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LeCastor

Conservation Projects and Project SOAR

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With the relatively new conservation-specific projects required for Boy Scout advancement, I'm curious what kinds of projects your Scouts are getting into.  As a conservation professional, I have been approached in the past by Scouting units looking for ideas.  So I'm hoping you could share some successes from your respective units.

Also, I'm starting to feel the gears spin in my head regarding the 50th anniversary of Project SOAR (Save Our Air and Resources).  Not sure if BSA is looking to commemorate that anniversary, but I think it would be pretty fantastic to resurrect it and re-focus our efforts on cleaning up waterways and planting trees.  

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Edited by LeCastor

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Watching this thread.  I agree. I hope BSA does something to commemorate and reintroduce the program!

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Here are examples from our troop during the past year. All of these conservation projects were suggested/requested by the land owners, and most happened during camping trips.

1. Cleaning out a plugged drain culvert that was causing trail erosion from the diverted runoff.

2. Picking up broken glass (lots of it) from a trail that is frequented by both humans and animals.

3. Channeling runoff water away from a trail that was becoming a mud pit.

4. Piling up dead wood for a controlled burn to reduce forest fire hazard.

5. Removing non-native plant species that were choking out the native plants.

 

Edited by gblotter
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Thanks, @gblotter!  I know that the standard operating procedure for many Troops is to ask a landowner what needs doing.  However, I'm hoping some Scouters out there might have ideas that they present TO a landowner.  The BSA's Conservation Handbook recently got a makeover and is pretty good, in my opinion.  

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Fifty-ish years ago we spoke of the "environmental crisis" and most seemed, at least, to admit there were significant issues that needed to be tackled from the ecological standpoint.  Most were familiar with Rachel Carson's Silent Spring and Dr. Barry Commoner's Closing Circle, both dealing with the ill effects of anthropogenic, huma-caused, factors.  In fact, if you go back and read the Scouting literature of the 1960s and 1970s, you see this concern for bettering the environment spelled out in no uncertain terms.  Take, for example, the article below from the December 1969 issue of Scouting.  The language was strong and led Scouts to want to do something about the crisis.  Richard Nixon, who brought about many federal responses to the betterment of the environment, reached out to the BSA to request a helping hand.  Hence the 1971 Conservation Good Turn, later Project SOAR (Save Our Air and Resources).

We still have an environmental crisis today yet the language is not as dire in the literature.  What happened?  Even our beloved Green Bar Bill didn't mince words when he wrote "[t]he voices of warning went unheeded for a long time. But other voices were being heard. Today every intelligent person realizes the importance of conservation" (pg. 323, The Official Boy Scout Handbook, 9th ed. 1979).

Surely we can do more in 2018 as far as conservation is concerned.  There is still an environmental crisis that needs to be addressed; we didn't fix that with a couple of Earth Day occurrences.  So what about a revitalization of the 1971 Conservation Good Turn, our Project SOAR (Save Our Air and Resources)?  Would a SOAR 2.0 be a good idea?  What are you and your Scouts doing to tackle the issues of clean air and water?

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Edited by LeCastor
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S.O.A.R.  2.0  - This time it is personal. Save the pristine Boundary Waters Wilderness Area from mining pollution!

 

 

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