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The Night Owl badge is part of the “It's Your Story - Tell It!” badge set introduced in 2011.

Step 1: Take a field trip to explore the nightEdit

Find information about life after dark.  If the cultural institution or science center you choose offers overnight events, you might arrange with your family or Girl Scout sisters to spend the night.  Whatever the hours of your visit, use it to become better acquainted with the night.

CHOICES – DO ONE:

Share night art.  At an art museum or library, find three paintings of famous nighttime scenes or three bedtime books or poems about the night.   Tell your friends the stories behind the pictures or read the poems or stories together.

OR

Get into nightlife. At a zoo or aquarium, gather three fun facts about one creature’s nocturnal habits.  If you can, talk about what you’ve learned as you watch the creature in action.

OR

Go solar (or lunar, or extraterrestrial...). At a planetarium, find five fun facts about starts, planets, and the night sky.  Share them as you enjoy a planetary show or display.

Step 2: Tour your world after darkEdit

Get out and enjoy how the cloak of darkness and the glitter of stars make the ordinary extraordinary.  How do things change after dark?  Scribble thought in a journal by flashlight, record audio or video, or find your own way to document your experience so you can share the night mysteries with others.

The Science of Reflection

The red reflectors on bikes and cars are corner reflectors.  They’re shaped so that when light hits them, it bounces back in the direction from which it came.  This ensures that oncoming drivers see the reflection of their own headlights.  To get a sense of a corner reflector’s angles, toss a tennis ball directly into a corner.  After bouncing off three surfaces, it should return to you.  Corner reflectors have, also, been used to bounce laser beams back to the earth from the moon’s surface.

CHOICES – DO ONE:

Tour your neighborhood at night.  First, map out your route and follow it during the day.  Then, travel the same route after dark.  Note what’s different from shapes to sounds to creatures to your feelings about your surroundings.

OR

Visit a park, trail, lake, stream, or other natural environment. Use all five senses to notice what’s different after dark.

FOR MORE FUN: Put on a pair of inexpensive nighttime goggles (sold by toy science stores) to see how they change the view of the world.

OR

Visit a place that’s open 24 hours. Perhaps it’s a grocery store, restaurant, hotel, or airport. How is the place different after dark? Do you feel any different being there?

Step 3: Meet people who work night hoursEdit

Many people are on the job while the rest of the world sleeps.  Check out all the examples below.  Find out what it’s like to be employed as a night owl, and capture your experience in one of three ways.

On the NIGHTShift


Bakers                             Security guards

Farmers                           Delivery drivers

Radio deejay                      TV news anchor

Newspaper reporter               Hospital worker

Emergency medical units          Police officer

Fire departments                  Utilities workers

Airplane and airport staff        Grad students

Delivery truckers                  Staff at all-night diners

“Nighttime is really the best time to work.  All the ideas are there to be yours because everyone else is asleep.”                                  - Catherine O’Hara, Canadian-American actress


CHOICES – DO ONE:

Be an investigative reporter.  Interview someone who works the night shift and record audio to share, or write your interview and share it in your local paper or on a Girl Scout or family website.

FOR MORE FUN:  Make and share an old-fashioned radio show that dramatizes a scene at the interviewee’s workplace.

OR

Take part in the night shift.  Visit the person at their workplace and imagine yourself in the job.  What is a typical shift like?  How does having a nighttime job affect other parts of their life?

FOR MORE FUN:  Take video of your visit and share it with your community or school.

OR

Create a photo essay. If you can visit a night worker, take pictures of the person to include in your story.  Or, find nighttime work pictures in magazines or online.  Put together a photo essay or photo collage that captures your feeling about what it’s like to work at night.  Can you take photos without a flash and still see the pictures? Take them as you see them?

Step 4: Explore nature at nightEdit

From planets to constellations, from moonflower to evening primrose, from bats to owls to anacondas, some parts of the natural world come alive – or only appear to – at night.  Become more familiar with the natural night world.

Real Nocturnal Animals

Some places are famous for their amazing nocturnal creatures.  There are bat caves in Texas and a bat bridge in Sydney; tenrecs and aye-ayes in Madagascar; and anacondas in the Amazon slithering through the night.

CHOICES – DO ONE:

Examine the night sky.Take this chance to learn more about an astronomy topic that interests you.  You might make a drawing of the Big Dipper and North Star twice in one evening three hours apart as Cadettes in 1963 did to earn their Star badge.  Or, you could look through a telescope at three or more heavenly objects, such as a star cluster, a galaxy, or a moon, as girls did to earn their Aerospace badge in 1980.

OR

Create a nocturnal animal.How do cats see in the dark?  How do bats navigate?  Design your own super-night-sense animal, combining aspects of real animals and your own ideas.  Share it as a sketch, sculpture, or collage.

OR

Sketch a landscape plan for your own “midnight garden.”These gardens are full of night-blooming flowers and flowers that shimmer in the moonlight.  For inspiration, try to see at least one such flower in the dark.  A nursery is a good place to start. 

Step 5: Host an Extreme Nighttime PartyEdit

Get to know even more about those wee hours by ramping up a nighttime or slumber party with one of these activities. (Even if it’s your family in sleeping bags in the living room, it can still be an adventure!)

Fun FACT

The farther north you are n the Northern Hemisphere, the less sun you will see during the day of the winter solstice. Norway is called “the land of the midnight sun,” but could it, also, be known as “the land of the noontime moon”?

CAREERS to Explore Edit

  • Poet
  • Lawyer
  • Painter
  • Novelist
  • Reporter
  • Firefighter
  • Copy editor
  • Event planner
  • Train engineer
  • Train conductor
  • Hotel concierge
  • Crime lab worker
  • Home care provider
  • Private investigator
  • Computer programmer
  • Wildlife photographer
  • Morning news makeup artist
  • Transportation ticketing agent


CHOICES – DO ONE:

A “night” activity for younger Girl Scouts.  You might make a planet mobile or Star Finder (find instructions on the NASA website), paint glow-in-the-dark T-shirts or create constellations from star stickers. Make fun snacks to share (star-shaped cookies?).

FOR MORE FUN:Ask older girls to stay later and watch space-themed movies.

OR

A “Power Down!” night.  Pretend you live before electricity.  Spend at least three hours with your family using no lights, television, or other electronics.  Figure out how to light and heat your house, cook food, and entertain yourselves.

FOR MORE FUN:  Give the night a theme – pretend you’re living during pioneer days or the Renaissance.

OR

A nighttime legend. For centuries, storytellers invented legends about the night, like how constellations came to live in the sky.  Find one of these stories to tell friends and family – or find your own constellation and tell how yours came to be.

SAY GOODNIGHT ACROSS THE WORLD

Language                      “Good Night”                        Say It This Way

German                                   Guten nacht                                       goo-ten knock

Tibetan                                  Simjah nahnggo                                 sim-shag nang-go

Italian                                    Buonanotte                                        bu-oh-na no-tay

Japanese                                Oyasuminasai                                     oh-yah-so-me-nah-sigh

French                                    Bonne nuit                                          bohn nwee

Swahili                                    Lala salama                                        lah-lah sah-lah-mah

Polish                                      Dobranoc                                           doe-brah-nots

Hebrew                                   Laila tov                                              lie-lah tohv

Tamil                                      Iniya iravu                                          ee-nee-yah ee-ra-voo

Rushian                                   Spokojnoj                                           spah-kohy-nuhy noh-chee

Add the Badge to Your Journey Edit

For step 3, try meeting and interviewing people who work in nighttime media.  Find out for yourself how news travels during the night, and what interesting challenges face journalists who report during the wee hours or on early morning news shows. You might even get insider tips to help you with your MEdia Remake project.

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