On your honor, will you do your best to sustain the environment? Get inspired by the Boy Scouts

The Boy Scouts of America not only offers a Sustainability merit badge, the group actually counts it among the required merit badges to achieve the rank of Eagle Scout. In addition, sustainability components are woven throughout many other merit badges, including:

  • Soil and Water Conservation
  • Pulp & Paper
  • Camping
  • Forestry
  • Fish & Wildlife Management
  • Bird Study
The Boy Scout’s website Green to Deep Green describes how important sustainability is to scouting:

“When you break it down, sustainability goes hand in hand with being a good Scout. Reducing what we consume and recycling, repurposing, restoring, and repairing what we own all are parts of being thrifty, a key point of the Scout Law.”
Trail Building – Soil and Conservation Work © BSA – Philmont Scout Ranch  http://www.philmontscoutranch.org© BSA – Trail Building – Soil and Conservation Work, Philmont Scout RanchThe Scouts not only make sustainability a key part of their teachings, they also practice it on the lands they own and with the publications they produce. The Boy Scouts have been long-term partners with the non-profit Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI). In fact, two of the National High Adventure bases where they own lands are certified to the SFI Standard:

  • Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico: 90,000 acres
  • Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve in West Virginia: 13,000 acres
Key Boy Scout publications, including merit badge books and Boy’s Life and Scouting magazines, are made of paper that meets the SFI Standard. SFI is also a key participant in national Boy Scouts Jamborees, supplying sustainably sourced materials and providing instruction on sustainable forestry.

At the 2017 National Jamboree this summer, SFI will host an exhibit on the Conservation Trail aside state and federal agencies and other conservation organizations. The SFI exhibit will include counseling for the Plant Science merit badge and education on the SFI label. More than 25,000 scouts and scout leaders are expected to attend the event.

Cub Scout’s Pinewood Derby® race© BSA
At the community level, local SFI Implementation Committees work with Boy Scout troops throughout the United States to complete projects in support of sustainable forestry. One example is the recent Trees to Track project in Milwaukee that brought forestry professionals together with Boy Scouts to make 2,500 SFI Race Kits from sustainably harvested and milled wood product for use with the Cub Scout’s Pinewood Derby® race.

To find out more about sustainable forestry, SFI, and SFI initiatives with the Boy Scouts of America, visit sfiprogram.org.

Tags: Forestry


treehugger slideshows