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Recently, my mother texted me this picture with the questions: “Is this Bear Poop? I found it in the yard.” So, we created a scout zoom meeting around this question, and asked the scouts to figure it out.

We showed our scouts this picture and how we proceed depended on age level. Our timberwolves were taken to look at the website www.bear.org and we looked at evidence and learned about bears. Our pathfinders were given the website, and then put in zoom breakout rooms to research for themselves on the website and see what bear scat should look like and were also given the task of learning some black bear facts to come back and share when all the patrols returned near the end of the meeting.  Learning what bear paw prints would look like. How many cubs a black bear usually has in our region.  What do bears eat? These were all part of our lesson. We also reviewed bear safety while hiking or camping. We considered showing a video of a black bear, because screen sharing ability makes a lot of things possible.

You can replicate this meeting’s idea with any picture of animal prints, actual animals to identify, pictures of a burrow, scat, or other high interest pictures you can come up with. Ask your friends and family to send you pictures, or use ours, we don’t mind.  Give your scouts the picture in question and help them research what they are looking at. A quick google may help you find the perfect website to direct them to, to save time and keep their interest.  If your state has an official herpetological society, wildlife center or even zoo, those all may be able to help your scouts identify what they are looking at. There are also several apps that function as field guides your group can try. A few meetings like this can help your scouts be more confident researching what they see in the woods and increase the number of things they can identify for themselves.

Chuck, the groundhog that lives in my yard
Grey Tree Frog, that was climbing the wall in my house, not sure why he was dusting.
Pileated woodpecker, another picture from my mother, who apparently thinks I am a field guide.
Baby robins, ready to fledge. Also from my mom.

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