William T. Hornaday Awards

Hornaday Badge

Hornaday Badge

 Hornaday Bronze Medal Hornaday Silver Medal Hornaday Gold Medal
Bronze Medal
Silver Medal
Gold Medal
Hornaday Square Knot

Square Knot

These awards have been DISCONTINUED

On October 12, 2020, BSA announced that the William T. Hornaday Award program for distinguished service in natural resources conservation has been DISCONTINUED.
The new BSA Distinguished Conservation Service Award is being introduced to underscore the importance of encouraging everyone to participate in environmental stewardship.
The details of the new program were scheduled to be released on November 1, 2020.

To see the BSA statement about this change, Click here.

The Hornaday Awards Program included a number of levels:

  1. The Unit Award, which could be earned by Cub Scout Packs, Scout Troops, Venturing Crews, and Sea Scout Ships. The Unit Award was a Certificate awarded on the Council Level.
  2. The Hornaday Badge, which could be earned by Scouts, Sea Scouts, and Venturers andwais also administered on the Council Level.
  3. The Hornaday Gold Badge, which could be awarded to adult Scouters who had given significant leadership to conservation at a council or district level, and wa also administered on the Council Level.
  4. The Bronze and Silver Medals, which could be earned by Scouts, Sea Scouts, and Venturers and was administered Nationally.

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

The successful attainment of the youth awards normally took at least 18 months to accomplish. For the adult awards, the Gold Badge and Gold Certificate required 3 years of service, and the Gold Medal, at least 20 years. The following are highlights of the what was required to earn the Youth awards (Badge, Bronze Medal, and Silver Medal).

These awards were presented for distinguished service in natural resource conservation for units, Scouts, Venturers, Sea Scouts, and Scouters. Scouts could earn the Hornaday Badge or the Hornaday Bronze or Silver Medal.


To be eligible for the Hornaday Badge, which was presented by the local council, a Scout must have done the following:

  1. Earn First Class rank.
  2. Plan, lead, and carry out at least one project from one of the categories listed (see below).
  3. Complete the requirements for any three of the merit badges listed in bold. In addition, complete any two of the others listed.


To be eligible for these awards, which were granted by the National Council, a Scout must have done the following:

  1. Earn First Class rank.
  2. For the bronze medal: Plan, lead, and carry out at least three projects from three separate categories listed. Earn the Environmental Science merit badge, plus at least three additional badges shown in boldface, and any two others listed.
  3. For the silver medal: Plan, lead, and carry out at least four projects from four separate categories listed. Earn all six merit badges listed in boldface, plus any three others listed.

The complete requirements, were detailed on the applicable award application form and in the Hornaday Award Conservation Project Workbook.

The complete program of the applicant, as planned and carried out, was reviewed and approved by the council for the award of the certificate or badge or both and, further, if deemed qualified, was then recommended to the William T. Hornaday Awards Committee for consideration for the Silver or Bronze medals.

Each project should have been equivalent in scope to an Eagle Scout leadership service project. A project planned and carried out as an Eagle Project, which would normally have qualified for Hornaday Awards COULD BE USED as one of the Hornaday Projects. One of the other projects could be performed on BSA property.


Page updated on: May 26, 2021

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