Scouting and Water Conservation
The Conservation Handbook tells Boy Scouts that “becoming involved with conservation is good for the land and good for you.” For Scout leaders, the handbook suggests that “helping younger generations develop a strong environmental ethic will pay big dividends as they grow into responsible adults eager to care for natural resources.”
Monitoring water quality in local streams is one of the sample conservation projects suggested in this handbook and a great way to introduce Boy Scouts and leaders to conservation. An established stream monitoring project may meet one or more of the Soil and Water Conservation Merit Badge requirements. (Refer to requirements 7.e. – Make a list of places that have erosion, sedimentation, or pollution problems, and 7.f. – Carry out any other soil and water conservation project approved by your merit badge counselor.)
In addition, the Hornaday Awards program recognizes efforts that contribute to natural resource conservation and environmental protection. A pack, troop, team, or crew conducting a stream monitoring project might qualify as “a unique, substantial conservation project” and earn a Hornaday Unit Certificate. The Hornaday Badge can be awarded to an individual Scout for planning, leading, and carrying out a local stream monitoring effort as “a significant project in natural resource conservation.” Or a Scout could consider developing a stream monitoring effort into a major soil and water conservation project to meet one of the requirements for a Hornaday Bronze or Silver Medal.
The Soil and Water Conservation Merit Badge pamphlet offers a succinct description of conservation and Scouting: “To enjoy woods, wildlife, and flowers; clean water; natural open spaces near our homes; and a good food supply; then you, too, must be a conservationist.”