Keowa: Area- Ecology

Nature rules! The Keowa Ecology Center is one of the most interesting and exciting places in camp. It is the only place where a scout can go to see snakes eat frogs, real snapping turtles from Crystal Lake, fish, and more. 

The Ecology Center includes a nature trail, an artificial pond ecosystem, and the Ecology Lodge as well as outdoor program areas. Every week of summer camp, the Ecology Center also hosts the camp-wide critter contest, where troops compete to collect the most points for critters in camp to win the contest. 

Friendly Ecology staffmen also guide troops on nature hikes, available upon request. The Ecology Lodge is also packed with aquariums and terrariums, field guides, nature books and magazines, bone and mineral displays, astronomical equipment, and more! Want to learn more ecology or conservation? Come to Keowa this summer for a week or two and find out all you want to know about any of these exciting fields.


Merit Badges

Environmental Science:

Come take an in-depth and scientific approach towards exploring the ecology of Keowa and Ten Mile River. Scouts will study and observe ecosystems, explore human impacts on the environment, defend against invasive species and much more! *EAGLE REQUIRED*


Fascinated by gems, metals, minerals and all resources taken from the earth? Come check out Geology! Scouts will check out the local geology of Sullivan County and be given new perspective on the grand scale of the Earth’s dynamic geologic structure

Bird Study:

Keowa is the home of a tremendously colorful, diverse and gorgeous population of birds. Come study and examine all things involving them! Scouts will conserve habitats, go on identification hikes, study anatomy and much more!

Plant Science:

Dive into the fields of Botany and Forest Ecology head first! Study the vast diversity of the species and adaptations of all the plants found around the globe! Plant Science is a rare merit badge and the Nature lodge is proud to be able to offer it!


The American forests provide both a valuable resource as well as a diverse ecological structure. Scouts who undertake this badge will be immersed in the world of managing, conserving and protecting the forest for future generations to enjoy.

Mammal Study:

Curious about deer, bears, porcupines and groundhogs? What about something bigger like moose, or elephants? Mammal Study is the badge for you! Designed with first year scouts in mind, Mammal Study can be completed while scouts work towards their First Class Adventure rank requirements.

Fish and Wildlife Management:

The natural world is awesome in its ability to sustain itself when left to its own devices. However, in our modern world, it becomes important to conserve and protect all of its wonders and resources. Scouts will get an introduction to conservation and habitat management and develop an understanding of the area's wildlife populations. Great for first year scouts!


Curious as to the wonders held by the ocean deep? Oceanography provides scouts with a unique 360 degree approach to the ocean’s features. Looking at everything from chemical composition to life within it’s waters, Oceanography will help your scouts become familiar with one of our world’s most diverse ecosystems.


This badge will provide scouts with a preview of the more specialized badges offered at the lodge as they work on requirements pertaining to birds, reptiles, amphibians, geology and so much more!

Reptile and Amphibian Study:

Love frogs, toads, newts, turtle, snakes and salamanders? Come get a hands on experience in the care and study of these slimy, scaly and awesome creatures. *PRE-REQUISITE #8 REQUIRED*

Space Exploration:

The wonders of the final frontier have captivated the minds of millions for years now. Scouts will study the history of space exploration, the physics that make it all possible and, of course, get a hands on experience as they build, launch and retrieve their own model rocket (Additional Cost: $10). *PRE-REQUISITE ASTRONOMY MB REQUIRED* *AGE: 15 AND UP*

Soil and Water Conservation:

Soils and water work together to form a dynamic system from which all life on this planet is based. This system is as beautifully intricate as it is fragile. Scouts will be introduced to the conservation of soil and water-based resources for both the needs of mankind as well as wildlife around the globe.

Insect Study:

Curious as to the most diverse group of animals on the planet? Fascinated by anything that flies, creeps or crawls? Check out Insect Study! Scouts will spend the week studying Keowa’s expansive insect population and learning firsthand about insect anatomy and adaptations. *AVAILABLE BY REQUEST ONLY* *PRE-REQUISITE #7 REQUIRED*


The night sky is filled with many wonders and dazzling sights to behold. Astronomy merit badge seeks to explain the origin of such things and provide a new perspective as to our existence in the vast depth of space. Expert class instruction and fascinating night observations await any scout with an interest in the stars, planets, or anything alike.


Have you ever flipped a switch and wondered where the light comes from? Energy merit badge seeks to answer this on top of much more. Scouts will get a first hand look at the science behind energy transformations, and conservation as well as take a look at the present day energy crises faced by the entire planet. *PRE-REQUISITE #4 REQUIRED*


Tornados, lightning, hail, hurricanes and much more! Weather is where nature really flexes its muscles. Scouts will be presented with the origins of weather patterns and be given a new perspective as to the global nature of Earth’s dynamic weather systems. After that, they will get the chance to take a firsthand look at what power nature really holds.



Project LEAF

Wild Animal Identification:

Scouts will spend time with an experienced instructor learning the subtleties of wild animal identification based on different kinds of evidence found every day around camp.

Native Plant Identification:

Scouts will spend their time out in the woods learning the intricacies of different plant adaptations, identifying plants by these adaptations and learning what different plant species indicate about the local environment.

Poisonous Plant Identification:

Scouts will learn how to identify the poisonous plants found in the area. After that, all scouts will learn the proper treatment and first aid for exposure to these species.



Training Programs

Leave No Trace Certification:

Open to scouts and leaders alike the Leave No Trace program is for anyone interested in lowering both their personal and troop impact on the environment during outdoor programs. Our certified instructor will demonstrate the fundamentals of outdoor ethics and the principles of Leave No Trace.




Hornaday Award: This is one of the most prestigious awards offered by the B.SA. It symbolizes an outstanding commitment to conservation and the environment. This award is extremely time consuming and requires a great deal of work. However, the Camp Keowa nature department will be happy to get you going in the right direction. It requires that a Scout:
1. Earn Environmental Science merit badge.
2. Earn 2 merit badges from the following group: Forestry, Soil & Water Conservation, Fish and Wildlife Management
3. Earn 3 merit badges from the following group: Bird Study, Geology, Reptile and Amphibian Study, Mammal Study, Nature, Weather, Oceanography
4. Do four substantial service projects in the areas of energy conservation, soil and water, fish and wildlife, forestry, air and water pollution, resource recovery.

World Conservation Award: For Scouts who have already earned Citizenship in the World merit badge, they may earn the World Conservation Award simply by completing:
1. Environmental Science merit badge.
2. Soil and Water Conservation or Fish and Wildlife Management merit badges.


Campwide Programs:

The Scavenger Hunt: Camp Ranachqua's world famous scavenger hunt is part of campwide games on Tuesday night. Come test your knowledge of both nature and Camp Ranachqua! Put your scavenging skills to the test against your fellow scouts! Good luck!

Conservation Projects: Conservation projects are outstanding ideas for troops wanting to do a service project for the camp. See the Program Director for ideas.

Nature Hikes: Nature Hikes are always available per request. They can be geared towards whatever field of study that your troop would like.

Astronomy Night Observations: Come check out the outstanding star field above the field of Camp Ranachqua. Open to the entire camp, the Ranachqua Astronomy program offers a unique perspective not found at many camps. Not only will attendees take a look at the science and origins of the stars and planets but they will receive a dramatic retelling of the Greek and Roman myths behind the star field.