Welcome to the Great Outdoors Challenge! Each month, you will complete a challenge and document it in your nature journal. This “journal” can be whatever gets you excited to share your outdoor experiences: a sketchpad, a lined notebook, a blog, a shadowbox, maybe even a video journal! Be creative and choose something that motivates you to explore the great outdoors.
When choosing your activity each month, try to select an activity that will be a reasonable challenge for you without taking away from your enjoyment of the great outdoors. Your goal is to be outside to learn and grow, while also creating wonderful memories!
Once you have chosen your activity, document your adventures into your chosen nature journal as you go about the project, whether it takes you a day or the whole month. Show off your discoveries with pride! You can use the hashtag #gsoutdoors to share your creations with the world and inspire other girls to get outdoors.
In June—National Great Outdoors Month—send a photo and story from your Journal to firstname.lastname@example.org and you’ll receive a special Great Outdoors Challenge fun patch! Grab your adventure buddy, try something new and most of all—have fun!
March: “The Explorer”
Pick your Explorer project! Several of these activities recommend using the internet for research. Be sure to complete the Girl Scout Internet Safety Pledge before you start.
America is full of public lands, which are areas protected by the federal government and often used for recreation. These lands include National Parks, National Forests, Bureau of Land Management areas, and many others. Use a computer to discover the types of public lands and where they are located. You’ll notice that the western U.S. has much more public land than the eastern part of the country. In fact, 46.2% of the state of Oregon is protected as public land!
In your nature journal, make a list of the country’s public lands that you’d like to visit someday. Now, find any public land near you (or one further away that you can still visit) that you’ve never visited before. Plan a trip there and enjoy exploring the amazing land! Document your experience in your journal. If you want to go somewhere new but can’t easily find a public land near you, you may choose to visit a state park.
When exploring natural environments, it’s very important to not leave a mark on the places you roam. There are seven “Leave No Trace” principles that help you learn what you can do to minimize your impact on the environment. Visit Leave No Trace’s website to learn the seven principles, and document them in your nature journal along with any examples on how to practice each principle. Come up with a way to memorize all seven principles so you don’t have to rely on your notes!
Now, it’s time to go on an adventure to practice what you’ve learned. Pick a day hike and some hiking partners, and use your knowledge of the seven Leave No Trace principles to minimize your impact on the land, animals and other visitors throughout your hike. Take this opportunity to share what you’ve learned with your hiking buddies and help them reduce their environmental impact as well. Use these principles in all of your future outdoor challenges!
Want to be an expert hiker? Then you must learn the Ten Essentials! Research the “Ten Essentials” for hiking and familiarize yourself with why those items are so important to bring into nature. In your nature journal, list the items you have that you would take hiking to fulfill the Ten Essentials. Add any additional personal items that you believe are essential for your safety or comfort as well. Ask a hiker you know for any tips or gear recommendations.
Then, go out for a hike and take your Ten Essentials with you! Remember, these items can be lifesaving, so it’s really important to take them whenever you go out adventuring. You never know when you may need, as every outdoor experience is different!