Boy Scouts of America, including Cub Scouts, have a long-time history in conservation and environmental work. Conservation ethics and activities have been part of the organization since 1910. Projects that teach Cub Scouts about the value and importance of conservation are educational and offer good reason for the 7- to 10-year-old boys to do something outdoors in this day and age when Scout badges include computer and other indoor projects. They may also help Cub Scouts earn pins and belt loops, including the Wildlife Conservation belt loop.
One possible Cub Scout conservation project is a tree-planting project. This would be appropriate as part of an Arbor Day or Earth Day celebration. This hands-on project provides teaching opportunities for the leaders: Explain how trees help purify the air. Emphasize planting new trees helps restore forests and beautify areas where trees were lost to logging or construction. Possible sites for a tree-planting might include a park, library, school or retirement facility.
Recycling is an important part of conversation. For a recycling project, plan a field trip the recycling center. Instruct the boys ahead of time to save recyclables for the field trip. If the center requires separating of glass, plastic and so forth, hand out instructions for the boys to take home so they remember how to sort. Talk to the boys about the length of time it takes waste to decompose and why this is a problem. After the field trip to the recycling center, swing by a landfill for a visual of the importance of recycling.
Walking and Biking
Taking the Scouts on a biking trip, whether as a day trip or as an overnight camping trip, is a fun way to demonstrate the importance of cutting back on carbon emissions by biking rather than driving, whenever possible. Alternatively, a Scout leader might explain the concept of a "carbon footprint" -- the size of one person's individual contribution to pollution -- by having the boys cut out paper footprints of varying sizes.
Adopt an Endangered Animal
The National Geographic Kids website suggests that children "adopt" an endangered animal as part of a conservation project. The Cub Scout den might choose to adopt an endangered animal at a local zoo or wildlife preserve. Wildlife sanctuaries, which rescue animals and return to the wild when possible, also welcome donations and sometimes provide adoption opportunities for animals that can't be released. To raise money for the adoption, plan a fundraising activity. Car washes are pretty dependable. Or try something that relates to wildlife, such as selling birdhouses or bat houses the boys make.
- Jeanne Studio/Demand Media