Scouts, do you know your conservation-oriented service project may also count towards a Hornaday Award? Hornaday Awards for youth include the badge, and bronze and silver medals. See more at the Scouting.org website by searching for Hornaday. In 2019, one Scout from our Council, Gavin Svensson of Troop 3469 in Bloomington MN, received the youth Hornaday Badge for a turtle protection project at Bush Lake in Bloomington. This reduced predation of turtle eggs and hatchlings, and provided safe places for turtles to sun themselves out of water. To educate the public, he posted signs urging motorists to slow down and not run over turtles by the lake. His project and follow-up spanned 2 years.
Is that all there is to it? Not Quite. The Hornaday Awards are intended to encourage learning by the participants, increase public awareness about natural resource conservation, and positively improve the environment. They also require completion of specific conservation merit badges.
Any Scouts BSA member or Venturer who devotes the time and energy to a significant conservation/environmental project using sound scientific principles and guided by a well-versed conservation advisor can qualify for a youth Hornaday Award, when the other requirements are met. To be considered for the award, projects must be approved by the Council Conservation Committee. For information or assignment of a Hornaday adviser, contact Bob Elliott at [email protected] or David Olson at [email protected]
The Hornaday awards program began in 1914 by Dr. William T. Hornaday, director of the New York Zoological Park (the Bronx Zoo) and founder of the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. Dr. Hornaday was a champion of natural resource conservation and a leader in saving the American bison from extinction. The Hornaday awards encourage and recognize truly outstanding efforts undertaken by Scouts, Venturers, and adult Scouters who contribute significantly to conservation and environmental protection.
Adults can also receive a Hornaday Award. The Hornaday Gold Badge is awarded by the local council, by nomination, to an adult Scouter who demonstrates significant conservation leadership and commitment to the education of youth on a council or area level for at least three years. In 2019, 5 Scouters in our council received Hornaday Gold Badges.
- Dean Soderbeck and Ken Lillemo, Venture Crew 820 advisors, received the Gold Badge for many years of leading and mentoring Crew members on lake bottom clean-up projects as part of the Crew’s scuba activities.
- Jean Keller, Troop 9071 in Woodbury, MN, received the Gold Badge for serving as a merit badge counselor to nearly 300 Scouts who completed Forestry merit badge, and 70 who completed Insect Study merit badge, over the last 15 years.
- Jen Montean, Troop 3619 in Shakopee, MN, received the Gold Badge for serving as a Pulp and Paper merit badge merit badge counselor for many dozens of Scouts , over the last 10 years,
- Scott Glup, of Wilmar, MN, received the Gold Badge for, among other things, serving as the “Wildlife Wizard” for over 20 years. His routine involves teaching kids about wildlife and habitat. He has taught several thousand Scouts, 4-H members, school groups and other kids.