Exploration Merit Badge
Please arrive with ample time prior to the start time of your class for registration.  Remember there will be others checking in as well and depending on the size of the class, and the event the class is being held in conjunction with, that registration may take a little time.

You should bring a blue card filled out properly for this class. - Scoutmaster Bucky Online participants - you will not be allowed to participate if you have not provided your signed blue card prior to the class - you should have forwarded your blue card to Scoutmaster Bucky prior to the class via email or postal mail:
Scoutmaster Bucky - 5724 Aldrich Avenue South  Minneapolis, Minnesota  55419.

If you are not familiar with how to fill out a blue card, you should familiarize yourself with Scoutmaster Bucky's "How To Fill Out A Blue Card" document. Click here for Scoutmaster Bucky's "How To Fill Out A Blue Card".  Remember it is a Scout's responsibility to take care of their own blue card from beginning to end.
Your Scout Uniform is required to be worn for attending this Merit Badge session.   If you have any additional questions, please feel free to contact Brian Reiners; Scoutmaster Bucky via email or on the phone at 612-483-0665.

Reviewing the merit badge pamphlet PRIOR to attending and doing preparation work will insure that Scouts get the most out of these class opportunities. The merit badge pamphlet is a wealth of information that can make earning a merit badge a lot easier. It contains many of the answers and solutions needed or can at least provide direction as to where one can find the answers.

It is NOT acceptable to come unprepared to a Scoutmaster Bucky event. You can (and should) use the Scoutmaster Bucky Exploration Merit Badge Workbook to help get a head start and organize your preparation work. Please note that the use of any workbook is merely for note taking and reference and completion of any Merit Badge workbook does not warrant, guarantee, or confirm a Scouts completion of any merit badge requirement(s). You can download the Scoutmaster Bucky Exploration Merit Badge Workbook by clicking here .   If this link is not working please check the internet for other merit badge workbook options.

It should be noted that this merit badge class is not meant for those who just want to come and see what they can get done. It is possible to complete this merit badge by being properly prepared and having done the preparation work prior to the class. Preparation is a MUST 
Other Exploration MERIT BADGE PAGES
Exploration Merit Badge Current Requirements
Scoutmaster Bucky's - Exploration Merit Badge Workbook
Exploration Merit Badge and Merit Badge History Page

Exploration Merit Badge Things to remember to bring for this Merit Badge Class:

1. Merit Badge Blue Card properly filled out and signed off by your Scoutmaster

2. Exploration Merit Badge Pamphlet

3. Scout Uniform

4. Supporting documentation or project work pertinent to this merit badge which may also include a Merit Badge Workbook for reference with notes

5. A positive Scouting focus and attitude


1. GENERAL KNOWLEDGE Do the following:

a. Define exploration and explain how it differs from adventure travel, trekking or hiking, tour-group trips, or recreational outdoor adventure trips.

b. Explain how approaches to exploration may differ if it occurs in the ocean, in space, in a jungle, or in a science lab in a city.

Scouts are strongly urged to use a merit badge workbook or other means to make notes when preparing for this requirement. Scouts will have an opportunity to participate in class discussion led by the merit badge counselor to complete this requirement. It must be noted that only Scouts that actively and satisfactorily participate in the discussion will be signed off for these components of the requirement.


2. HISTORY OF EXPLORATION Discuss with your counselor the history of exploration. Select a field of study with a history of exploration to illustrate the importance of exploration in the development of that field (for example, aerospace, oil industry, paleontology, oceanography, etc.).

Scouts should consider having this written out to show the counselor that some thought and research has gone into this requirement and Scouts should be prepared to discuss their findings. Scouts will not automatically be signed off on this requirement just for attending the class, active participation in the class discussion will be required.


3. IMPORTANCE OF EXPLORATION Explain to your counselor why it is important to explore. Discuss the following:

a. Why it is important for exploration to have a scientific basis

b. How explorers have aided in our understanding of our world

Requirement compnents 3a and 3b can easily be prepared for through the reviewal of the Exploration Merit Badge pamphlet. All the necessary information and explanation can be found in the pamphlet for preparing for completion of this requirement. Finding the information however is only a part of the requirement. Scouts must actively be ready and successfully explain what is asked for in these requirement components during the class in order to be considered for sign off.

c. What you think it takes to be an explorer

This requirement component is asking "what YOU think it takes to be an explorer". Scout will need to be able to communicate to the counselor during the class their explanation for this. It should be thought out and not some simplistic one sentence response.  Remember, there is no right or wrong answer as the requirement component is asking you what you think. It is recommended that Scouts consider using a merit badge workbook or notebook to make notes ahead of time for easier reference and quick completion of this requirement component when their turn is at hand during the class.


4. REAL-LIFE EXPLORATION Do ONE of the following:

a. Learn about a living explorer. Create a short report or presentation (verbal, written, or multimedia slide presentation) on this individual's objectives and the achievements of one of the explorer's expeditions. Share what you have learned with your counselor and unit.

b. Learn about an actual scientific exploration expedition. Gather information about the mission objectives and the expedition's most interesting or important discoveries. Share what you have learned with your counselor and unit. Tell how the information gained from this expedition helped scientists answer important questions.

c. Learn about types of exploration that may take place in a laboratory or scientific research facility (medicine, biology, chemistry, physics, astronomy, etc.). Explain to your counselor how laboratory research and exploration are similar to field research and exploration.

Whichever requirement component a Scout chooses will requires a focused effort in preparing for the class. Class time will be provided for all Scouts to share, explain, discuss their work on this requirement. Scouts will find documenting their research and bringing their work to class to be very helpful in completing this requirement at the class.


5. EXPLORATION IN LAB AND FIELD Do ONE of the following, and share what you learn with your counselor:

a. With your parent's permission and counselor's approval, visit either in person or via the internet an exploration sponsoring organization (such as The Explorers Club, National Geographic Society, Smithsonian Institution, Alpine Club, World Wildlife Fund, or similar organization). Find out what type(s) of exploration the organization supports.

b. With permission and approval, visit either in person or via the internet a science lab, astronomical observatory, medical research facility, or similar site. Learn what exploration is done in this facility.

Requirement 5 will NOT be covered in the class, HOWEVER, Scouts who can bring documented proof of completing either of the components for this requirement will have an opportunity to share with the counselor their accomplishment. If the work meets the satisfaction of the merit badge counselor, (saying you did it is not enough, you need to bring proof), most counselors will sign off on the requirement.


6. EXPEDITION PLANNING Discuss with your counselor each of the following steps for conducting a successful exploration activity. Explain the need for each step.

a. Identify the objectives (establish goals).

b. Plan the mission. Create an expedition agenda or schedule. List potential documents or permits needed.

c. Budget and plan for adequate financial resources. Estimate costs for travel, equipment, accommodations, meals, permits or licenses, and other expedition expenses.

d. Determine equipment and supplies required for personal and mission needs for the length of the expedition.

e. Determine communication and transportation needs. Plan how to keep in contact with your base or the outside world, and determine how you will communicate with each other on-site.

f. Establish safety and first aid procedures (including planning for medical evacuation). Identify the hazards that explorers could encounter on the expedition, and establish procedures to prevent or avoid those hazards.

g. Determine team selection. Identify who is essential for the expedition to be successful and what skills are required by the expedition leader.

h. Establish detailed recordkeeping (documentation) procedures. Plan the interpretation and sharing of information at the conclusion of the expedition.

This requirement and its components will be reviewed during the class. Scouts need to be sure to review the Exploration Merit Badge pamphlet prior to the class to ensure they have a basic understanding of the requirement, its components, and the information provided in the pamphlet to help further the Scout's understanding. Preparation by utilizing a merit badge workbook or notebook will greatly affect the success and outcome for Scouts on potential completion of this requirement. Only Scouts who clearly show they have prepared for this requirement AND actively participate in the class will be considered for sign off on this requirement.


7. PREPARE FOR AN EXPEDITION With your parent's permission and counselor's approval, prepare for an actual expedition to an area you have not previously explored; the place may be nearby or far away. Do the following:

a. Make your preparations under the supervision of a trained expedition leader, expedition planner, or other qualified adult experienced in exploration (such as a school science teacher, museum representative, or qualified instructor).

This requirement component will be covered in the class.  Scouts that have prepared for Requirement 6 ahead of time will find completing this requirement much easier than those that have not. Be prepared.

b. Use the steps listed in requirement 6 to guide your preparations. List the items of equipment and supplies you will need. Discuss with your counselor why you chose each item and how it will be of value on the expedition. Determine who should go on the expedition.

For Scouts who have prepared for class by having Requirement 6 ready for review will find preparing for this requirement to be much easier.  Scouts should be prepared to share their list of items and their reasoning for discussion during the class.

c. Conduct a pre-expedition check, covering the steps in requirement 6, and share the results with your counselor. With your counselor, walk through the Sweet Sixteen of BSA Safety for your expedition. Ensure that all foreseeable hazards for your expedition are adequately addressed.

Class time will be alotted by the counselor to complete this requirement component for Scouts who have prepared for and successfully completed Requirement 6.  will have an opportunity of completing this requirement component. Class time will incorporate time to complet.


8. GO ON AN EXPEDITION Complete the following:

Please note that only Scouts who complete Requirements 6 and 7 will be able to be considered for completion on all of Requirement 8. There is no way to say for sure that preparation of Requirements 6 and 7 will be accepted by the counselor, as with any merit badge requirement, completion is only signed off by the counselor when the counselor feels the requirement, or a component of the requirement, has been completed to their satisfaction.

a. With your parent's permission and under the supervision of your merit badge counselor or a counselor-approved qualified person, use the planning steps you learned in requirement 6 and the preparations you completed in requirement 7 to personally undertake an actual expedition to an area you have not previously explored.

The counselor will review and work with all Scouts (regardless of how well prepared they are) in reviewing this requirement component through class discussion and review. Scouts not having done preparation work on Requirements 6 and 7 will find it difficult to be considered for sign off on this requirement.  By the end of the class, all Scouts will have a clear understanding of what still needs to be done to meet the satisfaction of the merit badge counselor for sign off on all outstanding requirements and components of requirements.

b. Discuss with your counselor what is outdoor ethics and its role in exploration and enjoying the outdoors responsibly.

Scouts should review this requirement component and be prepared for discussion during the class. It is highly recommended that Scouts utilize a notebook or a Merit Badge Workbook to make and organize their notes for reference during the class to help them during their discussion.

c. After you return, compile a report on the results of your expedition and how you accomplished your objective(s). Include a statement of the objectives, note your findings and observations, include photos, note any discoveries, report any problems or adverse events, and have a conclusion (whether you reached your objective or not). The post-expedition report must be at least one page and no more than three; one page can be photos, graphs, or figures.

This requirement may be done prior to the class however most Scouts will likely need to complete this requirement after the class. Scouts trying to complete this requirement component for consideration of sign off at the class should remember that, while feasible to do, it is at the discretion of the merit badge counselor whether work done meets their satisfaction for completion.  Those choosing to be considered for sign off MUST remember to complete and provide all elements of thei requirement component, including the post-expedition report as outlined in this requirement component.


9. CAREER OPPORTUNITIES Identify three career opportunities in exploration. Pick one and explain to your counselor how to prepare for such a career. Discuss what education and training are required, and why this profession might interest you.

Scouts should review this requirement and its components and be prepared to discuss. It is strongly recommended that Scouts bring any notes or supporting documents they may have to help show the counselor that they have prepared for completion of this requirement.

this page last reviewed / updated: March 2020