hornaday award

BSA Hornaday Award Program – Introduction

This is the first in a series about the BSA Hornaday Award Program. This award program recognizes Boy Scouts, Varsity Scouts, and Venturers who make significant contributions in the area of conservation. The award is challenging to earn, with only 1,100 medals having been awarded over the past 80 years.

There are different levels of recognition available for youth, as well as unit awards and Scouter awards in the Hornaday award program. Basically, a youth must earn some merit badges and carry out one or more significant projects. There are specific project categories. For Venturers working on the award, there are alternative requirements for the merit badges. This will be covered in a later article in the series.

So we’ll start with the authors’ introduction. I’ve also included their biographies at the bottom of this article.

Ending Obscurity: William T. Hornaday Conservation Programs

William O’Brochta and Ken Zabel

Since their founding, the Boy Scouts of America has been concerned with conservation and the environment. Camping and respect for the outdoors have been a part of the Scouting heritage for over a hundred years. Boy Scout advancement requirements call for an increasing awareness and understanding of the natural sciences, from joining through becoming an Eagle Scout. Scouts learn about environmental problems as they actively work to make a difference while becoming leaders in conserving our environment.

The fundamental purpose of the Hornaday Awards program is to encourage learning by the scouts 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 BSA National Council describes the Hornaday Award as being “equivalent to an Olympic medal bestowed by the earth.” There are eight categories of Hornaday projects: Soil and Water Conservation, Fish and Wildlife Management, Forestry and Range Management, Air and Water Pollution Control, Invasive Plant Species Control, Hazardous Material Disposal and Management, Resource Recovery (Recycling), and Energy Conservation.

Editorial notes: Your Hornaday Advisor does not need to be a part of your Council. The specific Hornaday Projects included hare are examples of projects which have been completed. The scope of the project categories (i.e. Soil and Water Conservation) are general enough to allow for a wide range of projects. If you are not sure if your project will be considered to be a Hornaday Project, please contact a Hornaday Advisor, including the authors of this article for assistance.

The authors of this article invite you to send them an e-mail if you have any questions, or if you are looking for a Hornaday Advisor to work with. If an Eagle Project could also be considered to be a Hornaday Project, a Hornaday Report can be written and submitted to your Council for review (typically by the Hornaday, Environmental, or Advancement Committee).

About the authors:

William O’Brochta is the author of the Blue Ridge Mountains Council Hornaday Awards Guide (bsa-brmc.org/hornaday), Council William T. Hornaday Awards Coordinator on the BRMC Conservation Committee, an Eagle Scout, a recipient of the Hornaday Silver Medal and Badge, the Hornaday Gold Badge, and was the Hornaday Tent Supervisor at the 2013 National Scout Jamboree. william@obrochta.net

Ken Zabel is the author of Seeking the Elusive, Exclusive Hornaday (How to Earn Scouting’s Most Prestigious Conservation Award), an Eagle Scout, Assistant Scoutmaster, a recipient of the Hornaday Gold Badge, and a Hornaday Advisor who has worked with scouts on sixteen William T. Hornaday Award applications. hornadayadvisor@gmail.com

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