Seven Ranges’ Ecology and Conservation program is housed in the beautiful I. W. Delp Ecology Lodge. Besides merit badge instruction and various certifications and training courses, the purposes of the Ecology and Conservation Department are as follows:

  1. To help Scouts develop the right attitudes regarding the importance of natural resources and their use.
  2. To show Scouts that these resources are to be managed intelligently.
  3. To contribute to the rebuilding and wise use of America’s resources by actual work on the land, in forests, and along the waterways.
  4. To carry out such activities as erosion control, forest fire detection and prevention, and wildlife habitat improvement so that Scouts may learn some of the techniques necessary to the continued productivity of these resources.

The Ecology Center is full of interesting items of nature, some wildlife exhibits, a referenced library, and a well-trained staff eager to answer questions on nature and conservation as well as assist with troop program.

Merit Badges

Space Exploration requires the purchase of a model rocket kit from the trading post for approximately $10.

Leave No Trace

“Leave No Trace” is a nationally recognized outdoor skills and education program. The Boy Scouts of America is committed to this program. The principles of Leave No Trace are not rules; they are guidelines to follow at all times.

The Leave No Trace principles might not seem important at first glance, but their value is apparent when considering the combined effects of millions of outdoor visitors. One poorly located campsite or campfire is of little significance, but thousands of such instances seriously degrade the outdoor experience for all. Leaving no trace is everyone’s responsibility.

The Ecology Staff is pleased to offer a Leave No Trace Awareness Workshop to both youth and adults in camp.  The Ecology and Conservation Director functions as the on-staff LNT trainer.  If you or members of your unit are interested in earning the LNT Awareness Patch, contact the eco/con  staff for more information and for a detailed list of requirements.

Environmental Interpreter

The Environmental Interpreter strip is offered to recognize those who have a basic understanding of the local environment and the ability to interpret this for others. This strip is worn above the right hand shirt pocket on the BSA uniform. Scouts and leaders may earn this award by attending both Troop Naturalist sessions offered through the Ecology Staff.

Hornaday Award

This is an intense ecology award that can be worked on at camp but not completely earned due to the time involved to complete its requirements. The current requirements can be found in the Boy Scout Handbook. If interested in the Hornaday Award, talk to the Ecology Conservation Department Director. They can help set up a program for a Scout working towards this award as well as give some project ideas.

John Burroughs Nature Award

The John Burroughs Nature Award was established in 1925 by Mr. I. W. Delp to acknowledge Scouts and leaders who demonstrate an outstanding knowledge and interest in the study of nature. The John Burroughs Nature Award is the highest recognition given in the field of nature by the Buckeye Council. Scouts wishing to undertake the John Burroughs program must secure permission from their unit leader and the Ecology Director. It is suggested that a person undertaking the program consider studying with the Ecology Staff over a period of one or two years before applying for the Burroughs program. This is best done by expressing an interest to the Ecology Director and attending star studies and plant walks whenever possible.

When a Scout does apply for the award, the Ecology Director will explain how the different levels of the Burroughs Award are earned. The award itself is a bronze, gold, or silver maple leaf that is to be worn on the right-hand pocket of the uniform shirt.

The leaf may also have a diamond rhinestone set into it recognizing a past or present instructor of the program. These leaves signify the levels of Brave, Fellow, or Knight. The level earned is determined on the number of points received in different categories. The category of “extra points” is an accumulation of excess points over the minimum required in the other areas of identification.


Brave (Bronze)

Fellow (Gold)

Knight (Silver)

Plant Life








Rocks and Minerals








Extra Points




Total Points





4 hours

6 hours

10 hours

Note: All Burroughs’ requirements must be completed during one summer camp season. You may only attempt to earn a level of Burroughs once a year. If they are also being used for Pipestone requirements, they must be completed in full during the Scout or Scouter’s week at camp.

Please consult the packet of information on the John Burroughs Nature Award Program (available from the Buckeye Council Service Center or the Seven Ranges Ecology and Conservation Department) for more information regarding this prestigious award. The Ecology and Conservation Center will be holding Burroughs instructional courses throughout the week in order for you to gain a better understanding of this program.

World Conservation Award

This award recognizes Scouts who have earned Environmental Science, Citizenship in the World, and either Soil and Water Conservation or Fish and Wildlife Management merit badges. See the Ecology and Conservation Department for details.

Troop Naturalist

The Troop Naturalist program will instruct unit representatives in the area of plant identification and other camp honor requirements. One or two carefully chosen individuals from your unit will be able to instruct other Scouts on this subject after completion of this program. Troop Naturalists meet both Monday and Tuesday at 2:20 PM for training.

Troop Astronomer

The Troop Astronomer will be assisted in his duties through the star study program. The program will be offered on a consistent basis on clear nights throughout the week and will be announced over the camp P.A. system.  This is a training program for the troop astronomers and should not be used to substitute troop-level fulfillment of Pipestone requirements.