Virginia Arrowman Works with Youth to Earn Hornaday Award

SingletaryBy Brad Ward (www.oa-bsa.org)

Arrowman Dave Singletary proved to the members of Wahunsenakah Lodge his care for the environment this past year when he earned the Hornaday Gold Badge for service to the environment. The Hornaday Gold Badge is awarded by the BSA for “leadership to conservation at council level for over three years.”

The BSA website compares those who earn the honor to Olympic athletes on its web site, saying, “think of it as an Olympic medal bestowed by the Earth.” Like the Olympics, the Hornaday awards do not simply begin with outstanding conservation service at the council level alone.

The award was first created by William T. Hornaday, past director of the New York Zoological Park and founder of the D.C. National Zoo. An outspoken champion of natural resource conservation, Mr. Hornaday originally categorized the program under one medal, which he originally named the Wildlife Protection Medal. Upon his death in 1937 and later in the 1970s, the BSA thought it necessary to create a series of awards named after him.

Units may earn the Unit Award while Scouts may earn the Hornaday Badge and the Hornaday Bronze and Silver Medals. Like Singletary, adult Scouters may earn the Hornaday Gold Badge while other adults may earn either the Hornaday Gold Medal or the Hornaday Gold Certificate, the highest conservation honor.

To earn his award, Singletary organized five different lodges to travel to the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests to complete trails not finished during ArrowCorps5. Singletary worked with the National Forest System to coordinate equipment, camping, and support for ten weekends to these National Forests.

Singletary said the project was prompted by a visit from Wahunsenakah during ArrowCorps5. “One Arrowman said, ‘We should come back and finish the job!’ I said, ‘I’ll organize that to happen’,” Singletary said. Singletary gives credit to Shenandoah Lodge’s Alex Wiatt, the Arrowman who recognized and spoke what needed to happen. “From there, we received Section SR-7A’s blessing to collaborate,” Singletary continued. “We visited lodge events and trained and organized by the same IAP that ArrowCorps5 utilized for the 2008 trail work. Working on weekends only, the youth-led project metamorphosed.”

And change it did! Nawakwa Lodge  maintains the trail every first April weekend annually. Lodge Adviser Mike Lynch now coordinates 130 Arrowmen volunteering at the forests. Thanks to Singletary and Wiatt’s efforts, Nawakwa is now a lodge depended upon by the U.S. Forest Service. Singletary said the U.S. Forest Service is extremely happy with the trail work’s quality and now wants OA brothers to return and maintain the Great Eastern Trail’s Muddy Run section.

Singletary says it best: “It shows that if one is willing and ambitious enough, many things may happen!” A single spark, brought by one youth, caught on to the tinder that was Singletary. Fortunately, that idea caught on to other advisers, and now Shenandoah’s Alex Wiatt should feel proud of his great idea. Thanks Alex!