Venturing Conservation

Venturing Conservation

Conservation has been an integral part of the program of the Boy Scouts of America for many years but in August 1998, they began to take a leadership role with the announcement of Leave No Trace.  At that same time, the Venturing program began and within the program, scouting is continuing to promote conservation and come up with new awards that Venturers can earn.

This site is intended to bring together a number of conservation awards available to Venturers.  It will provide requirements and links to assist you.

These Venturing Conservation Awards are:

Roving Outdoor Conservation School (ROCS) Roving Outdoor Conservation Schoolis an exciting program for Scouts and Venturers at Philmont Scout Ranch ages 16-20 who enjoy spending an extended period of time in the outdoors.  ROCS is a 21-day trek that will take participants all over the Philmont backcountry.

If you enjoy backpacking and conservation and would like to come to Philmont for three weeks this summer without sitting on a waiting list, this is the activity for you.  The details and application are available on

Some general info:

  • 14 days of hiking/lessons in environmental studies and 7 days of trail building/conservation projects.
  • Up to 10 participants per crew from all over the country, accompanied by 2 Philmont staff instructors.
  • Both female and male crews (not coed).

Venturing World Conservation AwardVenturing World Conservation Award provides an opportunity for Venturers to "think globally" and "act locally" to preserve and improve our environment.  This program is designed to make youth members aware that all nations are closely related through natural resources and that we are interdependent with our world environment.

The requirements include those from the Ranger Ecology elective.  If you are interested in ecology, you can get credit for both the Ranger Award and the Venturing World Conservation Award.  The requirements and application are available at Venturing_World_Conservation_Award.pdf.

Hornaday BadgeHornaday Awards for Venturers are designed to provide requirements for youth who can not or did not earn the merit badges required under the Boy Scout program.  Of course if a male youth did earn all the required merit badges then he does not have to use the alternate Venturing requirements.

The alternate Boy Scout merit badge requirements for the Venturing Silver or Bronze Medal includes earning the Ranger Ecology and Plant & Wildlife electives and the Ranger Conservation core requirment.  An overview of the current requirements can be viewed on  A helpful project workbook can be found here

The "Guidelines for the William T. Hornaday Award Conservation Advisor" is a useful PDF document that provides invaluable information for the conservation advisor.  I expect that it will soon become part of BSA literature.  I want to thank Howard Kern for providing me the document and the work he put into it.

The following are websites that provide PDF files detailed with information on the Hornaday Award:

Conservation Good Turn Award (3 in. patch)The Conservation Good Turn Award is an opportunity for scouts at all levels to join with conservation and environmental organizations (federal, state, local, or private) to carry out a conservation Good Turn in their home communities.

Units which conduct a Good Turn service project and submit the application form will receive a certificate from the Council office. The Conservation Good Turn patch is available for sale at the Scout Shop.

Steps to take:

  • 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.

BSA Good Turn information -
Conservation Good Turn Emblem -

Leave No Trace Award (3 in. patch)Leave No Trace is a nationwide and international program designed to assist visitors with their decisions when they travel and camp on America's public lands.  The program strives to educate visitors about the nature of their recreational impacts as well as techniques to prevent and minimize such impacts.  Leave No Trace is best understood as an educational and ethical program, not as a set of rules and regulations.

The Boy Scouts of America have integrated Leave No Trace into their program.  It is one of the core requirements for the Ranger Award.

Several good reference sites for Leave No Trace are:

Trail Saver Medal

Trail Saver series awards can be earned in cooporation with the Forest Service or a Trail Boss certified by a council High Adventure Training (HAT).  The Forest Service will provide the tools needed.  Contacting your council HAT is usually the best way to set up trail work opportunities.

The Trail Saver awards are a series of 6 hour awards.  The awards that can be earned are:

  • Silver Trail Saver Patch — 6 hours of trail work.
  • Forest Conservation Patch — 12 hours of trail work.
  • Gold Trail Saver Patch — 18 hours of trail work.
  • Trail Blazing Patch — 24 hours of trail work.
  • Trail Saver Medal — 30 hours of trail work.

Forest Saver Medal

Forest Saver series awards recognizes individual particiaption in forestry and associated construction and maintenance projects.  All efforts applied to earning these awards must be performed on projects which are approved in advance by your council HAT and are supervised by a Trail Boss of a representative of the USFS.

The Forest Saver awards are a series of 6 hour awards.  The awards that can be earned are:

  • Campsite Patch — Campground or trail camp development, improvement, maintenance, and rehabilitation.
  • Wildlife Patch — Habitat restoration, browse-way improvement, construction and maintance of feeders and waters, etc.
  • Forestry Patch — Plantation clearing, tree planting, tree thinning and pruning, etc.
  • Forest Saver Patch — Earn the Campsite, Wildlife and Forestry Awards and do an additional 6 hours of Forest Saver project work.
  • Forest Saver Medal — Earn the Forest Saver Awards and do an additional 6 hours of Forest Saver project work for a total of 30 hours.

National Resource Trail 30-hour PinNational Resource Trail series awards recognizes individual particiaption for conservation work on any public lands.  The awards are a series of five 6-hour awards.  The first 4 awards are patches and the fifth award is a pin.

The requirements for each of the awards can be found on the Western Los Angeles County Council website.

Pacific Crest Trail Building 12-hour Patch

Pacific Crest Trail Building award is designed to promote conservation work on the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail.  A trail that stretches from the Mexican border to the Canadian border.

The requirements for this award are:

  1. As part of a group project, perform 12 hours of actural trail construction, repain or maintenance on the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail or its feeders.
  2. This trail work must be performed under the supervision of a Ranger or HAT Trail Boss.
  3. This trail work must be approved in advance and signed off as completed by the HAT Trail Boss Chairman.
  4. Clean-up does not qualify and shall not be counted for this award.

Trail work is accumulative.