Outdoor Ethics

About Outdoor Ethics

As one of the largest users of the great outdoors, members of the BSA can have the single largest impact, either negatively or positively, on our natural resources. Practicing Outdoor Ethics, in all of our outdoor activities can reduce our outdoor impact and improve the experience of others. Outdoor Ethics is part of the Cub Scout, Scouts BSA, Venturing, and Sea Scout programs which include outdoor stewardship, care for the environment, Leave No Trace and Tread Lightly!

Awards

Get recognized for all you do for Outdoor Ethics! Find more information and applications for BSA’s Outdoor Ethics Awareness Award and the Outdoor Ethics Action Award by visiting https://www.scouting.org/outdoor-programs/outdoor-ethics/awards/

Outdoor Ethics Training

Outdoor Ethics is our responsibility to develop “a sense of appreciation for, and obligation toward the air, land, water and living things of the earth; courtesy for others using the outdoors; and stewardship: our obligation to ensure future generations’ enjoyment of our natural heritage”. (https://www.wilderness.org/articles/article/outdoor-ethics)

There are many ways for youth and adults to gain skills in and prepare to teach Outdoor Ethics. To get started, read the Outdoor Ethics chapter (generally, this is chapter 7) in your Scout/Venturing handbook or Field Guide. If you want to learn more on this topic, you can take an Outdoor Ethics Orientation course, often offered at University of Scouting. To learn more about 7 principles and practices of Leave No Trace and to find additional resources, visit https://www.scouting.org/outdoor-programs/outdoor-ethics/

To increase your proficiency, youth and adults can take the 3 hour BSA Leave No Trace Basics course or the 16 hour Leave No Trace Skills course. Either of these courses are a great way for your troop Outdoor Ethics Guide to prepare for this leadership position. These courses can be requested by contacting the Council Outdoor Ethics Advocate or are sometimes offered at council training events.

TO BECOME A LEAVE NO TRACE INSTRUCTOR

There are two options for adults who want to teach Leave No Trace:

  1. Take the 16 hour Level 1 Instructor course
  2. Take the five day Level 2 Instructor course

Learn about council planned courses by checking out the "Upcoming Courses" section below or contacting the Council Outdoor Ethics Advocate.

COURSE DESCRIPTIONS

OUTDOOR ETHICS ORIENTATION

This 60 to 90 minute course introduces the concept of Outdoor Ethics in a fun and engaging way to help youth and adults of all levels understand the general principles behind Scouting's outdoor ethics program. This course is offered at University of Scouting or it can be held at any time by anyone who has previously completed this course.

BSA LEAVE NO TRACE BASICS

This 3 to 4 hour class is designed to help youth and adults of all levels understand the general principles of Leave No Trace and how to apply them in the BSA outdoor program. This course is offered at University of Scouting and upon request at the unit level. Email the Council Outdoor Ethics Advocate for more details.

LEAVE NO TRACE SKILLS COURSE

Those taking this two-day course learn Leave No Trace skills and ethics and have opportunities to practice these low-impact techniques during the course. This course is open to both adults and youth. Graduates are prepared to discuss Leave no Trace principles with others and to practice low-impact skills and techniques on future endeavors. Learn more about this course here.

LEAVE NO TRACE LEVEL 1 INSTRUCTOR COURSE

Adults who want to educate others can take this two-day course. In this course, participants learn Leave No Trace skills and ethics and learn the techniques for educating others about these low-impact practices. This course typically occurs over two consecutive days and involves spending most of the course outdoors. Graduates are prepared to offer the Leave No Trace Skills Course, Leave No Trace Basics, and the Outdoor Ethics Orientation course. This course is recommended training for unit leaders, camp staff, and training teams for district-run outdoor programs. To find upcoming courses, contact the Council Outdoor Ethics Advocate.

LEAVE NO TRACE LEVEL 2 INSTRUCTOR COURSE

This 5-day, 5-night course is for current Level 1 Instructors to deepen their understanding of Outdoor Ethics and prepare to lead the Level 1 Instructor Course. Interested participants should complete a Level 1 Instructor Course and assist with at least one additional Level 1 Instructor Course before applying for the Level 2 Instructor Course. To find training opportunities for this course, head to https://www.scouting.org/outdoor-programs/outdoor-ethics/

Upcoming Courses

Leave No Trace Skills Course

  • This course meets one of the requirements for the National Medal for Outdoor Achievement!
  • Who: Youth aged 13 or older and adults
  • What: See course description above.
  • Where: Phillippo Scout Camp
  • When: June 22-23, 2024

Register Here

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Outdoor Ethics