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January 29, 2014

Strengthening Boy Scouts’ Youth Citizenship Through Creeklife

As young adventurers, the Boy Scouts of America develop their characters within nature, while simultaneously improving physical fitness through outdoor activities. More importantly, boy scouts learn about land and wildlife conservation and share their skills, research, and information with their communities. Stressing citizenship alongside character, the boy scouts can learn a lot from environmental action. There are several ways that boy scouts can seek and sponsor environmental action through Creeklife.

Boy Scout Weekend April 20-22 054

Dave Ruth: “Boy scouts on top of the waterfall in Sharps”.

Adopting an Action

Creeklife members can upload “actions” (searchable by location or watershed) that highlight pollution in their communities, and seek people to fund the cleanup or take care of it. There are many types of actions that a scout or troop could adopt, such as a park cleanup next to the Chagrin River. Scouts can also work with other community organizations in a environmental action, such as the annual Rouge Rescue cleanup. In conjunction with the Rouge communities and the organization Friends of the Rouge, volunteers seek to protect the health of the Rouge River by removing invasive species threatening the riverbanks. Scouts can help out by supporting these organizations by spending a day or weekend volunteering, or by organizing a donation drive to help alleviate the costs of a head organization, non-profit, or community.

Create an Action and Seek Donations

Another project that a boy scout troop can do together is identify and take care of a harmful environmental issue plaguing their local community. It can be from as little as raising donations for buying river crossing road signs to mark rivers and watersheds (to discourage polluting), or to plan a river clean up over a weekend together. This can easily be an extension from a scout earning a merit badge, such as the Soil and Water Conservation Badge. Through earning this badge, scouts are urged to identify soil erosion or watershed pollution problems, and then take action to alleviate the damage.

Gettysburg 05-17-2008 scouts

Photo by mrsdarla (Flickr).

In addition to learning about soil erosion and the importance of water conservation, scouts and their scout leader can use Creeklife to upload photos of a polluted river or creek that needs funding or support. Scouts can describe how this polluted area needs to be treated, and why it is important to pay attention to the specific issue. Once the action is created, it can be shared among friends, family, and the larger community in part to solicit donations, promote awareness, and encourage the community’s involvement.

Creeklife as a Learning Tool

Most importantly, the activities that scouts become involved in can help them learn more about the environment, and how pollution in water, land, and air all affect each other. Creeklife can help scouts identify these connections with its various resources, from informative blog posts about water pollution, to its action map that can show how trash in a river impacts the larger watershed.

Blandford Nature Center Boy Scout visit

Photo by genbrong (Flickr).

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Posted by Mark Contorno.

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