Hornaday Projects and Youth Awards
The Hornaday Awards program encourages and recognizes units, Scouts,
and Venturers who design, lead, and carry out conservation projects that
are based on sound scientific principles and practices. The projects should
contribute to sound conservation and environmental improvement in the local
community, the region, or the nation. The applicant is expected to research
potential projects and to choose, with guidance from a Hornaday adviser, a
Because the badge, the bronze medal, and the silver medal are individual
awards, two or more individuals cannot claim credit for the same project.
However, a project may be a part of a larger conservation effort, with
different applicants carrying out different aspects of the same project.
An Eagle Scout leadership service project may be used as a Hornaday project
if it meets the aims and objectives of the William T. Hornaday program as
listed below. Projects that have already been used to earn the William T.
Hornaday badge may be used as one of the projects for a medal.
Applicants are encouraged to involve their unit members in project work
and demonstrate Scout leadership, thereby making their unit eligible for
the unit award.
What Qualifies As a Hornaday Project?
First and foremost, the project must be a conservation project—it must
be designed to address a conservation issue or need in the local area, and it
must benefit the environment or the creatures that live there. Making an area
more accessible for people is rarely for the benefit of the environment.
How big a project should be and how long it should last are commonly asked
questions. Collecting aluminum cans over a weekend along with many other Scouts
is a fine public service, but since little learning took place and there was no
lasting impact on the community, the project would not qualify for a Hornaday
Award. Similarly, a simple, one-time tree planting effort would not qualify.
However, a reforestation project in cooperation with a professional forester
or park planner, learning which trees are appropriate to the area, ensuring proper
spacing for best growth, following proper planting methods, and caring for the
trees after planting might well qualify. Starting a community-wide recycling
project and encouraging people to recycle might also qualify. Size of the project
is not necessarily the important element. Rather, the results, the learning that
took place, the applicant's demonstrated leadership, and the significance of the
contribution to the community, park, or other lands are what count.
As to time, past recipients of the medals have indicated it takes no less than
18 months to complete the required merit badges and projects. So it's a good idea
to start early in your Scouting career. You will find the Conservation Handbook,
No. 33570, to be an invaluable source of ideas and assistance. It is available from
your local council service center or Scout shop.
Applicants for the Hornaday badge must plan, lead, and carry out at least
one project from one category of conservation. Bronze medal applicants must
complete at least three significant projects in three different categories.
Silver medal applicants must complete four significant projects in four
categories. Each project is to be equivalent in scope to an Eagle Scout
leadership service project.
One project could be the applicant's Eagle Scout leadership service project,
if it is suitable, and one could be performed on BSA property.
The others must benefit a school, community, religious organization, or
fulfill some other public service purpose.
The conservation categories are designed, in part, to make Hornaday Awards
available to Scouts
living in suburban and urban areas as well as those in rural settings, and to
acknowledge the growing interest among Scouts and their leaders in actively
improving the natural environment within their own communities. These categories
also focus on the relationship between environmental abuses in urban centers and
their impact in relatively unpopulated, sometimes distant, areas.
- 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
Other good ideas for projects may be found in the publications and pamphlets
of groups such as the National Audubon Society, the Izaak Walton League, the
National Wildlife Federation, or governmental agencies including the Environmental
Protection Agency, USDA Forest Service, Army Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Land
Management, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Fish and Wildlife Service,
National Park Service, state natural resource conservation agencies, and your
state cooperative extension service. The best way to identify a project is to
discuss the options with a Hornaday adviser.
There must be clear written evidence in your application that you did indeed
plan, lead, and carry out long-term, substantial projects in the different
conservation categories. Past winners have indicated that it takes at least 18
months to complete all the requirements. Judges check to see that all necessary
signatures are on the applications; that the applicant (except for Venturer
applicants) was not yet 18 when all requirements were completed; that all merit
badge requirements have been completed; and that the projects are substantial
Additional written supporting material relating to the applicant's conservation
work (newspaper articles, letters of commendation, photos of completed projects)
is considered by the judges. Evidence of leadership in researching, planning,
leading, and carrying out the projects, and of how this influenced other people,
must be clearly documented.