Potpourri Nature Trail




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bulletA mixture of nature and other activities 
bullet Patrol members follow trail as a unit 
bullet Scoutmaster and Patrol Leaders lay trail

The dictionary defines "potpourri" as a miscellaneous mixture, and this is a mixture of Scouting activities.

The trail below was laid by a Scoutmaster and his four Patrol Leaders in two hours. Before laying the trail they agreed on a rough plot and upon the Scouting items to be studied by those who were to follow the trail. Then, after laying the trail, the group worked out the story from trail notes and that evening two of the Patrol Leaders typed it.

The next morning the Patrol Leaders led their Patrols over the trail. The words in italic type were written by the winning Patrol on the blank space on the typed sheets. By using this method of keeping score, each Patrol was able to tell its score at the conclusion of the hike.

The Trail Story

"Yesterday afternoon the leaders (Patrol Leaders) of each tribe (Patrol) with the Big Chief (Scoutmaster) laid a treasure trail. Each Patrol will be given an opportunity to get the treasure, which will be awarded tonight at the Grand Council Fire. Beavers will start at exactly 9:30 A.M., Bears at 9:50 A.M., Foxes at 10:10 A.M., Minks at 10:30 A.M. Follow your Little Chiefs (Patrol Leaders). They know just what to do. They will read the entire story to their braves before starting, so that you can provide yourselves with what you will need. (Handbook for Boys, nature guide books and a compass needed.)

The Trail

"The Beavers assembled at the eating lodge and started hiking toward town. They halted at a deadline drawn across the road within three paces of a clump of Gray Birch tree stumps. (Score 1.) Without crossing the deadline each brave estimated the age of the trees. Their average was ten years. By counting the Annual Rings they found their estimate 5 years short. (Score 3.)

"Standing at the stumps the Little Chief pointed out the tallest tree in sight and asked his braves to estimate its compass direction, which they did. Then he had them set up a compass on a stick. Everyone took a squint and found they had made an average error of 4 degrees. (Score - 7.) Then the little Chief ordered them to continue along the trail for 222 feet in the direction of the rising sun. Four members did not know the length of their step and that made their score - 11. However, they followed their wiser members and came upon a spot, where they found instruction marked on a tree in International Morse Code. They read the message without the help of the book. (Score - 10.) Following the coded instruction they found a Crow's Nest in the dead top of a tall Red Oak tree. (Score - 8.)

"The Little Chief ordered the Beavers to sit down under the tree, and for two long minutes close their eyes, and not utter a sound. They heard - 1. Crow, 2. Oven-bird, 3. Chat, 4. Oriole, 5. Frog, 6. Bee, 7. Fly, and heard and felt a family of Mosquitoes. (Score 0.) They continued along the trail keeping a sharp lookout for six trail signs. The Little Chief was surprised to learn that 3 of his braves did not know the signs. (Score - 3.) He ordered them to study the signs in their Handbooks. The wiser braves found the following signs - 1. This Way, 2. This is the Trail, 3. Stop, 4. Turn to the right, 5. Danger, 6. Turn to the left. (Score - 3.)

"To teach braves the difference between estimating and guessing the Little Chief asked his braves to look back and guess the height of the tall red oak. Their average guess was 65 feet. The 3 Beavers who knew how to estimate height (Score - 6) declared the tree 50 feet high. (Score - 9.)

"The braves hurried on at Scout's Pace (walking 50 steps and trotting 50) to a turn in the trail from which they could see the eating lodge. While they were resting under the White Pine evergreen tree (Score - 8) the braves who knew the ways of the woods told about the wild edible plants they knew. Then everybody scattered and hunted. Five minutes later the Little Chief gave the tribes the war whoop and the braves assembled with evidence of having found: 1. Dandelion, 2. Milkweed, 3. Skunk Cabbage, 4. Fiddle-Brake, 5. Wild Grape, 6. Raspberry Tips, 7. Strawberry, 8. Sassafras, 9. Sugar Maple. (Score - 1.)

"Then the Little Chief divided the tribe into three groups according to their interests in birds, trees and flowers. Upon arriving at the end of the trail the Beavers reported their findings as follows:

"Trees on the right-hand within three paces of the trail and over five inches in diameter: 1. Hemlock, 2. Pin Oak, 3. White Oak, 4. Hickory, 5. Dogwood, 6. Choke Cherry, 7. Gray Birch, 8. Red Maple, 9. Sugar Maple. (Score - 10.)

"Birds actually seen on entire hike: 1. Robin, 2. Oriole, 3. Maryland Yellow Throat, 4. Towhee, 5. Crow; Birds heard but not seen: 6. Catbird, 7. Song Sparrow, 8. Blue Jay, 9. Warbler, 10. Chat. (Score - 20.)

"Flowers or blossoms observed within three paces of the left-hand side of the trail: 1. Dogwood, 2. Huckleberry, 3. Strawberry, 4. Azalea, 5. Rhododendron, 6. Clover. (Score - 26.)


Probably the most interesting part of this trail was the half-hour spent at the camp fire reading, discussing and arguing about Patrol Reports.

Boy Scout Games






Additional Information:

Peer- Level Topic Links:
Compass Course Contest ] Dessert Treasure Hunt ] [ Potpourri Nature Trail ] Night Scavenger Hunt ] Map Symbol Game ] Inter-Patrol Compass Race ] Finding Wrecked Plane ] Bee-Line Hike Contest ] Four Square Compass Race ] Eagle-Eye Compass Race ] Lunch Site Hunt ] Compass Reading Contest ]

Parent- Level Topic Links:
How to Use This Book ] Scout Ways ] Tenderfoot Requirements ] Scout Knots ] 2nd Class Knife Axe Fire ] 2nd Class Wildlife ] Compass Treasure Hunts ] First Class Wood Love ] First Aid Games ] Signaling Games ]

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Last modified: October 15, 2016.