William T. Hornaday Awards

Hornaday Guide         National Promotion         Actual Medal Application         Handouts         Presentations

 Hornaday Guide

Hornaday Guide (PDF)

This section of the site contains documents and information that I have created in my role as Council William T. Hornaday Awards Coordinator on the Blue Ridge Mountains Council Conservation Committee. The Hornaday Guide is a step-by-step process to earning a Hornaday Medal.

The Hornaday Awards are the premier conservation awards in Scouting. The Hornaday Silver Medal is the rarest award in Scouts with only one or two medals awarded each year. This makes the Hornaday Silver Medal 15,000 times rarer than earning an Eagle Medal.

Scouts who wish to earn a Hornaday medal will have to complete Merit Badges and several large conservation projects. These projects are as large or larger than the Eagle Service Project. Earning a Hornaday Medal will take Scouts years to complete; however, the awards are some of the most coveted and least well-known honors in the world.

The Blue Ridge Mountains Council Conservation Committee and I am happy to work with your Council or Scouts as their Conservation Advisors or Hornaday Advisors. The BRMC Hornaday Awards Guide is the national standard for Hornaday documentation. It has been adopted by the National Council of the BSA for use at the National Jamboree. It was the first comprehensive Hornaday education document in the country and remains the most popular. The BRMC Hornaday Guide is used in upwards of one hundred Councils.

 National Promotion

The Blue Ridge Mountains Council Conservation Committee and I are committed to promoting conservation throughout the nation including the Hornaday Awards program. As a recipient of the Silver Medal and Badge, I feel that there not nearly enough Hornaday awareness throughout the country. I found out about the Hornaday Awards in the depths of the Scouting website, many folders in, while looking for something else. When I asked around the Council to find out more, no one knew anything.

The whole goal of the Hornaday Awards Guide, the first step-by-step, comprehensive guide to all the Hornaday Awards, is to make the Hornaday Awards accessible to all Scouts in the Boy Scouts of America.

Because I feel that the Hornaday Guide is valuable, I, with the support of the Conservation Committee, will be contacting every Council and District in the Boy Scouts of America to share the Hornaday documentation. These individuals will be tasked with sharing the Guide and general Hornaday awareness with their respective Units, Scouts, and Scouters.

As one of the few Council Conservation Committees in the Boy Scouts, we feel that more commitment to conservation is necessary. Because the National Conservation Committee, National Hornaday Committee, and National Camping Committee have not spread the word as well as we would like, this campaign has started. I believe this Council, with one Silver Medal, one Bronze Medal, one Badge, a half dozen Gold Badges, several Unit awards, and two Gold Medals, is uniquely qualified to spread the Hornaday message to the nation.

 Actual Medal Application

William O'Brochta Silver Medal Application (PDF)

I earned my Hornaday Silver Medal in 2010, but the effort started in 2007 with my Eagle project. The Eagle project qualified me for the Hornaday Badge and I completed four additional projects, one more than required for the Silver Medal. The projects logged about 1500 hours in labor, plus the time I spent putting the actual documentation and application together.

Project one was my Eagle project and Hornaday Badge project as well as the first project for my Silver Medal. A large amount of clear-cutting occurred near my former middle school to make room for houses to be built. Working with a landscape architect, I selected native plants and designed an area for small displaced animals to live as well as a place for eighth grade students to eat lunch.

Project two occurred in Hungary while I was working for Habitat for Humanity for six months in 2008. The recipients of Habitat houses did not understand the concept of energy conservation because this was the first time many of them had needed to pay for utilities. I designed and taught a program to educate the house recipients about the importance of energy conservation. This program continues to be implemented with new house recipients.

Project three involved designing an experiment to determine if the phosphates in regular laundry detergent were harmful to grass and plant life. A public awareness campaign about the detrimental effects of regular laundry detergent followed.

Project four took an extremely eroded shoreline at Claytor Lake and revitalized it to stop the erosion and add plant life. The project involved designing the plant layout and selecting native plants that would thrive in the area.

Finally, project five stabilized an eroded lakebed at Claytor Lake by sinking artificial fish habitats. These fish habitats also provided homes for local fish and increased fish populations in an overfished area.

In the hopes that reading an actual application for the Silver Medal will help some people format their own applications, I have linked to a copy of my approved Silver Medal application. This is just a soft-copy of exactly what was sent in to the National Camping Committee and National Hornaday Committee.


Hornaday Basic Information Guide

To introduce the Hornaday topic to Scouts, Scouters, and the public, this one page document will do a great job summarizing a lot of confusing information. I use this document to introduce all my presentations rather than just handing out copies of the Hornaday Guide. This document is located in the Executive Summary of the BRMC Hornaday Guide.

Conservation in Scouting

People often wonder how Scouting incorporates the conservation ideas into the program. This one page handout is similar in structure to the Hornaday Basic Information Guide as it should be handed out at the beginning of presentations. This handout is even better for non-Scouters to broadly overview many of Scouting’s conservation programs.

Conservation in Scouting (PDF)

Conservation Related Badges Poster

This document is a compilation of all the Merit Badges that relate to conservation.

Conservation Related Badges (PDF)

Hornaday Awards Poster

This document is a compilation of all the different Hornaday award levels.

Hornaday Awards Poster (PDF)

Hornaday Awards Flowchart

Like the Hornaday Basic Information Guide, this flowchart provides an overview of the Hornaday Award process. It is best used by the Conservation Advisor or the candidate to check his progress along the way.

Hornaday Awards Flowchart (PDF)

Hornaday Promotion Article

In an article written by Ken Zabel and William O'Brochta, we review the entire Hornaday process and give a bunch of examples of projects.

Hornaday Promotion Article (PDF)


The trick with a Hornaday presentation is to make it informative and interesting, even informal, anything to avoid bogging down in complicated details. Thus, no matter how new you may be to the world of Hornaday, give the presentation with as few notes as possible. This allows you to speak about your own Hornaday experience and what you know about the subject, not what the Scouting website says. I take the Basic Information Guide along with the Conservation in Scouting handouts to give to all participants. The two points to focus on are the rarity of Hornaday awards, leading to the amount of effort required, and the relative ease with which an Eagle candidate can integrate Hornaday into his Eagle project. I believe that this is the key to more Hornaday projects; integrating Eagle with highly motivated Scouts will lead to more overall awareness and, eventually, to more Hornaday Awards. Also emphasize the possibility of a Unit Award for any Troop or Pack that can complete a relatively simple project. The key is to give a brief overview and then ask if anyone has questions. Usually people do not understand the award levels even if you went over them and they are also confused about the project and the specific categories within which separate projects must fit. Finally, emphasize the availability of help. 

Even if your Council does not have Hornaday “people” like the Blue Ridge Mountains Council does, there are many resources for potential Hornaday awardees. One most definitely is the Hornaday Awards Guide, containing pretty much everything one would like to know about the Hornaday awards. Secondly, there are definitely potential Conservation Advisors within your Council. Thirdly, I am available to assist any and all Scouts who are working on Hornaday projects or can recommend others with whom to work. 

Hornaday PowerPoint 

This PowerPoint presentation is an alternative to the above speaking method. The presentation can be completed in about forty-five minutes and gives a broad overview of the Hornaday process and conservation in Scouting. 

Hornaday Awards PowerPoint (PDF) 

Video Recording (15 minute video) 

Hornaday Legacy Flip-Chart Presentation 

A more preferable method of delivery for a Hornaday presentation is to use a flip-chart method. The presentation is accompanied by a suggested script for the twenty minute talk. It is more focused on the history of Dr. Hornaday and this is used as the means to discuss the future of Hornaday, not just the requirements.

Video Recording (16 minute video) 

Hornaday Overview Video 

This video is edited and produced in order to show my Hornaday projects as well as to demonstrate the CDP system of conservation. The CDP system involves completion of the award, development of Hornaday materials, and promotion. 

Video Recording (12 minute video)

Desktop Site