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About the William T. Hornaday Award

Honor Those Who Conserve

What is the William T. Hornaday Award?

This awards program was created to recognize those that have made significant contributions to conservation. Dr. Hornaday was a pioneer in wildlife conservation. He helped found the National Zoo in Washington D.C. You must be at least a First Class Boy Scout, Venturer and have a conservation advisor. Only about 1,100 medals have been awarded over the last 80 years.

Where do I find the requirements and related materials?

Award requirements, sample projects and other support materials are on the National BSA website listed on this page in the related content area.

The Hornaday Award for conservation is one of the rarest awards a Scout can earn. In 2017, only 89 Scouts in the entire B.S.A. earned one. This resource describes essential elements of a Hornaday Award. For more information, including an award application, see: https://filestore.scouting.org/filestore/pdf/hornaday/badge.pdf

Any Scout who has reached First Class rank can earn a Hornaday Award, but most frequently they are earned by Life Scouts working on Eagle.

Eagle projects can double count as Hornaday award projects IF the following conditions are met. A Hornaday Award requires project elements that are not described in the Eagle Project Workbook because the award requirements are different. If a Scout wants to have his Eagle project count toward a Hornaday Award, it is highly advisable for him to review the Hornaday project workbook and keep the following essential Hornaday Award elements in mind when planning, conducting, and documenting the project.

For the Hornaday Award Conservation Project Workbook, go here: https://filestore.scouting.org/filestore/pdf/Hornaday_Award_Conservation_Project_Workbook.pdf For additional information, or to request the support of a Council Hornaday Advisor, please contact the Council office and ask to speak to the staff advisor for the Conservation Committee. The staff advisor will put interested people in touch with a Hornaday Advisor.

Essential Elements of a Hornaday Project

Type of project: The Hornaday project must be from one of these 8 categories of environmental projects:

  • 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

The Hornaday project process includes the following 5 major aspects, most of which are not required for Eagle:

A: Research

  • This is not required in all Eagle projects but is an essential part of the Hornaday award
  • Research the causes of the problem you are trying to correct
  • Learn about the impact(s) of that problem on the environment
  • Learn about alternative methods of correcting that problem and consult the beneficiary
  • Choose one method that is known to work and is likely to accomplish the goal (the beneficiary must approve the choice)
  • Document your research, including why you chose the method you chose

B: Communication and Education

  • This is not required in all Eagle projects but is an essential part of the Hornaday award
  • Communicate what you learned during your research to educate your unit families, the people who help you with your project, and the general public
  • Examples include: handouts, posters, PowerPoint presentations, display boards to show at a Troop meeting and/or court of honor, articles in community newspapers, YouTube videos, and plaques at the site of a project
  • The goal is to increase awareness of the problem, how to prevent the problem, and how to correct the problem
  • Document your communication and education efforts

C: Plan and lead the project

  • Scouts need to work with a knowledgeable conservation advisor so the project has a successful outcome
  • Because the Hornaday award requires a demonstrated positive and lasting outcome, the project often requires more work than Eagle projects and takes longer to complete
  • The project isn't finished on the day it is performed; that's just the end of the beginning stages
  • Document the work performed in terms of accomplishing the environmental goal of the project
  • Lots of before and after photos are strongly encouraged to show your project was successful. The “after” photos must include photos taken several weeks or months after the date on which the project is performed, to show that it accomplished the intended result
  • D: Assess the effectiveness of the project as you go and after you have completed it (did your project succeed at correcting the problem?)

    • This is not required in all Eagle projects but is an essential part of the Hornaday award
    • Did your project accomplish the intended goal? If not, you'll need to plan and lead more work to achieve the intended goal
    • Work with your conservation advisor in doing the assessment
    • Determine what else could have or should be done to accomplish the goal (further actions, etc.)
    • Document what you learned, and share it with the land owner or other beneficiary
    • Plan and lead any additional work indicated by the assessment

    E: Develop a long term follow-up plan

    • This is not required in all Eagle projects but is an essential part of the Hornaday award
    • Work with your conservation advisor and land owner in creating the long term follow-up plan
    • Work with the land owner to develop a monitoring plan to assure that the project results are lasting
    • The Hornaday candidate is strongly encouraged to participate in this follow-up work but is not required to if he or she moves out of town for college, etc.
    • The plan should include a list of foreseeable additional steps to be taken in the future to assure that the project results are lasting.

    Hornaday merit badges: The Hornaday award requires Scouts to earn specific merit badges in addition to those required for Eagle

    Earn any 3 of these 6 merit badges: Energy, Environmental Science (Eagle required), Fish and Wildlife Management, Forestry, Public Health, Soil and Water Conservation

    Plus, earn any 2 of these 15 merit badges Bird Study, Fishing, Fly-Fishing, Gardening,Geology, Insect Study, Landscape Architecture, Forestry, Public Health, Soil and Water Conservation, Mammal Study, Nature, Nuclear Science, Oceanography, Plant Science, Pulp and Paper, Reptile and Amphibian Study, Weather

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