For Girl Scouts

Bandelier, with its archeological sites, volcanic geology, wildlife, trails, and backcountry, is a good place to do outdoor activities involved in many Scout try-its, badges, and interest projects. The ones listed below are just those that involve actually coming to the park. Many others, such as those involving interviewing women in particular careers, might be done in your meeting place with help from park staff. For assistance in planning, contact the Bandelier Visitor Center at 505-672-3861 x 517.

red-tailed hawk
One activity asks you to watch a bird or insect in-flight, take notes, and share what you discover.

photo by sally king

Brownie Try-Its

Note: Bandelier is a good place to see many aspects of nature, especially in the picnic area near the Visitor Center. Please remember to observe without moving things, picking plants, or disturbing wildlife. If your group is walking on the Main Loop Trail between the Visitor Center and Alcove House, or on the Falls Trail, please be sure that everyone stays on the trail.

Earth and Sky (page 94)

5. Creatures of the Air

Observe birds, bees, and other insects. How do they fly? Watch, take notes, share what you discover

Eco-explorer (page 102)

1.Exploring Nature

Go through the book’s checklist of Nonliving Things, Living Things, and Signs of Living Things

western pygmy blue
The western pygmy blue is the smallest butterfly in North America.  It can be found in Bandelier.

photo by sally king

Numbers and Shapes (page 114)

6. Nature Shapes

Take a walk and try to find different shapes in nature. Draw at least one.

Outdoor Adventurer (page 118)

3. Day Hike

Follow a nature trail and read a guide or signs; look for things of a particular color; use a magnifying glass to find the smallest living things you can.

5. Touch, Smell, Listen

Find things in the outdoors that match the book’s list of things to touch, smell, and listen to.

Plants (page 122)

2. Plant Rubbings

Use a crayon to make a rubbing of tree bark, leaves, other natural items.

4. Leaf Hunt

Look for different kinds of leaves, draw or write about one kind, describe it to someone and have them find and recognize it.
visitors at park ski trail
Cross-country ski or snowshoe on the park's cross-country ski trails.

photo by sally king

Junior Girl Scout Badge Book

Winter Sports (page 90)

4. Distance Traveling: Use a winter form of transportation to follow a marked trail or path.

Note: the Bandelier Cross-Country Ski Trail is suitable for beginners when there is enough snow and not too much ice. This activity could be done in conjunction with "Frosty Fun", below.

CampTogether (page 92)

6. Challenge Yourself: learn a new outdoor skill

8. Natural World: plan an outdoor activity to learn more about natural surroundings

9. The Outdoors at Night: stargaze, hike at night, listen to night sounds, write a poem
Do you know what this plant is and what it can be used for?

photo by sally king

Earth Connections (page 94)

1. Be An Ecologist: in a natural area, choose a study area. List or count the plants and animals. Look for different levels. Look for soil layers and different temperatures, decide how various elements interact, and find decomposers in the system. Consider food chains.

Note: if this activity is done in Bandelier, please omit digging the hole. Perhaps that could be done in someone’s yard or another location outside of the park.

2. Traveling Through Time: look for ecological succession around a fallen tree or in a burned forest.

3. Identify That Tree: learn to identify ten local tree species.

4. Reading the Rings: look at tree rings on a tree stump.

7. Adapt or Perish: 5. Look for ways that plants or animals have adapted to their habitat.

8. Plants and People: learn to identify ten wild plants, their habitats, and uses by wildlife and native people, and which are protected by law.

9. Observing Change: return to your study area during a different season to look for examples of change by making your observations again.

Note: the area around the Visitor Center and picnic area would not be ideal for this, but there are places along the Tyuonyi Overlook Trail, the Burnt Mesa Trail, and near Ponderosa Campground that would work well. There have been prescribed fires along the Tyuonyi Overlook Trail, and the other two areas were involved in the La Mesa Fire in 1977, so all will provide old burned trees. Going into areas that have been recently burned can be very dangerous due to the possibility of trees falling. Remember not to pick any plants or disturb their habitat.

Frosty Fun (page 100)

3. Flaky Fun: look at snowflakes to see if they really are all different; draw or cut out of paper.

6. Snow Detective: find 3 kinds of animal tracks in the snow; identify; try to figure out what the animals were doing.

Hiker (page 103)

5. A Different Kind of Walk: use a compass and map to lay out a cross-country hike

6. March Forward: take part in a Volksmarch

7. Be An Explorer: go into “unknown territory” and observe three animals or plants, then identify them when you return home.

Note: off-trail travel is not permitted near the Visitor Center at Bandelier, but could be done along the Burnt Mesa trail or near Ponderosa Campground. No organized Volksmarches occur at
Bandelier, but there is a Volksmarch box at the Visitor Center, with materials for use by hikers using approved Volksmarch routes (Main Loop Trail and Falls Trail) on their own

robberfly close-up
Take a close look at wildlife.  Be careful.  Don't handle animals for your safety and theirs.

photo by sally king

Outdoor Creativity (page 110)

1.Many Ways To Be Creative: inspired by nature, make a drawing, painting, sculpture or other work to share with others..

10. Diversity in Nature: using the same medium, create works that represent your feelings about two different places.

Note: if you choose to do these activities near the Visitor Center at Bandelier, remember that it is important to stay on the trail, but without blocking it for other visitors.

Wildlife (page 124)

2. It's All in the Details: draw or photograph a plant or animal you can observe; include details

7. Take a Closer Look: use binoculars, lens, microscope, spotting scope, zoom camera to get a close-up view of a plant or animal.

10. How Was Your Day?: observe an animal to learn about the way it lives

Note: trying to find wildlife along the Main Loop Trail (near the Visitor Center) in mid-afternoon, especially in the most crowded times of year, is likely to be unsuccessful. Early or late in the day is usually better, and ask a ranger to recommend another trail with fewer people and better chances of seeing animals.

Your Outdoor Surroundings (page 127)

6. Classifying Outdoor Objects: the Artist and the Scientist - look at objects in the outdoors and use the included list of words to describe each.

7. An Outdoor Career: either at your troop meeting or at her place of work, talk with a woman involved in an outdoor career.

9. Take a Nature Hike: take a hike based around a theme, such as color-palette or shapes in nature

modern pueblo pot
Bandelier has a wide range of cultural items in its museum collection.

Bandelier collection

Science in Everyday Life (page 127)

7. Rockin’ Along: go on a geology walk to find evidence of different kinds of change.

10. The Key, Please: choose a group of living things and use an identification book to find the names of seven species; learn their key characteristics.

Note: The picnic area along the stream near the Visitor Center is a very good place to find varied species of plants and animals. Walking down the Falls Trail, using the trail’s guidebook, is a good way to be introduced to geology in the area. Be sure to remember not to disturb or collect any natural features in Bandelier.

Ceramics and Clay (page 140)

10. Folk Pottery: find examples of folk pottery at a museum or online. Sketch what you see in a museum and share with others. Label where found and material used.

Note: Ancient and present-day pottery by the Pueblo people who are related to Bandelier is on display at the museum in the Visitor Center. Plans call for the Visitor Center building to be closed from sometime in the autumn of 2009 until sometime in mid-2010 for installation of entirely new exhibits and renovation of the building, so pottery examples probably will not be available during that period. Many pieces from the Bandelier museum collection are online. Connect to the Bandelier website, On the home page, find the link to the museum collection page.

Rocks Rock (page 198)

2. Geo Hunt: Search for clues in your community or a place you visit: where a volcano had erupted; where erosion had happened; discuss, describe, share with others

Note: Taking the Falls Trail down the canyon from the Visitor Center toward the Upper Falls, using the guide book, is a particularly good way to get introduced to the volcanic geology of the area.
female dusky grouse
Do you know how to identify this Bandelier bird using a field guide?

photo by sally king

Interest Projects for Cadette and Senior Girl Scouts

All About Birds (page 50)

Skill Builders:

2. Learn to use field marks and a field guide to identify five birds.

3. Learn to identify five birds by their call or songs.


1. Learn to use binoculars to locate and identify birds.

Service Projects:

2. Take a group of younger Scouts on a bird walk to share your knowledge of local birds and how to observe them.

Digging Through the Past (page 56)

Skill Builders:

1. Go on a day hike to observe the geology or archeology of an area; make sketches or photographs of major features.

Wildlife (page 80)

Skill Builders:

1. At a natural area, make observations and record them.

2. Look for animals or their tracks; identify; record

painting by pablita velarde
Museums have to balance the interest of sharing items with the public and protecting them.  How would you protect an item like this painting by Pueblo artist Pablita Velarde?

Bandelier collection

Museum Discovery (page 130)

Skill Builders:

1. Visit a museum, talk to staff about how it meets its mission, see if you can think of ways to make it function better for different cultures, age groups, or disabled persons.

Note: the museum at Bandelier is scheduled for a major makeover beginning in about August of 2009. It (just the Visitor Center, not the park) will be closed for several months. The main objectives of the makeover are to make it function better for different cultures, age groups, and disabled persons, as well as to update information and technology.

Backpacking (page 150)

Skill Builders:

5. Plan and carry out a backpacking trip of at least 2 days.

Camping (page 152)

Skill Builders:

5. Plan a trip to challenge your skills.

Outdoor Survival (page 168)


3. Become confident with a compass; use it to travel from one point to another cross-country.

Note: although hikers must stay on the trail at all times in the area around the Visitor Center in Frijoles Canyon, cross-country travel is permitted in backcountry areas. Burnt Mesa Trail and Ponderosa Campground are good possibilities.

Last updated: June 19, 2018

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

Bandelier National Monument
15 Entrance RD

Los Alamos, NM 87544


(505) 672-3861 x517

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