World Conservation Award has new requirements, effective immediately

Whether you know the World Conservation Award as the “panda patch” or as the award that encourages Scouts and Venturers to think globally and act locally to improve and conserve our environment, there’s something you need to know.

The BSA National Conservation and Environment Task Force has announced new requirements for the Cub Scout, Boy Scout and Venturing/Sea Scout versions of the World Conservation Award. The new requirements, which are now in effect, can be found at this link.

Once earned, the award goes in the temporary patch location on the right pocket.

The new requirements reflect the recent changes to the Cub Scout advancement program and the addition of the Eagle-required Sustainability merit badge in the Boy Scout program.

Plus, the Boy Scout and Venturing/Sea Scout versions of the award now seek to build greater awareness of global environmental concerns and a need for social responsibility.

This is done by requiring that the youth applicant participate in a conservation project as part of an approved Scouting program. The project must total at least three hours and address a conservation need common to more than one country.

Quick facts: World Conservation Award

How to get it: Return your completed application to council office for authorization to purchase badge from Scout shop.

Patch and placement: Blue border patch for Cub Scouts; khaki border patch for Boy Scouts; green border patch for Venturers; worn as a temporary patch on right pocket.

Supply/BIN item number: Cub Scout emblem, No. 139; Boy Scout emblem, No. 140; Venturing emblem, No. 152; pocket certificate, No. 32080

Requirements: Here.

32 Comments

    • No. With the adventure revisions, the Cub Scout version has not changed from what it was after the revisions. In other words, the Cub Scout version had already been revised after the new adventures were released, and is not now being revised again. I updated meritbadge.org back on Nov 17 (about a month before this blog post), and the current requirements have not changed in that time.

    • These seem to be the exact same requirements that were released for Cub Scouts in March of 2015. It’s just now on an “official” form and includes the application.

  1. For Cub scouts, with the exception of the addition of the words “in addition to the above” for the service project, I don’t see any changes from the revision in 2015. Am I missing something?

  2. Not a big change for Boy Scouts. Just makes Sustainability an option in lieu of Environmental Science. Since both Merit Badges are an option for Eagle Scout, it makes sense to make them an option for the World Conservation Award.

    Anyone on the Trail to Eagle will earn two of the Merit Badges making the earning of the third merit badge (Fish & Wildlife Management or Soil & Water Conservation) the major requirement. Since most Boy Scout camps offer one or both of these Merit Badges, the World Conservation Award is quite easy to earn. My son earned it within 18 months of crossing over without much additional effort as his conservation project hours came through Eagle and Troop service projects. With the requirements change for rank advancement to include some conservation related hours, Scouts should have most of the requirements about the time they make Life.

        • But Scouts for the upper ranks now have to have part of their service hours be conservation related. Thus, meeting the World Conservation Award requirement simultaneously. Most of our Scouts do not have problems with conservation related volunteer hours as several camps we use have us do work as it reduces what they charge us to camp.

        • World Conservation Award Requirement: “AND participate in a conservation project as part of an approved Scouting program totaling at least three hours
          that addresses a conservation need common to more than one country.”

          Life Advancement Rank Requirement: “While a Star Scout, participate in six hours of service through one or more service projects approved by your Scoutmaster. At least three hours of this service must be conservation-related.”

          Not to be flippant, almost any conservation project completed with a Scout unit could meet the requirement for both the World Conservation Award and Life Scout rank simultaneously. Repairing trail, planting milkweed for Monarch butterflies, removing non-native grasses, or almost any other conservation project would be “common to more than one country” in the world.

          I’ve worked on over a dozen conservation projects–Eagle, Council and unit–over the last four years and I cannot think of any of them that would not qualify under the wording for either requirement. All I am saying is that an active Scout in an active unit should not find it difficult to meet most of the requirements on the Trail to Eagle.

        • ‘Requirements for this award must be completed in addition to any similar requirements completed for rank” This statement is lifted right from the new form. Doesn’t this mean they need to do an ADDITIONAL service project?.

        • Campboy: You are correct. No double counting on this one. The Scout would need to do 3 hours of Conservation related service projects for Advancement to Life (as a Star Scout) AND 3 additional hours for the World Conservation Award. I still don’t see this as an issue. My son probably had 10+ hours of Conservation related service projects before making Star working on a number of Eagle projects for Scouts in the Troop; Troop projects at campsites where we stay (many of them give us a discounted price in return for 2-3 hours of Service Work–usually Trail Maintenance); and our Council’s “Dig Day” where we help the local community 3-6 hours on a Saturday planting trees or other Conservation related projects, usually for their Parks & Recreation Commissions.

  3. This award now seems a little redundant now that there is a conservation segment for the National Outdoor Award, but I suppose it is a good stepping stone.

    I remind the older scouts about this one around summer camp time – they usually have already earned a lot of the fun merit badges and likely already have the two eagle-required badges, so it gives them a reason to sign up for F&WM or S&WC instead of hanging around the trading post!

    • The redundancy piece is probably true. But IMHO the NOA has gained very little traction, while the World Conservation Award is almost ubiquitous. Enhancing the requirements likely makes the latter award more meaningful, but I scratch my head a bit at what appears to be a wider strategy of tacking on new or additional service hours to existing awards. Instilling a spirit of community service in a boy is a wonderful idea, but I question the wisdom of making it compulsory for so many awards and advancement. On the other hand, it does not seem misplaced to require some conservation service for this award.

  4. Nice, but I’m still waiting to see a fresh merit badge calendar , which hasn’t been updated since February. Also, what’s the deal on Exploration merit badge. The badge and booklet have been released, but it’s not on the merit badge calendar. Seems like there would be a formal launch of it as well.

  5. Opting to earn Fish and Wildlife Management would also get them 1/3 of the way toward the Complete Angler Awards … just a little more bang for buck.

  6. The official PDF’s mention that boys can earn this in Varsity Scouts, but Varsity Scouts isn’t actually mentioned anywhere. The Boy Scout pdf just says that it’s for Boy Scouts, the Venturing/Sea Scout one just says that it’s for Venturing/Sea Scouts. What are the Varsity requirements? The same as the Boy Scout requirements?

    Also, the Venturing/Sea Scout pdf was put in the cubscout folder at scouting.org for whatever reason.

  7. Is this blog the official mouthpiece for the BSA? I am not understanding why the BSA does not officially email/text (communication of choice) changes to awards and advancement to their volunteers. Was Scoutbook updated before hand?

    • The blog is part of Scouting Magazine. The blog is an official communication vehicle for the BSA.

      Scoutbook is aware of the changes in requirements and will be updating the Boy Scout requirements soon. The Cub Scout requirements already reflect this release of the WCA.

  8. Could someone please provide further details on the requirement to “participate in a conservation project as part of an approved Scouting program totaling at least three hours
    that addresses a conservation need common to more than one country.” Does a conservation project at Scout summer camp satisfy this requirement? Examples would be very helpful.

  9. Campboy….since requirements for this award must be completed in addition to any similar requirements completed for rank, does it mean that ESci or sustainability And cit in world mb must be done again? LOL

    Marvin…a project at camp could count for this award since it is done at an approved scouting program.

  10. The BSA WCA landing page says the award can be earned by all youth members. On the Cub Scout requirements list, it starts with Wolf. How about Tigers and Lions?

  11. RE: the Boy Scout version, what are the implications of “… and address a conservation need common to more than one country?”

    Deforestation, erosion, pollution, water purity; is there any conservation activity which is not relevant to all countries?

    What is the intent and purpose of that confounding language?

  12. I have a question on the placement of the badge. Isn’t the current placement centered above the left pocket and halfway to the shoulder seam?

Join the conversation