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Resources include the Nature merit badge worksheet in PDF format Adobe Acrobat PDF and Word format Microsoft Word DOC document, links, and cross-references to related badges and awards.
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Nature merit badge
Status: Elective
Created: 1952
Discontinued: no
BSA Advancement ID: 078
Requirements revision: 2018
Latest pamphlet revision: 2014


There is a very close connection between the soil, the plants, and all animal life, including people. Understanding this connection, and the impact we have upon it, is important to preserving the wilderness, as well as to our own well-being as members of the web of nature.

Nature merit badge requirements

  1. Name three ways in which plants are important to animals. Name a plant that is important to animals that is protected in your state or region, and explain why it is at risk.
  2. Name three ways in which animals are important to plants. Name an animal that is protected in your state or region, and explain why it is at risk.
  3. Explain the term "food chain." Give an example of a four-step land food chain and a four-step water food chain.
  4. Do all the requirements in FIVE of the following fields:
    (a) Birds
    (1) In the field, identify eight species of birds.
    (2) Make and set out a birdhouse OR a feeding station OR a birdbath. List what birds used it during a period of one month.
    (b) Mammals
    (1) In the field, identify three species of wild mammals.
    (2) Make plaster casts of the tracks of a wild mammal.
    (c) Reptiles and Amphibians
    (1) Show that you can recognize the venomous snakes in your area.
    (2) In the field, identify three species of reptiles or amphibians.
    (3) Recognize one species of toad or frog by voice; OR identify one reptile or amphibian by eggs, den, burrow or other signs.
    (d) Insects and Spiders
    (1) Collect and identify either in the field or through photographs 10 species of insects or spiders.*
    (2) Hatch an insect from the pupa or cocoon; OR hatch adults from nymphs; OR keep larvae until they form pupae or cocoons; OR keep a colony of ants or bees through one season.
    (e) Fish
    (1) Identify two species of fish native to your area.
    (2) Collect four kinds of animal food eaten by fish in the wild.
    (f) Mollusks and Crustateans
    (1) Identify five species of mollusks and crustaceans.
    (2) Collect, mount, and label six shells.
    (g) Plants
    (1) In the field, identify 15 species of wild plants.
    (2) Collect and label seeds of six plants; OR the leaves of 12 plants.
    (h) Soils and Rocks
    (1) Collect and identify soils found in different layers of a soil profile.
    (2) Collect and identify five different types of rocks from your area.
* Photos may be those taken with your own equipment or gathered from other sources.
  • In most cases all specimens should be returned to the wild at the location of original capture after the requirements have been met. Check with your merit badge counselor for those instances where the return of these specimens would not be appropriate.
  • Under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, some plants and animals are or may be protected by federal law. The same ones and/or others may be protected by state law. Be sure that you do not collect protected species.
  • Your state may require that you purchase and carry a license to collect certain species. Check with the wildlife and fish and game official in your state regarding species regulations before you begin to collect.

The official source for the information shown in this is:
Boy Scout Requirements, 2018 Edition (BSA Supply SKU #641568)

View the change list (history) of these requirements. The text of these requirements may be locked. In that case, they can only be edited
by an administrator.
Please note any errors found in the above requirements on this article's Talk Page.


Worksheet A FREE workbook for Nature is available here! (PDF or Word) with the maps, charts, links, diagrams, and checklists you need! Or click here to print just the Nature requirements. has PDF and Word versions of workbooks for Scouts BSA ranks and merit badges, Cub Scouting ranks and adventures, and STEM Nova awards.

Nature merit badge is required for the National Medal for Outdoor Achievement.
The Nature merit badge is an option for the Let It Grow!, Splash!, Harris Bronze Supernova, and Edison Silver Supernova STEM Nova Awards.
  1. Nature is one of the elective merit badges for the William T. Hornaday awards for Scouts BSA.
  2. The BSA Nature Troop Program Feature offers meeting and activity plans to include Nature as one of your monthly themes.
  3. Nature is a popular summer camp merit badge.

Requirement resources

1,2: Plants and Animals  •  Plants and Our Environment  •  USDA Threatened Plants  •  TPWD Endangered and Threatened Species
3: Geography4Kids Land Food chain  •  Kidport Reference Library Food chain  •  Biomes First Water Food chain  •  Freshwater Food chain
4: Kidport Reference Library Animal Kingdom  •  Globio Glossopedia Mammals  •  USGS Education Resources for Grades 7-12
4a(1) Birds: Audubon Birds  •  What Bird?  •  All About Birds (Cornell University  •  Birding  •  TX Bird Activity Bird
4a(2) Bird Houses&Feeders: Crafty Birds  •  How to Build a Bird Feeder  •  My Backyard Plans  •  Feeding Station 1
4b Mammals: How to Cast Animal Tracks  •  How to Cast Animal Tracks (pdf)  •  Animal Tracks ID Guide
4c Reptiles or Amphibians: Frog/Toad Advertisement Calls  •  Frog Songs  •  TX Herps  •  TX Turtles  •  Frog Eggs  •  Amphibian ID Guides
4d Insects or Spiders: Insects from Globio  •  Specimen Collecting  •  USDA Collecting  •  USDA Collecting pdf
4e Fish: Freshwater ID  •  Marine Fish ID  •  USA EPA Fish ID
4f Mollusks and Crustaceans:Freshwater Mollusk  •  World Mollusk ID Guide  •  Marine Mollusk ID Guide  •  Discover Life Crustaceans  •  Marine Crustaceans ID  •  Freshwater Crustaceans ID pdf  •  How to Mount Seashells  •  Seashell ID Guide
4g Plants: Plant Collecting  •  collection.html Leaf Collection Basics  •  Press Hints.pdf Leaf Presses pdf  •  Collecting and Preserving pdf  •  Collecting Tree Leaves pdf
4h Soils and Rocks: NCRA Soil profile  •  Soil Concepts pdf  •  Soil Classification  •  USGS Rock Collecting  •  USA Geologic Map from National Atlas (use to find out the type of rocks in your area)

Related awards

  1. Requirement 4g is nearly identical to Requirement 1 from the Forestry merit badge.
  2. Requirements 4a, b, c, d, e, & f can count toward Requirement 6a from the Fish and Wildlife Management merit badge and can be completed by doing Second Class Requirement 6.
  3. Requirement 4g(1) is partially fulfilled by completing Tenderfoot Requirement 11 and First Class Requirement 6.
Ecology-related awards

See also

Scouts BSA portal
Venturing portal
Sea Scout portal
General Merit Badge information

External links

Personal tools