Outdoor Ethics Training

The BSA offers outdoor ethics training as part of all its core outdoor training programs: National Youth Leader Training (NYLT) and National Advanced Youth Leadership Experience (NAYLE) for Boy Scouts and Varsity Scouts, and part of Introduction to Outdoor Leadership Skills (IOLS) and Wood Badge for all adult volunteers with outdoor leadership responsibilities.

Outdoor Ethics and the BSA

Our US and BSA history is full of great outdoorsmen, conservationists, and naturalists from President Teddy Roosevelt, Earnest Thompson Seaton and Daniel Carter Beard to Gifford Pinchot and William T. Hornaday.  In our early beginnings,

Lord Baden-Powell observed: “On breaking camp leave two things behind you: nothing [and] your thanks”

Since 1948, the Outdoor Code has reminded us that:

“As an American, I will do my best to be:

  • Clean in my outdoor manners
  • Careful with Fire
  • Considerate in the Outdoors; and
  • Conservation minded.”

 In 1949, Aldo Leopold released “A Sand County Almanac” in which he introduced us to the “land ethic”- a new definition for the relationship between people and nature :one that enlarged our community to include “soils, water, plants and animals or, collectively, the land.”

 Over the next three decades we issued new merit badges such as wildlife, soil management, environmental science adopted the Wilderness Use Policy, created project SOAR, and the World Conservation Award. In 1990, the slogan based  educational programs developed by the federal land agencies evolved into the program now known as  Leave No Trace. In 1998, we added the first reference to the Leave No Trace seven principles in our Boy Scout handbook; in 2010, we devoted a whole chapter to LNT, and soon added new requirements for advancement, training and camp standards. In 2016, we added the Tread Lightly! which provides  a set of  principles for mountain bike and motorized vehicle use in the outdoors.

The Scout Law mandates that we be among other things, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, thrifty, clean and reverent. This implies a duty to be:                                           

Considerate to those around us

-Conserve resources

-Help where help is needed.

 It reminds us to be ethical, not only as citizens but also in our actions in the outdoors. The BSA Outdoor Ethics program is comprised of those four parts:

  • The Outdoor Code
  • Leave No Trace
  • Tread Lightly!
  • The Land Ethic

            Outdoor ethics are attitudes, not a set or rules, for protecting the environment. It provides a method for preventing avoidable resource impacts, and minimizing unavoidable impacts in order to preserve the quality of our natural resources.

Outdoor Code

Outdoor Ethics Awareness and Ethics Actions Awards

BSA Leave No Trace Trainer Course
This 16-hour, overnight course trains interested individuals ages 14 and older to serve as Leave No Trace Trainers. Trainers are the backbone of Scouting's outdoor ethics program, providing instruction to individuals and units wishing to adopt cutting-edge outdoor ethics into their unit programs. Trainers are specially commissioned to teach the BSA Leave No Trace 101 course and to qualify individuals for the BSA Leave No Trace Awareness card. Completion of this course or another recognized Leave No Trace Trainer course is recommended for a youth to hold the Boy Scout/Varsity Scout position of responsibility of Outdoor Ethics Guide. Each BSA Trainer course is taught by a recognized Leave No Trace Master Educator, so your Trainer standing is recognized nationally by the BSA's partner, the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics.

 

BSA Leave No Trace Master Educator Course
This five-day, five-night course trains interested individuals ages 18 and older to serve as Leave No Trace Master Educators. Master Educators work with their council's outdoor ethics advocates to provide Leave No Trace Trainer, BSA Leave No Trace 101, and outdoor ethics awareness courses. Each BSA Master Educator course is taught by a set of nationally designated Master Educator Instructors, so your Master Educator standing is recognized nationally by the BSA's partner, the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics.

Upcoming Course: October 13-15 & October 27-30 both weekends required

Outdoor Ethics Committee