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 projects in their local communities.
Scouts of today have grown up with words such as ecosystem and biodiversity. 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.
The Conservation Good Turn is an opportunity for Cub Scout packs, Boy Scout troops, Varsity Scout teams,
and Venturing Crews to join with conservation or environmental organization (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
Soil Conservation Service
U.S. Department of the Interior
United States Fish and Wildlife Service
Bureau of Land Management
National Park Service
Bureau of Indian Affairs
Bureau of Reclamation
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
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. The application is available
here (pdf document). 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 Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Varsity
Scouts, and Crews to "think globally" and "act locally" to preserve and improve our environment. This
program is designed to make Scouts and Venturing Crews 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 should involve the entire Cub Scout pack, each den, 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. 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
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.
Boy Scouts and Varsity Scouts
Scouts participating in the Conservation Good Turn can meet certain rank and merit badge requirements.
Troops and teams 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.
Conduct stream improvement projects to prevent erosion.
Plant grasses and legumes to provide ground cover in schoolyards, public parks, and recreation
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.
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.
Venturing Crews or a cluster of Crews can conduct an areawide inventory of environmental needs. Crews can
individually or jointly plan, organize, and carry out an areawide environmental improvement project.
Suggested project ideas include, but are not limited to the following
Organize a recycling campaign.
Visit a legislative body in session to understand the legislative process and how to become active
citizens in the community.
Participate in a National Wildlife Federation program at the community level.
Plan and carry out a community improvement campaign.
Adopt a pond, stream, or park; keep it well maintained and litter-free.
Participate in Keep America Beautiful Day.
Research career opportunities in the fields of conservation and the environment and publish your
findings for distribution to other posts.
Conduct a national high-adventure base conservation project.
Participate in National Hunting and Fishing Day.
Paint public buildings or maintain the grounds.
Under the guidance of the local parks and recreation department, prune trees on public grounds.