Hornaday Award

Hornaday Knot Hornaday Badge

This award was DISCONTINUED on October 12, 2020.


The BSA has replaced the Hornaday Awards program with the BSA Distinguished Conservation Service Award program.
The new program includes the following elements:

  • The BSA Distinguished Conservation Service Award for youth
  • The BSA Distinguished Conservationist Award for adult Scouters, and
  • The BSA Distinguished Conservation Service Award Certificate for Organizations and Individuals (non-Scouters)

For details of the new BSA Distinguished Conservation Service Award program, Click here.


The William T. Hornaday Award recognized Scouts and Scouters for ecology efforts and service to conservation in their communities. To earn the Hornaday Award as an individual, youth members had to earn a series of merit badges followed by a concentrated series of conservation and/or environmental education projects to be conducted in the member's community or nearby, under the advise of a trained conservation, naturalist, or environmental engineering expert.

There were seven levels to this award -- the Unit Certificate for Scouting groups, the Badge (shown above), Bronze Award and Silver Award for youth, the Gold Badge and Gold Medal for Adults, and the Gold Certificate for outside organizations and corporations. Holders of the Bronze and Silver Awards and the Gold Medal may wear the square knot shown above.

The Unit certificate was awarded by the local council to a den, pack, patrol, team, crew, or group of five or more Boy Scouts, Varsity Scouts, or Venturers for a unique, substantial conservation project.

The Hornaday Badgewas awarded by the local council to an individual Scout, Varsity Scout, or Venturer for outstanding service in conservation.

The Bronze medal was awarded to an individual for exceptional service in natural resource conservation or environmental improvement. A national committee judged the applications.

The Silver medal was awarded to an individual for unusual and distinguished service in natural resource conservation or environmental improvement. Applications were reviewed three times a year by a national committee.

The Gold Badge was nominative in nature and was awarded by the local council to an adult Scouter to recognize leadership to conservation at council or district level for at least three years

The Gold Medalwa is nominative in nature and recognized adult Scouters for outstanding service in natural resource conservation and youth education on a multistate or national basis. Nominations WEre made by a national or regional conservation organization or agency. (A maximum of six per year could be awarded)

The Gold Certificate was nominative in nature and recognized a corporation or organization for outstanding contribution to youth conservation education for at least three years (A maximum of six per year could be awarded)

For a history of the Hornaday Award program, click here.


Below are images of the various Hornaday Awards

Hornaday Ribbon  Hornaday Bronze Award   Hornaday Gold  Award   Hornaday Silver Award


Page updated on: May 26, 2021



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