Teaching Resources

Accreditation Standards

The eleven accreditation standards represent three key categories of programming and operations. These categories serve to help programs understand where groups will be most impactful.

  • S1 Program Quality Assessment — assess the current state of your program as it relates to key areas of Leave No Trace programming.
  • S2 Staff Training & Qualifications — demonstration of how Leave No Trace is included in a program’s annual staff training, the specific training materials produced for staff and professional Leave No Trace credentials held by staff members.
  • S3 Stakeholder Communication — provide examples of the program descriptions and communication initiatives shared with parents, guardians and alumni that highlight Leave No Trace messaging. Submitted communication initiatives may be no more than two years old from the time a program submits their application for accreditation.
  • S4 Education Resources — provide examples of the Leave No Trace educational resources that are used to teach Leave No Trace initiatives and programs.
  • S5 Federal & State Lands Portfolio — a program’s Leave No Trace policies and procedures must align with those of the federal and state lands where that program operates.

  • S6 Program Specific Principles — if the Leave No Trace Seven Principles were written specifically for your program, what would they look like? Work with youth participants to create relevant bullet points for the Seven Principles in your community.
  • S7 Staff & Youth Perceptions Evaluation — evaluate the effectiveness of Leave No Trace education in key program areas using evaluation tools that capture data from seasonal staff and youth participants.
  • S8 Youth Creative Interpretations — submit examples of how youth participants in your program creatively express or interpret their understanding of Leave No Trace.

  • S9 Leave No Trace Statement — create a Leave No Trace values statement for your organization that thoughtfully captures your position as a Leave No Trace advocate. The statement acts to guide the stewardship actions of the organization, outlining your overall goals for Leave No Trace education and action.
  • S10 Action Plan —submit a completed Action Plan that outlines a course of action that your program would like to take based on the results of the Program Quality Assessment.

  • S11.1 Leave No Trace Community Partnership — a program becomes a community partner of the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics. This community partner status is maintained through the 4-year accreditation period.
  • S11.2 Social Media Literacy — engage youth participants in discussions, debates and activities that examine social media’s impact on the outdoors. Use the included discussion guide as a resource for approaching this emerging topic.
  • S11.3 Youth Advisory Council — how does a program’s youth advisory council approach Leave No Trace and stewardship? How do the council’s actions help achieve greater awareness and programmatic change related to Leave No Trace?
  • S11.4 Youth Teaching Opportunities — submit five examples of opportunities where youth take on the role of teaching Leave no Trace to their peers or younger children. Ideal age for participants in this standard is 12 years of age or older.
  • S11.5 Wildlife Protocol — a wildlife protocol informs how staff and youth participants have been educated to prepare and respond, in the event, that human-to-wildlife encounters take place on the program’s property (e.g., program areas, facilities) and off-site programming. Ideal standard for any program situated in natural spaces where encounters with bears, deer, moose, elk, or other mammals may occur.
  • S11.6 Training Agreement with Leave No Trace — programs that have a Training Agreement with the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics are authorized to offer two-day Trainer Courses to individuals from within their organizations, as well as individuals from the community.
  • S11.7 Scout Badge & Rank Advancement Programs — GSUSA and BSA Scout programs that engage youth participants in environmental stewardship or outdoor ethics badge, adventure and rank advancement may use those program outcomes to fulfill this standard.
  • S11.8 Affiliate of a National Accreditation Program — programs that are fully accredited by the American Camp Association or Boy Scouts of America national accreditation programs, fulfilling all applicable environmental activities, stewardship and outdoor ethics-related standards from their chosen affiliate, may use those materials to fulfill this standard.
  • S11.9 Youth Environmental Service-Learning — How do programs with service learning components engage youth participants in projects or initiatives, include themes, volunteer work and education around minimizing impacts in the outdoors?