Outdoor Ethics

“On breaking camp, leave two things behind you: 1) Nothing.  2) Your thanks.    – Lord Baden-Powell

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.  While we cannot control what everyone else is or is not doing in the outdoors, we can make a difference with our personal actions in regards to outdoor ethics.

The Scout Law mandates our duty to be considerate to those around us, help where help is needed and to conserve resources.  Since 1948, the Outdoor Code has guided us to be:

  • Clean in my outdoor manners
  • Careful with fire
  • Considerate in the outdoors, and
  • Conservation minded

Pulling all of this together is the BSA Outdoor Ethics Program.  Outdoor Ethics is not a set of rules, but rather a framework of guidelines for improving outdoor ethics decision-making skills to help prevent avoidable impacts and to minimize unavoidable impacts as we participate in outdoor activities.  The program is comprised of four parts:

  1. The Outdoor Code
  2. Leave No Trace
  3. Tread Lightly!
  4. The Land Ethic (Aldo Leopold)

The Occoneechee Council Outdoor Ethics Training Team is committed to offering various levels of Outdoor Ethics training to help improve your and your unit’s decision-making skills progression.  What level of training is best for you as a member of the Occoneechee Council?

I want to learn the basics to guide myself and my Scouts!

Outdoor Ethics Orientation, BSA Leave No Trace 101, Tread Lightly! Awareness Workshop

I want to teach outdoor ethics to my unit, district and council members!

Leave No Trace Trainer and Tread Trainer

I want to teach outdoor ethics and train trainers!

Leave No Trace Master Educator and Master Tread Trainer



  • Outdoor Ethics Orientation Course

The 2-hour BSA Outdoor Ethics Orientation Course introduces the concept of Outdoor Ethics (Leave No Trace, Tread Lightly! and The Land Ethic) to a group with little experience in outdoor ethics in a fun and engaging way.  It should help youth and adults at all program levels understand the general principles behind Scouting’s outdoor ethics program.

It is highly recommended as a minimum level of training for all unit leaders, camp staff, members of the council and district outdoor program and training teams.

  • BSA Outdoor Ethics Guide Course

This 4-hour course introduces Scouts to the principles of outdoor ethics and provides them with the framework for helping others – Scouts and leaders – improve their outdoor ethics decision-making skills to help minimize their unit’s impacts as they participate in outdoor activities.  It is strongly recommended training for the Outdoor Ethics Guide troop junior leadership position.

For more information about the Outdoor Ethics Guide position,
go to http://outdoorethics-bsa.org/troopOEGuide.php

Download a Copy of the Outdoor Ethics Guide Handbook
Outdoor Ethics Guide

  • BSA Leave No Trace 101 Course (Awareness Workshop)


ADVANCED COURSES (Offered on National Level)


Scheduled courses will be listed on the Council’s calendar.  For additional help in locating a course or if you have specific questions about the outdoor ethics program, please contact the Council’s Outdoor Ethics Advocate


For Scouts and Scouters wo have a deep interest in the outdoors, nature and the environment, Scouting’s outdoor ethics will give you an ever-deeper appreciation of the richness of the land and how we fit into it.  If you are prepared to venture down the path of really becoming aware of your surroundings, of building skills that will allow you to leave no trace on the land, then the Outdoor Ethics Awareness and Action Awards are for you.

Answers to frequently-asked questions about these awards are available at

If you have any questions about the council’s outdoor ethic program, please contact the Council’s Outdoor Ethics Advocate:

Meredith Blackwood
[email protected]

Are you looking for someone to teach Leave No Trace Principles to your pack, troop, crew or ship or lead a Leave No Trace activity at your district camporee or day camp?  Reach out to one of our trainers using the contact list above.

Other Outdoor Ethics Resources