My fictional-Naturalist TAMTOK life needs rewards. Badges. To identify progress.
Here are the categories:
• Bird identification – I’m getting better, I have a bird guide book but I’m still at Level 0. I think 10 birds will qualify for level 1. I’m probably close then.
• Tree identification – I’m at Level -47. Seriously, trees seem so easy to identify but they are not. I literally see trees everyday that I’m clueless about. I also have a tree guide book and it’s still difficult.
• Mammal identification – For strictly Kansas wildlife, I’ve still only seen about 8 different wild animals and half of those are in the city like skunks, raccoons, etc. I have seen some other fascinating creatures like woodchucks and beavers at state parks. I’m still just below Level 1.
• Lantern cleaning, repair, usage – Okay, I’ve earned this badge already. I can clean a lantern, repair it most of the time, change mantles, change the generator, change the leather pump cup, and identify most lanterns. I can add camp stoves to this category. I don’t know how many levels I’d make but I’ve at least earned the basic badge on this one.
• Camp cooking – I don’t know what my standards are but I can percolate coffee, and cook a really, really good breakfast hash on cast iron. Breakfast is covered in any desire. I’ve done baked potatoes, soup, hot dogs. S’mores isn’t even a skill so that doesn’t count. Perhaps a dessert item is the one thing keeping me from a badge here.
• Tent Snobbery: Tent know-how — More like how many different kinds of tents one can pitch and deal with, along with some tarp skills. This is a category in the works still.
• Fishing: Various species caught — Well this is the most straight-forward badge I can think of yet the most unpredictable. I figure 5 different species should earn the badge. I’ve done that in my life, but not recently which is what this is about.
• Hiking – No idea how to define this badge. If I lived in Colorado I could just go by number of 14ers, but Kansas is different.
• First Aid Kit Usage – Any time it’s used to cure something a badge is earned. Luckily I’ve never even needed a band-aid.
• Clean Earth – Zero Trace – Not sure how to define it. I pick up trash at every campsite I go to, and leave it cleaner than when I arrived. That’s worth something.
This is a fluid situation. New badges can pop up at anytime, like a Mileage Badge for number of miles traveled on camping trips. Or the Neil Young Badge for number of Neil Young albums listened to.