Does conservation come to mind when you think about Boy Scouting? It probably does to most people. Conservation has been a part of the Boy Scout program since its beginning in 1910, one hundred years ago. What we think about conservation has changed somewhat as a society and Scouting has been right there to lead the way among our youth.
The Conservation Skill Award of the 1970-1980’s was a great example of the Boy Scouting program teaching these principles. Unfortunately, many of these requirements were not kept in the newer rank program. The requirements for this skill award were:
1) Show by what you do that you follow the Outdoor Code when you are in the outdoors.
2) a. Explain the main causes and effects of water pollution. Tell how we can have clean water.
b. Explain the main causes and effects of air pollution. Tell how we can have clean air.
3) a. Make a list of present major sources of energy and the major alternate sources.
b. Make a list of ten ways in which you and your family can save energy.
4) a. Take a walk around where you live for two hours and make two lists related to conservation. List things that please you. List things that you feel should be improved.
b. Plan and carry out your own conservation project. Get it approved by your patrol leader before you start.
5) Take part in one or more of these projects with you patrol or another Scout:
a. Clean up a roadside, picnic ground, vacant lot, stream, lake shore, or ocean beach.
b. Work on erosion control of a stream bank, gully, or trail.
c. Plant trees, do forest improvement, or insect control.
d. Improve backyard or other wildlife habitat.
e. Help with energy conservation.
This was a great skill for teaching conservation. It would have been nice to see more of it kept when the advancement program changed.