Explore the Life of a Can & Earn Awards for Outdoor Ethics
Click to jump to learn more about how your actions can make a positive impact on the world around you.:
- Learn about the journey of a can from recycling bin to back onto a market shelf.
- See how your actions can fulfill your oath to obey the Outdoor Code.
- Take action to earn the Outdoor Ethics Award (Scouts BSA and Venturers)
- Lead your pack, troop, or crew to earn the Conservation Good Turn Award (Cub Scouts, Scouts BSA, and Venturers)
60 Days, from Your Recycling Bin, to Back Inside Your Refrigerator
Have you ever wondered what happens to your aluminum cans once they are recycled? Most of those cans take a remarkable journey from being collected, then shipped to a recycling plant, melted, then reformed into the very same can it was before! As aluminum has so many uses it may become something completely different, like a Cub Scout belt loop, or in the production of airplanes and spacecraft parts. Aluminum is an important metal used in so many applications because it is lightweight, inexpensive, durable, and infinitely recyclable!
Watch the Life of a Can!
Watch Life of a Can for an opportunity to win a behind the scenes tour of Mercedes-Benz Stadium with your family. Experience the home of the Atlanta Falcons and Atlanta United like you have never seen before! Visit the locker rooms, walk on the field, behold the awe-inspiring Window to the City and Skybridges, and tour the 100 Yard Club.
Tickets will be drawn at random for XX Scout families. To enter, watch the video and then submit this form:
The Outdoor Code
Whether a Cub Scout is taking their first hike with their den or an outdoor adventure with the pack, our outdoor ethics guide us to be responsible outdoor citizens — protecting our natural world for generations to come and being considerate of other visitors. Scouting has a long, proud tradition of conservation service to the nation. How do we maintain our outdoor ethics and preserve that tradition? By heeding the challenge in the Outdoor Code:
As a Scout we commit ourselves to 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.
Scouts BSA Outdoor Ethics Awards
Scouts interested in learning more about outdoor ethics and Leave No Trace should begin by exploring the Outdoor Ethics Awareness Award. The requirements are as follows:
- Recite from memory and explain the meaning of the Outdoor Code.
- Watch the National Park Service Leave No Trace video. It’s on the right side of the page.
- Complete the Leave No Trace online course. Print the certificate.
- Complete the Tread Lightly! online course. Print the certificate.
- Participate in an outdoor ethics course, workshop, or training activity facilitated by a person who has completed the BSA outdoor ethics orientation course or is a BSA outdoor ethics trainer or master.
Outdoor Ethics Action Award
The Outdoor Ethics Action Award challenges Scouts and Scouters to take affirmative steps to improve their outdoor skills. The requirements for the Outdoor Ethics Action Award are as follows:
Scout Action Award Requirements
- Do the following:
- Unless already completed, earn the Outdoor Ethics Awareness Award.
- Complete the BSA outdoor ethics orientation course.
- Explain how each of the four points of the Outdoor Code guides your actions when outdoors.
- Do the following:
- Read Chapter 7 of the Scouts BSA Handbook on Outdoor Ethics.
- Teach a skill related to the Outdoor Code or Leave No Trace to another Scout in your troop or another Scouting unit.
- Complete one of the following:
- Successfully complete a term as your troop Outdoor Ethics Guide.
- Participate in an outing that emphasizes the complete set of Leave No Trace or relevant Tread Lightly! principles. All members of the troop participating in the outing should use the outdoor ethics and the specific skills needed to minimize impacts from their use of the outdoors.
- Follow the Outdoor Code, Leave No Trace, and Tread Lightly! principles on three outings. Write a paragraph on each outing explaining how you followed the Outdoor Code, Leave No Trace, and Tread Lightly! Share it with your unit leader or an individual who has completed the BSA outdoor ethics orientation course.
- On a troop outing, help your troop on a service activity that addresses recreational impacts related to the type of outing. The project should be approved in advance by the landowner or land manager and lead to permanent or long-term improvements.
- Participate in a report at a court of honor or similar family event on the service activity in Requirement 5.
Scouter Action Award Requirements
- Do the following:
- Earn the Outdoor Ethics Awareness Award.
- Complete the BSA outdoor ethics orientation course.
- Discuss with your troop how each of the four points of the Outdoor Code guides your actions when outdoors.
- Read the North American Skills & Ethics booklet to learn about the principles of Leave No Trace. Review the principles of Tread Lightly! Review Chapter 7 of the Scouts BSA Handbook and Fieldbook chapters about Leave No Trace, using stoves and campfires, hygiene and waste disposal, and traveling and camping in special environments.
- Facilitate your troop’s leadership in planning and leading an outing that emphasizes the complete set of Leave No Trace or Tread Lightly! principles. All members of the troop participating in the outing should use outdoor ethics and the specific skills to minimize impacts from their use of the outdoors.
- Help plan and participate in at least three outings where your troop can follow the Outdoor Code and practice the principles of Leave No Trace and Tread Lightly! Facilitate a discussion at the end of the outings.
- Assist your unit in arranging for a service project emphasizing outdoor ethics with a local landowner or land manager. The project must be approved by the landowner or land manager in advance. Participate in that project. The project should lead to permanent or long-term improvements.
- Make, or facilitate youth in making, a presentation at a roundtable or similar gathering about what your troop did for Requirement 4.
- Help at least three Scouts earn the youth Outdoor Ethics Action Award.
Conservation Good Turn Award
Since 1910, conservation has been an integral part of the program of the Boy Scouts of America. The BSA has been a positive force in conservation and environmental efforts. Scouts have rendered distinguished public service by helping to conserve wildlife, energy, forests, soil, and water. Past generations of Scouts have been widely recognized for undertaking conservation Good Turn action projects in their local communities.
Scouts of today have grown up hearing words such as ecosystem, biodiversity, and climate change. They recognize the need for, and the benefits of, conserving natural resources. Scouts understand that we all must work together for the betterment of the land, forests, wildlife, air, and water.
Much has been accomplished in recent years by individual Scouts and through unit conservation Good Turns. Much more needs to be done.
Support Your Local Conservationists
The Conservation Good Turn Award is an opportunity for Cub Scout packs, Scout troops and Venturing crews to join with conservation or environmental organizations (federal, state, local, or private) to carry out a conservation Good Turn in their home communities.
- The Scouting unit contacts a conservation agency and offers to carry out a Good Turn project.
- The agency identifies a worthwhile and needed project that the unit can accomplish.
- Working together in the local community, the unit and the agency plan the details and establish the date, time, and location for carrying out the project.
Many federal agencies are resources for the BSA’s Conservation Good Turn. These agencies include
- U.S. Department of Agriculture
- Natural Resources Conservation Service
- Forest Service
- Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service
- U.S. Department of the Interior
- Fish and Wildlife Service
- Bureau of Land Management
- National Park Service
- Geological Survey
- Bureau of Indian Affairs
- Bureau of Reclamation
- U.S. Department of Commerce
- National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
A Conservation Good Turn certificate is available at the council service center for units that participate and report on their efforts. A Conservation Good Turn patch is also available for purchase at the council service center to recognize individual youth and adult members who participate in a meaningful conservation project.
The World Conservation Award provides another opportunity for individual youth members to “think globally” and “act locally” to preserve and improve our environment. This program is designed to make youth aware that all nations are closely related through natural resources and that we are interdependent with our world environment. Applications for this award are available at the council service center.
Conservation and environmental agencies typically have a backlog of needed projects that they have been unable to carry out for lack of funding or volunteers. The list of possible Good Turn projects is limited only by the needs of the agency and the willingness of the Scouting unit. In every community, whether urban, suburban, or rural, worthwhile projects await all Scouting units.
Cub Scouts and Webelos Scouts
Cub Scouting conservation projects could involve the entire Cub Scout pack, or one den, plus adult leaders and family members. Hands-on projects help Cub Scouts and Webelos Scouts realize that everyone can do things to care for the environment. Cub Scouts and Webelos Scouts participating in the Conservation Good Turn can also meet some advancement requirements. Suggested projects include, but are not limited to
- Plant grasses, trees, shrubs, and ground cover to stop soil erosion.
- As a den or pack, adopt a park. Remove litter and garbage from a favorite neighborhood recreation area or park.
- Organize or participate in a recycling program in your neighborhood, or visit a recycling center.
- Arrange a natural resources awareness program. Invite natural resource professionals such as wildlife biologists, soil conservationists, foresters, or conservation officers to speak to your pack.
- Participate in a beach or waterfront cleanup. Record the items collected and determine the possible harmful effects to wildlife. With youth participation, develop a plan to educate the public about the dangers posed to wildlife.
- From a local, state, or national organization that is concerned about environmental protection, obtain suggestions for den and pack projects to improve the environment.
- As a den or pack, visit a public utility to learn about the wise use of resources, and become involved in programs offered by utilities to help consumers conserve resources.
- Contact the camp ranger or BSA local council property superintendent for information about camp needs and plans. Establish a nature trail, plant vegetation, or carry out other needed projects as requested by the camp ranger.
Scouts BSA and Venturing Scouts
Scouts participating in the Conservation Good Turn can meet certain rank and merit badge requirements. Troops, crews and ships should consider advancement requirements when selecting projects to carry out. Suggested projects include, but are not limited to
- Plant shrubs to provide food and cover for wildlife.
- Build and set out bird and squirrel nesting boxes.
- Conduct stream improvement projects to prevent erosion.
- Plant grasses and legumes to provide ground cover in schoolyards, public parks, and recreation areas.
- Plant tree seedlings as part of a managed forestry plan.
- Help thin and prune woodlands in a managed tree improvement project.
- With a local forester, take part in or conduct a forest fire prevention program.
- Make an exhibit on conservation for a county fair.
- Develop a nature trail in a public park.
- Assist a local forester in a tree insect- and disease-control or public education project.
- Conduct a stream, river or lakeside trash collection project.
- Assist a local agency with a trout stream restoration project.
- Participate in a wildlife or wildfowl count.
- Conduct a rodent-control and public health education program under the guidance of the local health department or agency responsible for rodent control.