Arthur Carlton-Jones

Path to Eagle

Hornaday Award Program

Think of It as an Olympic Medal Bestowed by the Earth


Conservation and the Boy Scouts of America have been partners for a long time. Camping, hiking, and respect for the outdoors are a part of the Scouting heritage as is Leave no Trace Ethics Many of the requirements for advancement from Tenderfoot through Eagle Scout rank call for an increasing awareness and understanding and respect of Nature and the Outdoors, and many former Scouts have become leaders in Environmental Coonservation.


The Hornaday awards program was created to recognize those that have made significant contributions to conservation. It was begun in 1914 by Dr. William T. Hornaday, director of the New York Zoological Park and founder of the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., and an active and outspoken champion of natural resource conservation. Originally, he named the award the Wildlife Protection Medal and its purpose was to challenge Americans to work constructively for wildlife conservation and habitat protection. After his death in 1937, the award was renamed in Dr. Hornaday's honor and became a Boy Scouts of America award.


In the early 1970s, the present awards program was established with funding from the DuPont Company. At that time, the late Dr. Hornaday's idea of conservation was broadened to include environmental awareness.


The Hornaday Awards are highly prized by those who have received them: Approximately 1,100 medals have been awarded over the past 80 years, and these awards represent a substantial commitment of time and energy by individuals who have earned them. Any Boy Scout, Varsity Scout, or Venturer willing to devote the time and energy to work on a project based on sound scientific principles and guided by a conservation professional or a well-versed layperson can qualify for one of the Hornaday Awards. The awards often take months to complete, so activities need be planned well in advance.


The fundamental purpose of the Hornaday Awards program is to encourage learning by the participants 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 goal of this awards program is to encourage and recognize truly outstanding efforts undertaken by Scouting units, Scouts and Venturers, adult Scouters, and other individuals, corporations, and institutions that have contributed significantly to natural resource conservation and environmental protection.

Hornaday Award Requirements

Rank Requirements

As a Boy Scout, the First Requirement for working on a Hornaday Award is to have acheived the Rank of First Class Scout.

Merit Badge Requirements

Much like progressing to the Rank of Eagle, there are certain Merit Badges that are required (6), and certain that need to be earned from a larger lsiting of Optional merit Badges (15)


Required Merit Badges


Environmental Science

Fish and Wildlife Management


Public Health

Soil and Water Conservation


Optional Merit Badges

Bird Study





Insect Study

Landscape Architecture

Mammal Study


Nuclear Science


Plant Science

Pulp and Paper

Reptlile and Amphibian Study


Project Requirements

In order to earn a Hornaday, the Scout must finally "plan, lead, and carry out between one and four significant projects in natural resource conservation or environmental improvements", one each from four of the eight project categories listed below


Project 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


Hornaday Awards

Hornaday Badge

Earn Three (3) of the Required Merit Badges, and Two (2) of the Optional Merit Badges, and plan, lead, and carry out one (1) significant project in natural resource conservation or environmental improvements.



Hornaday Bronze Medal

Earn Four (4) of the Required Merit Badges including the Environmental Science Merit Badge, and Three (3) of the Optional Merit Badges, and plan, lead, and carry out three (3) significant project in natural resource conservation or environmental improvements from three different Project Areas.

Hornaday Silver Medal

Earn all Six (6) of the Required Merit Badges, and Three (3) of the Optional Merit Badges, and plan, lead, and carry out four (4) significant project in natural resource conservation or environmental improvements from four different Project Areas.