and the first Earth Summit took place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 1992. The first genetically modified (GMO) crops appeared on the market in 1994.
2000s-2010The Digital Age and Scouting’s Evolving RoleIn 2002, Scouting launched the Leave No Trace Front-country Guidelines and Leave No Trace Award. In 2001, the US declined to sign the Kyoto Protocol, aiming to reduce global carbon emissions. By 2010, atmospheric carbon pollution hit around 400 PPM.
2010s-2020The Information Age and Environmental ProgressIn 2013, Scouting introduced the Sustainability merit badge. The Paris sustainability agreement was signed in 2015. In 2017, the US withdrew from the Paris Accords. The COVID-19 pandemic swept across the globe in 2020.

This comprehensive table highlights the timeline of environmental science in the United States along with the significant contributions of the Boy Scouts of America.

The Answer for Requirement Number 2

PopulationA group of individuals of the same species living in a specific geographical area at a certain time.
CommunityDifferent populations of various species interacting in a shared environment.
EcosystemA complex network of organisms, including plants, animals, and microorganisms, interacting with each other and their non-living environment (e.g., weather, earth, sun, soil, climate, and atmosphere).
BiosphereThe global sum of all ecosystems, incorporating all life on Earth and the physical environments in which they live.
SymbiosisA close and long-term biological interaction between two different biological organisms.
NicheThe role an organism plays in its ecosystem, including its use of resources and relationships with other organisms.
HabitatThe natural environment where an organism lives. It includes physical and biological surroundings.
ConservationThe preservation, management, and care of natural resources and biodiversity.
Threatened SpeciesSpecies face a high risk of extinction in the wild.
Endangered SpeciesMeasures are taken to reduce or eliminate the production of pollutants.
ExtinctionThe state where all members of a particular species have died out.
Pollution PreventionMeasures taken to reduce or eliminate the production of pollutants.
BrownfieldA former industrial or commercial site where future use is affected by real or perceived environmental contamination.
OzoneA gas molecule composed of three oxygen atoms. It occurs both in the Earth’s upper atmosphere (stratospheric ozone) and at ground level (tropospheric ozone). It can be good or bad depending on its location.
WatershedThe land area that channels rainfall and snowmelt to creeks, streams, and rivers, and eventually to outflow points such as reservoirs, bays, and the ocean.
AirshedA part of the atmosphere that behaves in a coherent way with respect to the dispersion of emissions. It typically forms a geographic basin and can be used to describe an air pollution environment.
Nonpoint SourceA source of pollution that issues from widely distributed or pervasive environmental elements. Unlike pollution from industrial and sewage treatment plants, it comes from many diffuse sources.
Hybrid VehicleA vehicle that uses more than one form of onboard energy to achieve propulsion. Typically, this involves a conventional internal combustion engine and an electric motor.
Fuel CellA device that converts chemical potential energy (energy stored in molecular bonds) into electrical energy. Fuel cells differ from batteries in that they require a continuous source of fuel and oxygen to sustain the chemical reaction.

Also Read: Oceanography Merit Badge

The Answer for Requirement Number 3 Ecology

Task A1: Conduct an experiment to find out how living things respond to changes in their environments

For this task, you could conduct a simple experiment using plants, illustrating how they respond to varying light conditions.

Materials needed:

  1. Two identical potted plants
  2. One cardboard box


  1. Place both plants in a sunny location for a few days to allow them to acclimate to the conditions.
  2. After a few days, move one plant (Plant B) into the cardboard box, which you’ll keep in the same location but will block light. Keep the other plant (Plant A) in its original sunny spot.
  3. Over the course of a week, observe and record changes in both plants. Note changes in leaf color, stem direction, and overall health.

This experiment illustrates how living organisms (in this case, plants) respond to changes in their environment (light availability). Discuss your findings with your counselor.

Task A2: Conduct an experiment illustrating the greenhouse effect

To demonstrate the greenhouse effect, you’ll need two clear plastic containers, two thermometers, and a lamp that emits heat.


  1. Place the thermometers in the two containers and cover them.
  2. Position the lamp so it shines on both containers and turn it on.
  3. Over several hours, record the temperature in both containers at regular intervals.
  4. One container simulates the Earth’s atmosphere without greenhouse gases, while the other simulates the Earth’s atmosphere with greenhouse gases.

Discuss the differences in temperature you observe between the two containers, and how this experiment represents the greenhouse effect, with your counselor.

Task A3: Discuss what is an ecosystem

An ecosystem refers to a complex network of organisms, including plants, animals, and microorganisms, interacting with each other and their non-living environment (weather, earth, sun, soil, climate, and atmosphere). Ecosystems can be as large as a forest or as small as a puddle.

Ecosystems are maintained in nature through a balance of energy flows and nutrient cycles. Energy flows from the sun to plants (which are producers) and then to animals (consumers). Nutrients are cycled through various parts of the ecosystem.

An ecosystem survives through a balance between producers, consumers, and decomposers, and the natural recycling of nutrients back into the environment. Any disruption in this balance (for example, from pollution or human activities) can impact the health of the ecosystem.

Discuss these concepts and how they relate to specific examples of ecosystems with your counselor.

The Answer for Requirement Number 4

For this task, you’ll be conducting an ecological survey of two different outdoor areas. Let’s use the example of a forest and a field. Here are the steps:

  1. Choose and mark your plots: In each area, mark a plot of 4 square yards. You can do this using string and stakes.
  2. Identify and count species: In each plot, count the number of different species you find. This includes both plant and non-plant species. You may want to bring field guides to help identify different species. Record all species found in each plot.
  3. Estimate space occupancy: For each plant species, estimate how much space it occupies within the plot. You can do this by visually assessing what percentage of the plot is taken up by each plant species.
  4. Count non-plant species: For each non-plant species (e.g., insects, birds observed, mammal tracks), estimate the number you find in each plot.
  5. Report findings: Report your findings on the biodiversity (the number of different species) and population density (the number of individuals per species) in each plot. Discuss or write about any differences you noticed between the two plots and any possible reasons for these differences.

For example, a very simplified data table might look something like this:

Study AreaSpeciesNumberSpace Occupied (%)
ForestOak tree360%
ForestSquirrel (tracks)1N/A
ForestBlackbird (observed)2N/A
FieldGrassMany (~1000)80%
FieldRabbit (tracks)1N/A

Keep in mind that these are just example numbers, and actual counts will vary based on the specific characteristics of your study areas. Remember to be respectful of all plants and animals during your survey, and avoid disturbing or harming any wildlife.

Also Read: Sustainability Merit Badge

The Answer for Requirement Number 5

An Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is a document prepared to describe the effects of proposed activities on the environment. Here are some of the key items that would need to be included in an EIS for a construction project such as building a house or adding a new building to your Scout camp:

  1. Description of the Proposed Action: This should include the purpose and need for the project, its location, and a detailed description of the work to be performed.
  2. Alternatives to the Proposed Action: A range of reasonable alternatives that could achieve the same goal but may have different environmental impacts.
  3. Affected Environment: A description of the environment that will be affected by the proposed action. This could include information on the existing land use, soil, water quality, air quality, noise levels, and living organisms in the area.
  4. Environmental Consequences: An analysis of the environmental impacts of the proposed action and the alternatives. This would include both short-term and long-term effects, direct and indirect impacts, and any cumulative impacts when combined with other past, present, and reasonably foreseeable future actions.
  5. Mitigation Measures: Strategies to avoid, minimize, or compensate for adverse environmental impacts. This could involve changing the design or operation of the project or providing compensation such as habitat restoration in another location.
  6. Consultation and Coordination: A record of the agencies, organizations, and individuals who were consulted during the preparation of the EIS.
  7. List of Preparers: Names and qualifications of the people who were primarily responsible for preparing the EIS.
  8. Appendices: Additional information that supports the analysis may be included in appendices. This can include technical data, survey results, or more detailed descriptions of the methodology used in the study.

The EIS must be based on high-quality information and accurate scientific analysis. It should be written in plain language so that decision-makers and the public can understand the environmental considerations involved in the decision-making process.

The Answer for Requirement Number 6

Here are three career opportunities in environmental science:

  1. Environmental Scientist: These professionals monitor the environment, identify problems, and find solutions to help protect Earth’s resources.
  2. Conservation Scientists: They manage, improve, and protect natural resources. They work with landowners and governments to use and improve the land while safeguarding the environment.
  3. Environmental Engineer: They use the principles of engineering, soil science, biology, and chemistry to develop solutions to environmental problems.

Let’s look more closely at the career of an Environmental Scientist:

CareerEducation RequiredTraining & ExperienceJob Description
Environmental ScientistTypically, a bachelor’s degree in environmental science, biology, chemistry, physics or a related field. A master’s degree or Ph.D. is often needed for advancement in the field.Internships or cooperative education programs can provide valuable field experience. Scientists often start working under the supervision of experienced scientists, and with experience, they can take on more responsibility and carry out more complex tasks.Environmental Scientists monitor the environment, identify problems, develop plans to solve them, and work towards the protection and management of natural resources. They conduct research to identify, control, or eliminate pollutants and hazards affecting the environment or the health of the population.

The profession of an Environmental Scientist might be interesting if you enjoy working outdoors, have a passion for nature conservation, and are interested in scientific research. This career involves problem-solving, critical thinking, and communication skills.

You would also have the satisfaction of knowing that your work directly contributes to the protection and improvement of the environment. Discuss this information with your counselor, detailing why this profession might interest you.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the Environmental Science merit badge?

The Environmental Science merit badge is an award given by the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) to scouts who demonstrate proficiency and understanding in various aspects of environmental science. To earn this badge, scouts must complete a range of activities and demonstrate knowledge on topics like ecosystems, endangered species, pollution prevention, and conservation.

Why is the Environmental Science merit badge important?

Earning the Environmental Science merit badge is important because it encourages scouts to learn about the natural world, understand the principles of ecology, and appreciate the interconnectedness of all life. It also cultivates awareness about environmental issues and encourages the development of sustainable practices.

Who can earn the Environmental Science merit badge?

The Environmental Science merit badge can be earned by any scout participating in the Boy Scouts of America program who fulfills the requirements for the badge.

What do I need to include in an environmental impact statement for requirement 5?

An environmental impact statement should include a description of the proposed action, alternatives to the proposed action, a description of the environment that will be affected, an analysis of the environmental impacts, mitigation measures to reduce impacts, and a record of consultation and coordination with agencies and individuals.

What are some career opportunities in environmental science as required in requirement 6?

There are numerous career opportunities in environmental science, including roles like Environmental Scientist, Conservation Scientist, Environmental Engineer, Climate Change Analyst, and many more. Each of these roles typically requires a background in environmental science or a related field, and each has its own specific set of education, training, and experience requirements.

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