Many Aspects of the BSA's Outdoor Ethics Programs
Scouting is moving aggressively to reclaim a leading role in outdoor ethics education.
Outdoor Ethics, especially Leave No Trace, is gradually becoming pervasive in the BSA's outdoor programs, training and publications.
The significant progress over the past decade is a result of the hard work and guidance of the BSA's Outdoor Ethics Task force, with strong support from our partners, the BSA's national program leadership, and the various BSA program, advancement, training, awards, uniform, supply, ... teams.
BSA Outdoor Ethics Task Force
Originally formed in 2005 as the BSA's Leave No Trace Task Force, the Outdoor Ethics Task Force (OE TF) is responsible for and actively working on many of the outdoor ethics aspects listed on this page.
Leave No Trace
Scouting has embraced the Leave No Trace program as a core of our Outdoor Ethics.
The Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics
is a key partner.
- Their Principles of Leave No Trace provide a strong, science-based set of practical tools to guide our outdoor activities.
- They have strong teaching emphasis with excellent supporting materials.
- Their system of Master Educators and Trainers provides a model for educating our Scouts and Scouters.
- Their Skills and Ethics pamphlets are key practical guides to ethical decision making and skills for many Scouting outdoor environments and activities.
The focus of Tread Lightly! is mechanized outdoor recreation, so the BSA has partnered with the Tread Lightly!
to provide outdoor ethics guidance for our motorized activities and shooting sports.
More Information about Tread Lightly and the BSA.
- The TREAD Principles provide practical ethical guidance.
- They have great resources covering a wide range of outdoor activities.
- Their Tread Trainer and Master Tread Trainer courses support developing effective instructors.
- Their "Do Your Part" Principle encourages service and stewardship.
The Land Ethic
Our responsibility to understand, appreciate and respect our wildlands is part of being " conservation-minded".
"The Land Ethic",
introduced in Aldo Leopold's Sand County Almanac, reflects our historic commitment to conservation and service,
but also challenges us to assume personal responsibility for minimizing our impacts and for active stewardship in the outdoors.
Outdoor Ethics Training
Training is the biggest component of our outdoor ethics program (based on the number of people involved).
The BSA is an approved provider of Leave No Trace Master Educator courses. These courses are organized and staffed under the supervision of the OE TF.
We have been offering 10+ Leave No Trace Master Educator courses a year across the nation, and dozens of Trainer courses, making us the second largest provider of Leave No Trace training.
We also work with Tread Lightly! to provide Trainer and Master Trainer courses.
See our Training page for more details on the courses.
See our Master Educator Courses and Calendar to find upcoming courses.
Scouting's Outdoor Training
Leave No Trace is pervasive the new
Introduction to Outdoor Leadership Skills (IOLS) training.
Success can only be partial at the syllabus level, we must staff outdoor leadership courses with effective teachers,
trained in outdoor ethics, preferably with at least Leave No Trace Trainer level understanding!
We MUST CAPTURE the hearts and minds of youth leaders in NAYLE and NYLT and adults in Wood Badge and IOLS!
The Outdoor Ethics Awareness and Action Awards
encourage youth and adults to learn more about outdoor ethics and to take action.
Outdoor Ethics Guide
This youth leadership position of responsibility qualifies as a leadership position for upper ranks.More Information
Outdoor Ethics Guide replaced the Leave No Trace Trainer position of responsibility on Jan 1, 2016.
Council Outdoor Ethics Advocate
The OE TF knew they couldn't personally bring Outdoor Ethics to all 270 councils of the BSA.
The Council Outdoor Ethics Advocate (COEA) is an "official" council level volunteer position.
Key responsibilities are Training, Recruiting, Promotion, and Reporting.
Conservation and Stewardship
Conservation and Service have been a key part of Scouting's heritage since the beginning.
These components of Scouting's Outdoor Ethics are organizationally a separate part of the BSA's Outdoor Programs function.
From the first inclusion of Leave No Trace in the 1998 Boy Scout Handbook
, to a full chapter in the 2010 revision, ...
The NEW 2014 Fieldbook has a new Environmental Protection Section with chapters on Leave No Trace and Stewardship, and dozens of references in the chapters!
Jamborees & Events
Charlie Thorpe and his team have set up educational activity booths at National Jamborees, World Jamborees and events such as NOAC - the National Order of the Arrow Conference.
Camps and Properties
Many Councils are incorporating Leave No Trace and Tread Lightly! into their camp programs to support
the sustainability of their camps and properties.
(Let's collect and provide access to these resources on this website.)
Our discussion forums for scouting outdoor ethics topics:
The BSA's Outdoor Ethics Task Force
provides this website as a resource to
everyone who is teaching, learning and promoting Outdoor Ethics in Scouting.
Questions, issues, and requests specifically related to the website
can be directed to the webmaster.
See our contacts page for your other Outdoor Ethics questions.