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 


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: 


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: 


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. 

Information on BSA’s  Conservation Good Turn program for Cubs, Scouts and         Ventures.

Information on Scouting’s World Conservation Award for Cubs, Scouts and             Ventures.


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.”

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BSA Distinguished Conservation Service Award 

The new BSA Distinguished Conservation Service Award will recognize the conservation efforts of Scouts, Venturers, Sea Scouts, adult volunteers, and other individuals, corporations, and institutions that contribute significantly to natural resource conservation and environmental protection. It has been streamlined and modernized to build on the extraordinary contributions made by all the dedicated award recipients to date, and we believe the changes will help make these important efforts even more accessible for today’s members. 

For more detail: Click here