If you’ve ever held a “buffalo nickel,” you’ve touched William Temple Hornaday’s legacy. The image on the nickel is the stuffed bison Hornaday created for the U.S. National Museum, now part of the Smithsonian Institution.Born in 1854 on a farm in Indiana, Hornaday fought his whole life to preserve endangered species.
In college he learned the practice of taxidermy and became chief taxidermist at the National Museum in Washington, D.C. He went on specimen-collecting trips to Florida, Cuba, the West Indies, India, Ceylon, the Malay Peninsula and Borneo.
Author of hundreds of newspaper and magazine articles, he wrote more than 20 books and created the Bronx Zoo and D.C.’s National Zoo.
About 1,100 Hornaday medals have been awarded since 1917. That’s an average of fewer than 15 per year. (By contrast, 51,742 Scouts earned the rank of Eagle in 2007 alone.)
Hornaday established the awards program to recognize Scouts who complete a series of truly exceptional conservation projects. Earning one takes a tremendous amount of time and dedication.
Hornaday Badge: Scouts must earn five merit badges from a list of environmental-related categories, then plan, lead and carry out a significant conservation project.
Hornaday Bronze Medal: Scouts must earn the Environmental Science merit badge, plus five more badges related to conservation, then plan, lead and carry out three significant projects.
Hornaday Silver Medal: Scouts must earn all of the conservation-related merit badges, plus three additional merit badges, then plan, lead and carry out four significant projects.
The Hornaday Gold Medal is for adults.
For a list of the required merit badges and project categories, click here.
HORNADAY SILVER MEDAL WINNERS SINCE 2000
Matthew Authement, Troop 219, St. Petersburg, Fla.: Removed invasive tree species at nature preserve; improved migratory songbird habitat; constructed nesting boxes and birdcage for educational program at preserve; managed community battery recovery and recycling project.
Brady Baldwin, Lone Scout, Green Valley, Calif.: Removed trash and built sign to discourage littering at park; built and installed bat boxes; built and installed recycling bins; promoted energy conservation at middle school.
Kyle Baldwin, Lone Scout, Green Valley, Calif.: Cleared dams blocking a creek; promoted use of solar energy at high school; installed wood-duck boxes; installed information signs at a park.
Daniel Barber, Troop 942, Cameron, N.C.: Designed and installed outdoor physical fitness stations; installed bridges across streams near high school; made cross-country running course more environmentally friendly; restored the area surrounding town well sites.
Matthew Brennan, Troop 13, Warren, Pa.: Restored damaged undergrowth at wildlife area; monitored bald eagle nest and planted vegetation to serve as food for wildlife; removed hazardous discarded fishing line from reservoir; repaired hiking trail for better erosion control.
Travis Cochran, Troop 104, Cedarpines Park, Calif.: Restored forest and wildlife habitat at fire station; improved wildlife water source; protected endangered plants at park by removing invasive species; returned illegal road to natural conditions; planted and maintained trees at Scout camp.
Carl Diamond, Varsity Scout Team 1357, Woodbridge, Va.: Removed trash and repaired damage to a hiking trail; removed non-native vegetation from a wildlife refuge; promoted proper disposal of hazardous household waste; improved wildlife habitats in park.
Robert Dixon, Troop 748, Oceanside, Calif.: Removed invasive tree species from wildlife preserve; developed plan to create backyard wildlife habitats; monitored activities of endangered native bird population; removed and repaired incorrectly installed drainpipes that were causing erosion.
Lewis Gorman IV, Troop 144, Cherry Hill, N.J.: Started battery recycling program; restored and
rerouted hiking trail at Scout camp; built and installed nesting boxes for birds along a trail; created a tree identification trail.
Jesse Hand, Venturing Crew 18, Manitou Springs, Colo.: Conceived and directed erosion control project; led reforestation project; organized chemical waste collection and recycling program; worked on wolf protection/community awareness project.
Graham Huggins, Troop 320, Simpsonville, S.C.: Built nature trail around pond; introduced pond fish that would eat invasive weeds; launched erosion control projects at state park; repaired signs along hiking trail.
Jonathan Kruse, Troop 519, Russiaville, Ind.: Built and installed bird feeders along nature trail; launched erosion control project along river; ran composting education program; ran hazardous material disposal project.
Michael Lionetti, Troop 825, Houston, Tex.: Planted native vegetation to prevent erosion and flooding; explored ways to improve flood control properties along a canal; ran Christmas tree recycling program; planted native trees.
John Maseda, Troop 301, St. Petersburg, Fla.: Removed invasive species of tree from park; taught wildlife education classes; restored native plant populations at a park; promoted proper methods for hazardous material disposal.
Joshua Mayes, Troop 105, Wallisville, Tex.: Planted vegetation to benefit marsh wildlife; repaired boat ramp at Scout camp; conducted seed collecting and planting project for wildlife refuge; restored
native grasses to marshlands.
Griffin McGee, Troop 908, Burns Harbor, Ind.: Removal of non-native plants; led ditch construction project to improve drainage; planted pine trees at camp; built new hiking trail at park.
Quentin Mullen, Venturing Crew 009, Winchester, Ind.: Built outdoors learning display at environmental center; ran battery recycling drive at middle school; created nature program at Cub Scout day camp; helped with biological survey and monitoring project at 10 sites.
Samuel Nassie, Troop 770, Paradise, Calif.: Restored hiking trail; helped with reforestation project in wildfire-damaged area; installed wood-duck nesting boxes near a lake; created program for proper disposal and recycling of household batteries.
Victor Otruba, Sea Scout Ship 2001, Mansfield, Pa.: Founded nonprofit organization to clean up a river; set up demonstrations of limestone treatments that improve water quality; gathered hardwood nuts and planted them on reclaimed mining land; rerouted stream that was eroding a coal mine.
John Peake, Explorer Post 2121, Ventura, Calif.: Installed warning signs on face of storm drains;
established native butterfly park; worked on oil recycling education program; worked on hazardous material disposal program.
John Rasmussen, Troop 623, Hutchinson, Minn.: Implemented an education project involving backyard habitats for bats; created a project to raise awareness of an invasive underwater plant; conducted a recycling/composting education project; collected data on land restoration project.
Lucas Reineke, Troop 105, Glendale, Ariz.: Developed project to educate children on fish preservation; gathered information for large tree planting project; created public education project concerning recycling and composting; repaired erosion damage on trail.
Jeffrey Teigler, Troop 341, Altoona, Pa.: Conducted projects to improve safety, wildlife diversity and rehabilitation efforts at a wildlife rehabilitation center; worked on projects to improve water quality in streams; spearheaded reforestation project along a stream; planted trees over a limestone aquifer to reduce pollutants.
Wade Walker, Troop 74, Manhattan, Kan.: Removed undesirable trees along streams; resurfaced driveway near stream and redirected stream to prevent erosion; directed project to remove hazardous materials; built and installed birdhouses and bird feeders.
Dylan Wetzel, Troop 256, Harrisburg, Pa.: Built, installed and maintained bird nesting boxes; implemented erosion control methods along stream; implemented recycling program; directed project that resulted in the planting of 1,700 trees.