Earning the rank of Eagle Scout takes time and commitment. It’s not something all Scouts pursue, and of those that do, there is an even smaller group that seek to earn the Hornaday Awards.
The Hornaday Awards, which are focused on conservation, require a great deal of energy from those interested in earning them. For Scouts like Akul S. of the Boy Scouts of America Northern Star Council, that extra work isn’t daunting. Instead, it’s exactly the kind of challenge that adds to the Scouting experience.
Akul, who earned a Hornaday Badge in connection with his Eagle Scout project, had a keen desire to focus on conservation for his project, but he wasn’t initially trying to earn a Hornaday Award.
“It just so happened I was doing an Eagle Scout merit badge [focused] on conservation, and I found out I could do some more work for the Hornaday Award,” Akul said. “There’s a very big research part for the Hornaday where you have to research solutions.”
His project was focused on a local trail system that had been severely damaged by erosion. He had to do large amounts of research to find a solution to the erosion problem, but he also learned and used engineering skills in designing “water bars” made of gravel, dirt, and rock dust. These help divert rainwater.
He also engineered and constructed culverts that could be could be embedded in trenches by the trails. These assist with water runoff so erosion on the trails is mitigated.
Akul worked with a team of 41 volunteers that put in a total of nearly 440 hours to clear trails and install the items that would help stop the erosion.
Even after completion of the initial work, Akul had to return months later to ensure that all work was intact and functioning correctly. The documentation of the entire project also was shared with the public.
The Hornaday awards program was created to recognize those that have made significant contributions to conservation. It was begun in 1914 by Dr. William T. Hornaday, director of the New York Zoological Park and founder of the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. To learn more about the awards and their requirements, you can find that information on this page.
To learn more about Akul’s Eagle Scout project and its Hornaday requirements, be sure to read the full article in the Woodbury Bulletin.