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A backwoodsman who lives far away from human habitations in the deep forests must know about useful trees and other plants.

A Scout often has to describe the country he has been through. If he reports that it is "well wooded", it might be of great importance for the reader of his report to know what kind of trees the woods were composed of.

For instance, if the wood were of fir or larch trees it would mean you could get poles for building bridges. If it were coco palm trees, you know you could get nuts for eating and "milk" for drinking. Willow trees mean water close by. Pine or sugar bush or gum trees means lots of good fuel.

A Scout should therefore make a point of learning the names and appearances of the trees in his country.

He should get hold of a leaf of each kind and compare it with the leaf on the tree, and then get to know the general shape and appearance of each kind of tree, so he can recognize it at a distance-not only in summer, but also in winter. Some trees have typical shapes- as the Oak, Elm and Poplar in the sketches. See if you can find others, say of Pine, Birch, Willow, and so on.

Guardian of the Woods

As a Scout, you are the guardian of the woods. A Scout never damages a tree by hacking it with his knife or axe. It does not take long to fell a tree, but it takes many years to grow one, so a Scout cuts down a tree for a good reason only-not just for the sake of using his axe. For every tree felled, two should be planted.


It is seldom necessary to chop trees even for firewood, as usually there is plenty of dead wood lying about on the ground. Or a dead branch can be broken off a tree. Dead wood burns far more easily than green wood.

Generally speaking, soft woods-Pine, Fir, Spruce and Larch- make good kindling and give quick fires for short jobs such as boiling water. Hard woods-Oak, Beech, Maples and others-give lasting fires with many embers for longer jobs such as roasting, stewing and baking.

In America they say, "One tree may make a million matches- one match may destroy a million trees." A Scout is very careful about fires. When he uses one he sees that it is completely out before he leaves the place, by dousing the last spark with water.


Lord Baden-Powell of Gilwell (Chief Scout, London, UK)

Date of Creation


Learn A Continuation:

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