Boy Scouts of America William T Hornaday Conservation Awards

Conservation and the Boy Scouts of America have been partners for a long time. Camping, hiking, and respect for the outdoors are a part of the Scouting heritage. Many of the requirements for advancement from Tenderfoot through Eagle Scout rank call for an increasing awareness and understanding of the natural sciences. Many former Scouts have become leaders in conserving our environment and protecting it from abuse. Right now Scouts are involved in learning about environmental problems and actively working to make a difference.

This awards program was created to recognize those that have made significant contributions to conservation. It was begun in 1914 by Dr. William T. Hornaday, director of the New York Zoological Park and founder of the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. Dr. Hornaday was an active and outspoken champion of natural resource conservation and a leader in saving the American bison from extinction. He named the award the Wildlife Protection Medal. Its purpose was to challenge Americans to work constructively for wildlife conservation and habitat protection. After his death in 1937, the award was renamed in Dr. Hornaday’s honor and became a Boy Scouts of America award.

In the early 1970s, the present awards program was established with funding from the DuPont Company. At that time, the late Dr. Hornaday’s idea of conservation was broadened to include environmental awareness.

The Hornaday Awards are highly prized by those who have received them: Approximately 1,100 medals have been awarded over the past 80 years. These awards represent a substantial commitment of time and energy by individuals who have learned the meaning of a conservation/environmental ethic. Any Boy Scout, Varsity Scout, or Venturer willing to devote the time and energy to work on a project based on sound scientific principles and guided by a conservation professional or a well-versed layperson can qualify for one of the Hornaday Awards. The awards often take months to complete, so activities should be planned well in advance.

The fundamental purpose of the Hornaday Awards program is to encourage learning by the participants and to increase public awareness about natural resource conservation. Understanding and practicing sound stewardship of natural resources and environmental protection strengthens Scouting’s emphasis on respecting the outdoors. The goal of this awards program is to encourage and recognize truly outstanding efforts undertaken by Scouting units, Scouts and Venturers, adult Scouters, and other individuals, corporations, and institutions that have contributed significantly to natural resource conservation and environmental protection.

William T. Hornaday Awards

William T. Hornaday awards are presented for distinguished service in natural resource conservation for units, Scouts, Venturers, and Scouters. Boy Scouts may earn the Hornaday Badge or the Hornaday Bronze or Silver Medal.

William T. Hornaday Badge

To be eligible for the Hornaday Badge, presented by the local council, a Boy Scout must do the following:

1. Earn First Class rank.

2. Plan, lead, and carry out at least one project from one of the categories listed below.

3. Complete the requirements for any three of the primary merit badges listed. In addition, complete any two of the others listed.

William T. Hornaday Bronze Medal

To be eligible for the bronze award, granted by the National Council, a Boy Scout must do the following:

1. Earn First Class rank.

2. For the bronze medal: Plan, lead, and carry out three projects from three separate categories listed.

3. Earn the Environmental Science merit badge. Earn at least three more primary merit badges listed, plus any two others listed.

William T. Hornaday Silver Medal

To be eligible for the silver award, granted by the National Council, a Boy Scout must do the following:

1. Earn First Class rank.

2. Plan, lead, and carry out four projects from four separate categories listed.

3. Earn the Environmental Science merit badge. Earn all six primary merit badges and any other three.

Project Categories

  • Energy conservation
  • Soil and water conservation
  • Fish and wildlife management
  • Forestry and range management
  • Air and water pollution control
  • Resource recovery (recycling)
  • Hazardous material disposal and management
  • Invasive species control

Primary Merit Badges

  • Energy
  • Environmental Science
  • Fish and Wildlife Management
  • Forestry
  • Public Health
  • Soil and Water Conservation

Elective Merit Badges

  • Bird Study
  • Fishing
  • Gardening
  • Geology
  • Insect Study
  • Landscape Architecture
  • Mammal Study
  • Nature
  • Nuclear Science
  • Oceanography
  • Plant Science
  • Pulp and Paper
  • Reptile and Amphibian Study
  • Weather

A Few Hornaday Silver Medal Honorees

Matthew Authement, Troop 219, St. Petersburg, Fla.: Removed invasive tree species at nature preserve; improved migratory songbird habitat; constructed nesting boxes and birdcage for educational program at preserve; managed community battery recovery and recycling project.

Brady Baldwin, Lone Scout, Green Valley, Calif.: Removed trash and built sign to discourage littering at park; built and installed bat boxes; built and installed recycling bins; promoted energy conservation at middle school.

Kyle Baldwin, Lone Scout, Green Valley, Calif.: Cleared dams blocking a creek; promoted use of solar energy at high school; installed wood-duck boxes; installed information signs at a park.

Daniel Barber, Troop 942, Cameron, N.C.:Designed and installed outdoor physical fitness stations; installed bridges across streams near high school; made cross-country running course more environmentally friendly; restored the area surrounding town well sites.

Matthew Brennan, Troop 13, Warren, Pa.:Restored damaged undergrowth at wildlife area; monitored bald eagle nest and planted vegetation to serve as food for wildlife; removed hazardous discarded fishing line from reservoir; repaired hiking trail for better erosion control.

Travis Cochran, Troop 104, Cedarpines Park, Calif.: Restored forest and wildlife habitat at fire station; improved wildlife water source; protected endangered plants at park by removing invasive species; returned illegal road to natural conditions; planted and maintained trees at Scout camp.

Carl Diamond, Varsity Scout Team 1357, Woodbridge, Va.: Removed trash and repaired damage to a hiking trail; removed non-native vegetation from a wildlife refuge; promoted proper disposal of hazardous household waste; improved wildlife habitats in park.

Robert Dixon, Troop 748, Oceanside, Calif.: Removed invasive tree species from wildlife preserve; developed plan to create backyard wildlife habitats; monitored activities of endangered native bird population; removed and repaired incorrectly installed drainpipes that were causing erosion.

Lewis Gorman IV, Troop 144, Cherry Hill, N.J.: Started battery recycling program; restored and rerouted hiking trail at Scout camp; built and installed nesting boxes for birds along a trail; created a tree identification trail.

Jesse Hand, Venturing Crew 18, Manitou Springs, Colo.: Conceived and directed erosion control project; led reforestation project; organized chemical waste collection and recycling program; worked on wolf protection/community awareness project.

Graham Huggins, Troop 320, Simpsonville, S.C.: Built nature trail around pond; introduced pond fish that would eat invasive weeds; launched erosion control projects at state park; repaired signs along hiking trail.

Jonathan Kruse, Troop 519, Russiaville, Ind.: Built and installed bird feeders along nature trail; launched erosion control project along river; ran composting education program; ran hazardous material disposal project.

Michael Lionetti, Troop 825, Houston, Tex.: Planted native vegetation to prevent erosion and flooding; explored ways to improve flood control properties along a canal; ran Christmas tree recycling program; planted native trees.

John Maseda, Troop 301, St. Petersburg, Fla.: Removed invasive species of tree from park; taught wildlife education classes; restored native plant populations at a park; promoted proper methods for hazardous material disposal.

Joshua Mayes, Troop 105, Wallisville, Tex.: Planted vegetation to benefit marsh wildlife; repaired boat ramp at Scout camp; conducted seed collecting and planting project for wildlife refuge; restored native grasses to marshlands.

Griffin McGee, Troop 908, Burns Harbor, Ind.: Removal of non-native plants; led ditch construction project to improve drainage; planted pine trees at camp; built new hiking trail at park.

Quentin Mullen, Venturing Crew 009, Winchester, Ind.: Built outdoors learning display at environmental center; ran battery recycling drive at middle school; created nature program at Cub Scout day camp; helped with biological survey and monitoring project at 10 sites.

Samuel Nassie, Troop 770, Paradise, Calif.: Restored hiking trail; helped with reforestation project in wildfire-damaged area; installed wood-duck nesting boxes near a lake; created program for proper disposal and recycling of household batteries.

Victor Otruba, Sea Scout Ship 2001, Mansfield, Pa.: Founded nonprofit organization to clean up a river; set up demonstrations of limestone treatments that improve water quality; gathered hardwood nuts and planted them on reclaimed mining land; rerouted stream that was eroding a coal mine.

John Peake, Explorer Post 2121, Ventura, Calif.: Installed warning signs on face of storm drains; established native butterfly park; worked on oil recycling education program; worked on hazardous material disposal program.

John Rasmussen, Troop 623, Hutchinson, Minn.: Implemented an education project involving backyard habitats for bats; created a project to raise awareness of an invasive underwater plant; conducted a recycling/composting education project; collected data on land restoration project.

Lucas Reineke, Troop 105, Glendale, Ariz.: Developed project to educate children on fish preservation; gathered information for large tree planting project; created public education project concerning recycling and composting; repaired erosion damage on trail.

Jeffrey Teigler, Troop 341, Altoona, Pa.: Conducted projects to improve safety, wildlife diversity and rehabilitation efforts at a wildlife rehabilitation center; worked on projects to improve water quality in streams; spearheaded reforestation project along a stream; planted trees over a limestone aquifer to reduce pollutants.

Wade Walker, Troop 74, Manhattan, Kan.: Removed undesirable trees along streams; resurfaced driveway near stream and redirected stream to prevent erosion; directed project to remove hazardous materials; built and installed birdhouses and bird feeders.

Dylan Wetzel, Troop 256, Harrisburg, Pa.: Built, installed and maintained bird nesting boxes; implemented erosion control methods along stream; implemented recycling program; directed project that resulted in the planting of 1,700 trees.