Conservation & Outdoor Ethics

Mission Statement

"Instilling values in young people and preparing them to make moral and ethical choices throughout their lifetime is the mission of the Boy Scouts of America.  Outdoor ethics (including Leave No Trace, TREAD Lightly!, the Outdoor Code and the Land Ethic) helps reinforce that mission, and reminds us to respect the rights of other users of the outdoors as well as future generations."

For more information on Conservation and Outdoor Ethics, contact:

Fred Thornley   thornleyo@verizon.net
Mike Steffan - Conservation Committee Chair at msteffan@ene.com 


The Leave No Trace Seven Principles

The Leave No Trace Seven Principles are the bedrock of the Leave No Trace program. They provide guidance to enjoy our natural world in a sustainable way that avoids human-created impacts. The principles have been adapted so they can be applied in your backyard or your backcountry.

Learn more at: https://lnt.org/learn/7-principles 


Outdoor Ethics

Outdoor ethics is deeply ingrained in the BSA program. No place is this more important than in the outdoors. Scouting and Venturing have a long, proud tradition of conservation service to the nation. How do we preserve that tradition? By heeding the challenge in the Outdoor Code:

As an American, I will do my best to— 
Be clean in my outdoor manners. 
Be careful with fire.
Be considerate in the outdoors.
Be conservation minded.

For more information on Outdoor Ethics, see: https://www.scouting.org/outdoor-programs/outdoor-ethics/ 


Other BSA Conservation Resources

A general list of links to conservation awards and opportunities.  Also has a description of the updated (2016) BSA Conservation Handbook and where to       get it.  https://www.scouting.org/outdoor-programs/conservation-and-environment/conservation-resources/ 

Information on BSA’s  Conservation Good Turn program for Cubs, Scouts and         Ventures.  https://www.scouting.org/programs/boy-scouts/youth/conservation-good-turn/

Information on Scouting’s World Conservation Award for Cubs, Scouts and             Ventures.  https://www.scouting.org/awards/awards-central/world-conservation/ https://www.scouting.org/awards/awards-central/world-conservation/


A Scouter's Guide to LNT

Are you and your Scouts following proper Leave No Trace principles? These days, keeping campsites pristine shows respect for the environment—and other Scouts.

AS A BOY SCOUT in the early 1980s, Ben Lawhon helped police his troop’s campsite to make sure no trash had been left behind. He also dug trenches around his tent—a makeshift moat to keep his sleeping bag and gear dry. At the time, Lawhon (and presumably his troop leaders) didn’t recognize the discrepancy between the two customs. Now, as education director for the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics, he certainly does.

Scouts and Scouters don’t ditch their tents these days—they know better. But many troops still use camping practices that run just as counter to Scouting’s conservation ethic. That’s why Lawhon and fellow Leave No Trace experts are working hard to increase awareness of Leave No Trace principles in Scouting.

“We’ve made such great strides in the Boy Scouts over the past six or seven years and have really elevated the Leave No Trace program within Scouting,” Lawhon says. “But we still have a lot of work to do.”

Continue reading on ScoutingMagazine.org

William T. Hornaday Award

Conservation and the Boy Scouts of America have been partners for a long time. Camping, hiking, and respect for the outdoors are a part of the Scouting heritage. Many of the requirements for advancement from Tenderfoot through Eagle Scout rank call for an increasing awareness and understanding of the natural sciences. Many former Scouts have become leaders in conserving our environment and protecting it from abuse. Right now Scouts are involved in learning about environmental problems and actively working to make a difference.

This awards program was created to recognize those that have made significant contributions to conservation. It was begun in 1914 by Dr. William T. Hornaday, director of the New York Zoological Park and founder of the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. Dr. Hornaday was an active and outspoken champion of natural resource conservation and a leader in saving the American bison from extinction. He named the award the Wildlife Protection Medal. Its purpose was to challenge Americans to work constructively for wildlife conservation and habitat protection. After his death in 1937, the award was renamed in Dr. Hornaday’s honor and became a Boy Scouts of America award.

More information on the William T Hornaday Award