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Junior Animal Habitats

Junior Animal Habitats badge

The Animal Habitats badge is part of the “It's Your Story - Tell It!” badge set introduced in 2011. It replaces the retired Wildlife badge.

For the badges released in 2011, scouts must complete all of the activities listed to earn the badge.

World Habitat Day. The United Nations designated the first Monday of October every year as World Habitat Day. www.unhabitat.org

Zoo programs. Check with your local zoo -- many of them have programs for scouts that cover some or all of these requirements. Some of these include overnight camping trips.

  • Philadelphia Zoo Night Flight Overnights. The program for 2014 covers Requirements #2, #4, and #5. So we covered #1 and #3 during a troop meeting. The zoo program was awesome, and I recommend it for any troops in the mid-atlantic region. The girls camped in a historic building inside the zoo -- the building had some fun rubberized sculptures of dinosaurs, dino eggs, and a tree to climb up inside. After the zoo closed for the night, the dedicated staff took groups around after dark for a tour. The girls saw peacocks roosting in the trees and went inside the small mammal house to have a chat with an actual zookeeper. After the tour, the girls played a game to teach them more about protecting big cats in the wild. Everyone seemed to have a great time.

Activity #1: Find out about wild animalsEdit

We had the girls list as many of the local animals (mammals, birds, insects, etc.) as they could. When they got a fairly long list, they counted them up -- 47, so I asked them to find 3 more to get to 50. The list covered birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, insects, and arachnids. (Troop 3816)

Activity #2: Investigate an animal habitatEdit

  • Adventures with Raptors. For those in the Washington, DC area and Maryland, this group will bring birds of prey to your meetings. Their purpose is "to promote knowledge and education of the adaption, behavior, habitat, species biology, and conservation of birds of prey." Contact Deron at deron@adventureswithraptors.com or call 240-405-8628.

Activity #3: Create an animal houseEdit

  • Birdhouses. We did the classic birdhouse kit. Some kits are available online at Home Depot. They also offer bat houses and butterfly houses. I ran out of time to order them online for our meeting, so I was able to find kits at the local Boy Scout shop. I ended up with two different versions of the same kit, and one version (wrapped in plastic, rather than in a box) had very flimsy nails -- check the nails before your meeting, in case you want to get some others. Note that this activity took longer than expected. Every girl should have her own hammer, or it can slow down the process. Also need plenty of adult volunteers to help, as some of our girls had never hammered a nail before this! (So even if they didn't all finish in time, it was a good skill to start learning!) (Troop 3816)
    • Additional troop: Be careful though, because one girl got hit with the hammer accidentally by another girl! She was okay, but I recommend that you should probably have the adults hammer in nails.

Activity #4: Explore endangered habitatsEdit

Troop 3816: This was done as part of the Philadelphia Zoo program.

We didn't do this part. (Whoops!) We just went to the zoo. Our girls got to go behind the scenes and even feed animals.

Activity #5: Help protect animal habitatsEdit

Troop 3816: This was done as part of the Philadelphia Zoo program.

Additional ResourcesEdit

  • So Much Life on a Little Patch of Earth. Rare life forms can sometimes show up on your doorstep, as a family in Washington found. But even the mundane and everyday species can be just as enchanting.
  • Make a bird feeder. There are lots of ideas for how to make simple bird feeders online. Here is a soda bottle bird feeder. My son made a similar one for Tiger Scouts using a larger juice bottle (I think it used to have Dole Pina Colada juice in it). We drilled hole in the top to thread a string through for tying to a tree limb. Cut a hole in each side, and stuck a pair of chopsticks through.

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