Earning a Hornaday Medal

Since 1917, about 1,100 Hornaday medals have been awarded. The Wildlife Protection Medal was a forerunner to the Hornaday Awards. Dr. William T. Hornaday, an ardent conservationist, established this awards program to recognize Scouts who undertook and completed truly exceptional conservation projects. Earning one is hard work—it is supposed to be—but it’s worth it.

A good idea is to start with the badge and then work up to the bronze or silver medal. You must be a First Class Scout or a Venturer, and you must have a conservation adviser. Then you do your homework to fulfill the advancement requirements and conservation projects you want to complete.

The following merit badges and project categories are the building blocks for a Scout to earn a Hornaday Award. See the Hornaday application for the Venturing requirements.


  • Energy
  • Environmental Science
  • Fish and Wildlife Management
  • Forestry
  • Public Health
  • Soil and Water Conservation
  • Bird Study
  • Fishing
  • Fly-Fishing
  • Gardening
  • Geology
  • Insect Study
  • Landscape Architecture
  • Mammal Study
  • Nature
  • Nuclear Science
  • Oceanography
  • Plant Science
  • Pulp and Paper
  • Reptile and Amphibian Study
  • Weather


*FOR THE HORNADAY BADGE, Scouts earn three of the merit badges listed above in boldface, plus any two others. Then plan, lead, and carry out a significant project in natural resource conservation, from one of the project categories listed.

*FOR THE HORNADAY BRONZE MEDAL, Scouts earn the Environmental Science merit badge and at least three additional merit badges listed above in boldface, plus any two others. Then plan, lead, and carry out three significant projects from three separate categories listed.

*FOR THE HORNADAY SILVER MEDAL, Scouts earn all the merit badges listed above in boldface, plus any three others. Then plan, lead, and carry out four significant projects in natural resource conservation or environmental improvements, one each from four of the eight project categories listed.

  • Energy conservation
  • Soil and water conservation
  • Fish and wildlife management
  • Forestry and range management
  • Air and water pollution control
  • Resource recovery (recycling)
  • Hazardous material disposal and management
  • Invasive species control