Love for the Texas Environment Starts with Scouting

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Take Care of Texas
Scouts planting a pine tree in bare ground

You’ve likely seen us promote our Take Care of Texas Scout badges and pins, but have you considered everything that Scouting offers? If you have children or students who you want to introduce to environmentalism, consider Scouting.

Conservation and environmentalism have been fundamental to the ethos of Scouting since the Boy Scouts – now simply known as Scouts – was founded in 1910. For decades Scouts have distinguished themselves by helping to conserve wildlife, energy, forests, soil, and water.

Many of the values, projects and awards that make Scouting special closely align with what we promote through the Take Care of Texas program. We’re exploring some of the platforms that make Scouting an important launch pad for getting young people to learn about, advocate for, and actively improve our environment.

Good TurnsScout collecting water sample

The saying “Do a Good Turn Daily” is instilled in Scouts from day one. Traditionally this means doing Good Turns: holding a door open for someone, helping an elderly person cross the street, or returning a lost grocery cart to the store. More recently, this phrase is used to improve and protect our environment. 

Scouts are encouraged to pick up trash, water a plant, and turn off the lights when they leave a room. They understand that we all must work together, make good decisions, and take actions great and small for the betterment and conservation of land, wildlife, air, and water. 

The Outdoor Code

The Outdoor Code for Scouts is as follows:

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.

Since its first appearance in the Boy Scout Handbook in 1955, the Outdoor Code has captured the essence of the Scouting outdoor ethic and established their aspirations and commitment to preserving and protecting the outdoors.

Scouts spend a lot of time outside. Whether they’re hiking, camping, building a fire, or birding, Scouts have every reason to treat nature with respect.

Scout and leader collecting rocks in a netProject Learning Tree

Project Learning Tree is a Scout program designed for educators, parents, and community leaders working with students from pre-K through grade 12. The program’s activities are designed to get kids outside, help them make meaningful connections to nature, and grow their understanding of our shared environment.

In addition to building Scouts’ outdoor knowledge, Project Learning Tree activities are great for developing STEM skills., They teach collaboration and teamwork, creativity and imagination, and critical thinking and problem solving. These activities also the sow seeds of opportunity by encouraging youth to explore careers in forestry, environmental science, and natural resource conservation.

The Conservation Handbook

The Conservation Handbook is about caring for the Earth. It’s for Scouts and Scout Leaders, parents, park rangers, land managers, and everyone else who wants to be involved in projects that benefit our natural environment. 

While the Conservation Handbook bears the emblem of the Scouts    , its message is valuable for leaders of many organizations. It’s a great book for anyone who is eager to explore environmental opportunities that can help young enthusiastic people become active and faithful stewards of the land.

Leave No TraceScouts and leader planting saplings

Scouts have been leaders in conservation for more than a century. In the next 100 years, they’re taking the initiative to a new level—shifting from stewardship to sustainability, and from “leave no trace” to leaving the world a better place.

The principles of Leave No Trace become clear when you consider the combined effects of millions of outdoor visitors. One misplaced campsite or campfire may have little impact, but thousands of such instances can seriously degrade the outdoor experience for all. 

There are seven principles of Leave No Trace.
1. Plan Ahead and Prepare - Campers who plan ahead can avoid unexpected situations and minimize their impact by complying with area regulations.
2. Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces - Damage to land occurs when visitors trample flora and fauna beyond recovery. The resulting barren areas develop into undesirable trails, campsites, and soil erosion.
3. Dispose of Waste Properly (Pack It In, Pack It Out) - Accept the challenge of packing out all trash, leftover food, and litter.
4. Leave What You Find - Leave rocks, plants, animals, archaeological artifacts, and other objects as you find them.
5. Minimize Campfire Impacts - The naturalness of many areas has been degraded by overuse of fires and increasing demand for firewood.
6. Respect Wildlife - Quick movements and loud noises are stressful to animals.
7. Be Considerate of Other Visitors - Be considerate of other campers and respect their privacy.

Did you know that Take Care of Texas offers a merit badge and pin? If you are involved in Scouting and would like learn more, please visit our Scouting page for more details. 

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