Boy Scouts of America, Sustainable Forestry Initiative: A natural partnership

What would we do without forests? There’d be no place to hang our bear bags. No place to stop for shade while backpacking. No place to take great fall photos. And no paper to print Eagle Scout Court of Honor programs, merit badge pamphlets, and, well, Scouting magazine.

Yep, we need our nation’s forests. And the forests need us, too. So hat’s off to us, the Boy Scouts of America, for helping protect this valuable national resource. We do that so well, in fact, that last month the Sustainable Forestry Initiative honored the BSA with its President’s Award. This prestigious honor was given for using the forests and their resources in a responsible way, though the award actually reads, “embracing third-party forest certification and educating youth about the value of sustainable forest management.”

Did you know the BSA has been doing this for more than 100 years? Here’s how:

  • Forestry merit badge: Helps Scouts explore the complexity of forests, learn about forest resources, and understand the role people play in sustaining the health of forests
  • Philmont Scout Ranch: Certified to the SFI 2010-2014 Standard
  • Scouting magazine: Printed on SFI chain-of-custody certified paper (something we’re quite proud of, I should say)
  • 2013 National Scout Jamboree: Constructed using wood from SFI-certified lands

Chief Scout Executive Bob Mazzuca sees the big-picture importance of this partnership (the forest and the trees):

“Scouting’s earliest history reflects the importance of teaching young people to understand and respect the environment,” he said. “Being good stewards of the land is something everyone can and should support, and through SFI certification we can all learn how the forest contributes to our everyday life.”

About Bryan Wendell 3282 Articles
Bryan Wendell, an Eagle Scout, is the founder of Bryan on Scouting and a contributing writer.