NATURE NOTE – Number 83                                                     December 28, 2023


First, Happy New Year!  Almost.

Ok, maybe you won’t learn much about nature from this NATURE NOTE, but maybe it will make you think about your role in talking about nature and sharing some nature with the scouts you can influence.  Over the years I’ve collected quotes about the lack of understanding of nature by many people, and the scouter’s role in changing that.  Most are not from another scouter, but from authors, naturalists, and others who understand the need for young people to learn about nature.  In this NATURE NOTE, I’m just going to lay them out and let you think about them and how they may apply to your job as a scout leader in the coming New Year.  Some go back over 100 years, some are recent, and some are in between, but I think they are worth reading and thinking about.  So here is…

Our Current Topic:  Quotes about nature

“Many men who were once Scouts feel that their entire lives were influenced by their merit badge work…Hundreds of doctors, engineers, forest rangers, and naturalists had their ambitions kindled while earning merit badges as Scouts. You, too, may start on your lifework by working on a merit badge”. 

    From: Boy Scout Hand Book, 6th edition, 1959. (That’s the one I used as a scout.)

“For in the end, we will conserve only what we love.

We will love only what we understand.

We will understand only what we are taught.” 

     From: Baba Dioum, a forest engineer/environmentalist from Senegal, at a conference in New Deli, India, 1968.  (Senegal is not exactly a major source of environmental thought, and 1968 was 2 years before the first Earth Day, so a rather forward reaching idea for the time).

“Most of the population does not have a lifetime of ground-based reality upon which to rely when discerning the ins and outs of the natural world.  They have lifetime of National Geographic documentaries at best and Disney movies at worst.  These sanitized and dramatized versions of the world we live in have helped shape the worldview of the vast majority of our industrialized society.”

       From:  Against the Odds, by Bruce Vincent, Nicole J Olynk Widmar and Jessica Eise.  P122.

 “When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find that it is bound fast by a thousand invisible cords that cannot be broken, to everything else in the universe.    

       From: John Muir naturalist, environmentalist and writer (1838-1914)

“Just as a physician needs to learn and understand the complexities and intricacies of the human body before he can provide appropriate treatment and care, the true naturalist must learn and understand the complexities and intricacies of the nature around him before he can responsibly balance the use and conservation of the environment.” 

      From: the writer of NATURE NOTES in teaching at National Camping School.

“There are also those souls who embrace the environmental ethic – ‘instant environmentalists,’ we might call them – who like the idea, but know very little about the interrelationships of nature and about what makes the wild world tick.”

     From: Editor’s Note, Eastern Forests of the Peterson Field Guide series

And finally,

“The important thing is to never stop questioning.”

    From: Albert Einstein


For the most part, other NATURE NOTES have given you some ideas and some knowledge about specific nature subjects.  (See below)  Hopefully you have absorbed some of these and used them on occasions.  It’s kind of like paint:  It has absolutely no value until applied.  You are the person who can expose a scout to nature.  Please, do what you can.  Use these NOTES or something else, but promote nature study in scouting.  I’d love to hear from some of you what you are doing with NATURE NOTES.  Let me know at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  And thank you for reading these. 

Bob Garst

Here is a list of NATURE NOTES posted in 2023.  All are still available on the BRMC website:

60   Foxes

61   Winter Ducks

62   Acorns

63   Solar Farms

64   Crows

65   Summer Camp

66   Virginia’s Trout

67  Waders & Inland Shore Birds

68  Water Mammals

69  Rabies

70  Swifts and Swallows

71  Lichen

72  Ivy

73  Scientific names of plants and animals

74 Heat islands

75 Caution

76 Hawk migration

77 Atlantic Puffin

78 Golden Eagles

79 Slimy Things

80 Odds and Ends

81 Elk

82 Cedars, spruce and firs