The Eagle rank in Scouts BSA is one of the most distinguished achievements a teen can earn, and rightly so. It is a lot of work. It can be hard to know where to start, so I wanted to share some tips for getting your project going… along with plenty of Eagle project ideas that have a conservation angle.
I’m a big believer in getting the most value out of your work. Since Scouts are allowed make progress toward earning the Distinguished Conservation Service Award while they’re also working on their Eagle rank, I think it’s really smart to choose an Eagle project that focuses on conservation.
Start by contacting your local parks or conservation organizations and ask if they have any projects they need completed, and offer to help. This can be a much faster way to find a community sponsor than deciding which project you want to do first and then trying to find a partner organization who is willing to work with you on it.
That said, it can still be helpful to have some sort of idea in mind of what you might want to do. My son, when he started his Eagle project, wrote to several local parks to introduce himself and his goal of earning Eagle rank. He told them that he’d like to do an Eagle project related to conservation and had a few ideas, but would also be open to any needs the park might have that are more pressing. Ultimately, our local park asked if he’d be willing to build an educational animal tracking station, which he agreed to take on.
And while this is certainly not a required aspect of an Eagle project, it’s an impressive one: choose a project that allows you to help your fellow Scouts earn a merit badge while they work for you. A Scout in our council did this and won the Eagle project of the year (and a college scholarship to go with it).
With all that in mind, here are 50 Eagle project ideas related to conservation for Scouts who are ready to tackle the biggest project they’ll take on in Scouting. And of course, any of these could also work as Girl Scout Gold Award project ideas as well! And, as always, get permission from your scout leaders before you start your work.
50 Eagle project ideas related to conservation
- Build a wildlife tracking station for a nearby state park.
- Create a “bee hotel” and pollinating flower bed near a community garden.
- Create a rainwater harvesting system for a park or community garden.
- Clear and mulch a mile-long trail and install tree-identification plaques along the route.
- Build a sanctuary enclosure for endangered birds in your region for a local wildlife rescue.
- Build a hydroponic growing system for a local school or underserved neighborhood and teach about sustainable growing methods.
- Enlist the help of prominent local community members to create an audio tour of a local historic trail that can be downloaded online by anyone, highlighting environmental risk factors in your area and what local residents can do to help.
- Create habitats for endangered mammals while helping your fellow scouts earn their Mammal Study badge.
- Build a sustainable, eco-benefiting fish pond near a retirement center. Install benches for visitors to sit and relax while they watch the fish.
- Plant vegetation along a waterline to serve as an animal habitat and reduce erosion from water runoff.
- Create a retaining wall around a school that sees dirt runoff from heavy rains.
- Create plaques and educational signs at a local nature center to educate the public on native species.
- Plan and plant a garden that helps preserve native plant species while helping other scouts work toward their Gardening merit badge.
- Build a community food garden in an underserved neighborhood.
- Develop a seed exchange program at your local farmer’s market or public library by creating labeled seed envelopes and collecting heirloom seeds from local gardeners to display for exchange.
- Build a boardwalk to limit trail erosion and reduce hiker injuries.
- Create a habitat for endangered monarch butterflies by planting an acre of milkweed seeds over available land.
- Plant trees and build benches for a garden in an abandoned lot in an urban neighborhood.
- Transform an overlooked pond into a turtle habitat and informational exhibit at a local park.
- Keep old tires out of the dump by recycling them into dog beds for a local animal shelter.
- Create a native plant garden to fight coastal erosion.
- Remove an invasive plant species from a local park.
- Work with a local park to create fish habitats by sinking old Christmas trees in lakes.
- Build handicapped accessible planters at a community garden and help fellow scouts earn their Disability Awareness merit badge.
- Build and place bat houses at a state park to reduce the mosquito population in an area.
- Plant native vegetation along a riverwalk.
- Lead a water reclamation project for a church or community center by replacing grass with mulch.
- Build species specific birdhouses for a nature preserve.
- Install fencing around a critical wildlife habitat at a wildlife preserve.
- Remove debris to improve a natural waterway.
- Remove invasive vines or “ladder fuels” on trees to prevent ground fires from climbing trees.
- Construct barriers to keep vehicles off trails, grasslands, or other sensitive natural areas in urban settings.
- Build a xeriscape demonstration garden.
- Place wind-break and snow-fence plantings along roadsides to protect wildlife.
- Thin a local forested area to spur tree growth.
- Build and place ramps from water tanks to prevent bird drowning.
- Install night-vision trail cameras and an online monitoring site for local wildlife officials.
- Plant trees and shrubs or build a sustainable water feature as a noise barrier between a road and a park.
- Put fencing around at-risk trees to prevent damage from bears and deer.
- Create an urban rooftop pollinator and food garden to provide food for an underserved community and attract pollinators.
- Establish a recycling program in a local school or community center.
- Build an outdoor classroom in the city to give kids the opportunity to spend more hands-on time in nature.
- Persuade your local officials to pass a law protecting an endangered species.
- Work with a local battery recycling organization to educate citizens about the ease of recycling batteries properly.
- Work with a community partner to switch all light bulbs in a community building to eco-friendly LED bulbs to conserve energy.
- Survey the storm drains in your municipality and replace all broken markers to prevent hazardous dumping.
- Host a beach cleanup event and post signs and recycling/trash bins near the entrance to the beach to prevent further littering.
- Design an exhibit on conservation and display it at a county fair.
- Conduct a rodent-control educational program with the public health department.
- Write an informational and educational program about the dangers sea turtles face and share within the local community.
If you want some inspiration on your project, check out scout Indy Nelson’s website where he documents his work toward the Hornaday Silver Medal (now the Distinguished Conservation Award). This scout did an incredible amount of work starting at a young age, and it should inspire anyone working toward Eagle.