Whether you're a Girl Scout working on your Cadet-Naturalist Tree badge, or a Boy Scout working on your Forestry merit badge, time's moving on, and you need to be moving on too! (If, though, you're an English major working on your spelling, forget about that last word in the headline--it's not in the book.)
Boy Scouts will need to be able to identify fifteen plants in accordance with the requirements found in the previous link for the Forestry merit badge and they will be required to "Prepare a field notebook, make a collection, and identify 15 species of trees, wild shrubs, or vines in a local forested area."
The Girl Scout web site refers to a place to order (for $22.50, a bit more than my "Examiner" budget will allow) a book containing the requirements for their Cadet-Naturalist Tree badge and other information. Maybe I didn't look at the right web page for these requirements. In any case, If you're a Girl Scout working on this badge, what you see when you go to the link for the Cadet-Naturalist states, " When I've earned this badge, I'll have gone to the root of what trees are all about -- and branched out as a naturalist." (An excellent sentence, by the way, for English majors, complete with a couple of double-entendres.) Undoubtedly this will require a trip (probably several) to the woods.
The accompanying slide show shows a number of trees and plants you can find by walking the trail around Aiken's Carolina Bay. The bay is on Price Avenue just to the North of Virginia Acres Park. The trees are there awaiting your identification, but some of them will have shed all their leaves if you don't get there soon. Of course a trip now and another one in late December or January will allow you to note the difference between the deciduous and evergreen tree varieties found there. Go now to be sure you are pairing the right leaves with the right trunks.
The bay trail is fairly short, and a wide variety of trees are available. There are actually two trails--one next to the water and another, well defined by bright green blazes on the tree trunks, deeper in the wooded areas. In colonial times the blazes would have been made with hatchets. Now a spray can suffices. I'm sure the trees are appreciative.
Walking both trails will give you a bit under a mile's hike while you find several species of pines and oaks. There also are gum trees, magnolias, hollies, and a number of vines, including one poisonous one. You will also find a couple of invasive species and some water-loving trees along the way. Take the virtual walk (the slide show) and then go to the bay and see if you can find where the pictures were taken. Be sure (also) to take your identification guide along. As you probably noticed (or will notice) in the virtual walk, the identifications your examiner made are not exactly complete (e.g., willow, what kind of willow?)
If your walk along the bay leaves you with a desire to see more trees, Aiken has an excellent arboretum trail that begins at the ABBE (Aiken, Bamburg, Barnwell, Edgefield) public library on Chesterfield Street (before it turns to Whiskey) near South Boundary. Check out the arboretum trail link to see what the City has to say about this walk.
If you have friends who, like you, are working on their badges in forestry, why not share this article with them while you're here on the web. Just copy this link, http://www.examiner.com/environmental-news-in-augusta/stephen-geddes , to your email and tell your fellow scouts to look at today's article. They will probably appreciate your passing this on, and perhaps they will feel the need to do the same if they come across useful knowledge they think you might use. If you have any questions you think I might be able to answer, feel free to contact me at "firstname.lastname@example.org". Also, if you've gotten this far, thanks for visiting with me. And, as always, thanks for visiting Examiner.com