William T. Hornaday Awards
First established in 1915 by Dr. William Temple Hornaday, founder of the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and credited for saving the American Bison from extinction, the Hornaday Awards (originally called the Permanent Wild Life Protection Fund Medal) are the oldest continuously run and most prestigious conservation awards in the United States. Between 1917 and 1974, a total of 897 medals were granted. In 1975, the program was revamped into a three-tier award structure, with the distinction based on the number of quality projects completed and their impact on the community. A scout may qualify for the badge with one project, the bronze medal with three projects, and the silver medal with four projects. As of 2019, only 148 bronze medals and 154 silver medals have been conferred by the National Council of the Boy Scouts of America, making them Scouting’s rarest awards.
My Hornaday Journey
When I was twelve, a leader in my Troop suggested I look into the Hornaday program. He said, “No one in the council has ever earned a Hornaday medal.” This ignited the spark from within. Starting on a Hornaday Medal is not for the faint at heart. These medals represent a substantial commitment of time and energy while providing real-world experience to project management. In total, 9 service projects were completed, 387 volunteers contributed 1,682 service hours during 28 workdays. 17 organizations were involved with 36 meetings held. A total of 1,689 hours was consumed on planning, documenting, and organizing a total of 22 inches of paperwork for submission.