Recreation ecologist and adjunct professor Jeff Marion has received the Distinguished Staff Alumni Award from the Boy Scouts’ Philmont Staff Association. Marion attended the Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico as a scout while in high school and worked there summers during college.

As well as leading research projects on human impacts on wilderness, Marion helped develop Leave No Trace, an educational program that guides outdoor recreation nationwide, and bring it to the Boy Scouts. He has been encouraged by the spread of the Leave No Trace message through the Boy Scouts, particularly at Philmont. “The rangers are teaching the older scouts excellent, low-impact outdoor skills and ethics, and it’s really made a big difference in the scouting movement nationwide to have the scouts modeling these behaviors when they return home,” Marion said.

Despite his nearly lifelong work with the Boy Scouts, Marion admitted the award was “a complete surprise. I didn’t even know I was nominated.” The award is presented annually to a current or former staff member to recognize “distinguished or exceptional personal success or achievement on a national or international level . . . that brings honor and credit to the legacy of the Philmont staff.”

“At Philmont, I discovered my own ability to teach and to lead,” Marion said. “It was superb training for my career, so giving back to the scouts is a natural thing for me. They turned me on to my career, and now I can pay them back.”

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