The Naturalist Scouts
est. 1966 in the Toledo, Ohio Metropolitan Area
A Venturing Program



Our Checklists

Maumee Tri-Adventure Race

The Naturalist Scouts at the Annual Maple Syrup Trip in Cadillac


The picture above was taken at the Naturalist Scout Camp near Cadillac, Michigan. The cabin and our two tree houses were built by the guys in the group.

We celebrate winter on our annual winter snow trip, December 27-30th. We head for our camp near Cadillac, Michigan, where there is normally plenty of snow. Most of the guys love to snowboard and ski. We often head for Boyne or Caberfae, which are near our camp. So everyone can experience winter, we have everyone camp out in a tent at least one night. During January and February, we always do a lot more skiing and snowboarding. Winter meetings are held at Oak Openings Metropark, where there is a 4 mile cross country ski trail. We use the cross country ski trail for part of our annual winter race that includes 4 events: cross country skiing, backpacking, a map & compass course, and fire building without matches. At winter meetings we repair bird boxes, print tree identification signs, and rebuild bikes. We give each member a free road bike.

As winter is drawing to a close, we head back to our camp near Cadillac, Michigan, to make maple syrup. Sugar maples are abundant at our camp, and March is the best time to make syrup. After boiling down the syrup for many hours, we celebrate spring with an all you can eat pancake breakfast. The date for the 2015 maple syrup trip is March 20-22. If it is too cold the alternate date is April 10-12.

During spring, the meetings are devoted to projects that help the environment. Our group is part of the Ohio Adopt-A-Highway Program. We pick up litter on State Route 64, on the south and west sides of Oak Openings Metropark. We always hold an annual Earth Day litter clean up at Independence Dam State Park near Defiance. Here we pick up litter and use canoes to clean up the Miami & Erie Canal by cutting trees that have fallen into the canal during winter (Saturday April 18). At spring meetings we put up new bird and bat boxes, and replace tree identification signs at 3 state parks: Harrison Lake, Mary Jane Thurston, Independence Dam, and Goll Woods State Nature Preserve.

Our spring camping trips feature backpacking and biking. Over spring vacation we do an annual spring hike on the Appalachian Trail. We began this project by hiking the first 45 miles of the trail from Amicalola Falls State Park to Neel's Gap in 2012. In 2013 and 2014 we returned to the Appalachian Trail to hike as much as we could. We currently have in 117.2 miles, and we are finished with Georgia, and have entered North Carolina. In 2015 we are hoping to do about 50 miles in North Carolina. In spring we also have short overnight bike rides to get in condition for longer rides in summer.

During the month of May, we have our most important fund raising event of the year, The Maumee Valley Tri-Adventure Race, which is Saturday May 16, 2015. The race is held at Independence Dam State Park, 4 miles east of Defiance, Ohio. In this race participants first bike 36 miles on paved back roads. The second leg is 6 miles of canoeing/kayaking on the Maumee River. The last leg is backpacking 8 miles with 20% of your weight. Awards are given to the best male and female teams in each class. People may also do the race solo, or part of a relay team. Most people in good shape require 5-6 hours to do the race, but a few have done it in less than 5 hours. You can pick up a race brochure at most bike shops, health clubs, and Y.M.C.A.s. You can also download a brochure by going to

Every summer, the group plans a special summer trip to offer a challenge to the older members. This trip is always low cost and voluntary. The super trip for 2013 was a backpacking hike in Colorado's Rocky Mountain National Park. The super trip for 2014 was a week long canoe trip in Ontario's Algonquin Park. In 2015 we plan to do a back roads bike trip from Toledo to the Mackinac Bridge. These trips sound very expensive, but the guys only have to pay for their food, which they and their parents buy.and pack before the trip. This way the parents are in control of how much the food costs. We don't charge anything for transportatiod.

You will note that one important thread runs through everything. Our trips are all challenging. We backpack with heavy packs, and bike and canoe with all of our gear. We don’t use vans to carry our gear everywhere we go. Our work meetings are normally 4 hours long. We work and camp year around in all kinds of weather. The Naturalist Scouts is not for wimps. Since the group began in 1966, we have camped in 38 states, and biked in 25. If you want to join a group that will give you real challenges call 419-826-5182 or 419-389-7080 for more information. We are happy to provide parents with a list of former members and parents for reference.

Back in 1847, Henry Dave Thoreau watched red and black ants fight all afternoon, killing each other by the thousands. Thoreau asked an interesting question:
Are people who fight wars any different or smarter than ants that do the same thing?

The Naturalist Scouts is a great way for boys 11-17 to find adventure in the Northwest Ohio/Southeast Michigan (Greater Toledo) Area. The Naturalist Scouts is a Venture Crew (3799) under the Boy Scouts. A Venture Crew is different from a Boy Scout Troop in many ways. Venture members design the own uniforms, so they fit the kinds of activities most often done. In the Naturalist Scouts, we do a lot of biking, so we wear brightly colored T-shirts for better visibility. Venture Crew members are not required to work on merit badges, but if they want to become eagle scouts, that option is open to them. Naturalist Scouts are never asked to go out and sell things. We raise funds with out annual Tri-Adventure Race.

The Naturalist Scouts is also open to adult men older than 21, and relatives of members who wish to serve as assistant leaders.

The Naturalist Scouts is directed by Larry Lindsay who is a certified teacher and naturalist. Mr. Lindsay is assisted by Steve Henn. We will be happy to provide parents with references for these people.

Please call one of the numbers listed above or email larryllindsay [at]

Don't forget to view the links above, they have more information about the group and trips.