The Hornaday Awards Program was started in 1917 by Dr. William T. Hornaday, director of the New York Zoological Park and founder of the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. Dr. Hornaday was an active and outspoken champion of natural resource conservation and a leader in saving the American bison from extinction. He named the award the Wildlife Protection Medal. Its purpose was to challenge Americans to work constructively for wildlife conservation and habitat protection. After his death in 1938, the award was renamed in Dr. Hornaday's honor and became a Boy Scouts of America award.
Understanding and practicing sound stewardship of natural resources and environmental protection strengthens Scouting's emphasis on respecting the outdoors. In order to promote awareness of conservation, Cub Scout packs have the opportunity to earn the William T. Hornaday Unit Award. A Cub Scout pack may earn this award by completing a unique, substantial conservation project. The Cub Scout pack must have at least five boys, with at least 60 percent of registered unit members participating. Packs may be nominated or they may apply for this recognition by filling out an application and submitting it to the advancement department at the Foothill Service Office. The advancement department will then forward the submitted application to the BSA National Council office for approval. Upon approval, packs will be awarded a Hornaday Unit Award certificate at no cost to them from the Conservation Service of the BSA National Council.

Hornaday Projects do not necessarily have to be big, but they should not simply be picking up trash on the side of the road or a one-time tree planting. A Hornaday Project should involve learning and lasting results. Packs are strongly encouraged to work with conservation organizations, community groups, and public officials to research, plan, and implement a substantial service to their local environment.


When filling out the application for this award, the project description form should indicate the category of the project - soil and water conservation, fish and wildlife management, forestry and range management, energy conservation, air and water pollution control, resource recovery, or hazardous material disposal and management; the specific title of the project; and a detailed description of what was done, who did it, when it was done, and how it was done. Be sure to include any other pertinent information. 

William T. Hornaday Unit Award Application

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