The Olympic Medal of Scouting

Combining his love of Scouting with his passion for conservation, Baxter Perry-Miller ’24 is aiming to earn both the rank of Eagle Scout and the rarer Hornaday Medal, also known as the “Olympic Medal of Scouting.” For his Eagle Scout Service Project, Baxter is designing and building custom wooden containers to hold trash and recycling bins at the Trinity River Audubon Center in Dallas. Located at the edge of the Great Trinity Forest southeast of Downtown Dallas, the 120-acre Audubon Center serves as a conservation area for a diverse community of plant and animal species. When his project is completed, Baxter will earn the Hornaday Badge.

Established by ardent conservationist William T. Hornaday, this awards program recognizes Scouts who undertake and complete truly exceptional conservation projects. Since its inception in 1937, only around 1,100 students across the country have earned what the Boy Scouts of America calls “one of Scouting’s rarest, most prestigious honors.” Scouts who earn three specific conservation-related merit badges and then plan and carry out a significant conservation project receive the Hornaday Badge. Scouts can then earn a Bronze and Silver Hornaday Medal by earning more merit badges and completing more projects.

Through his construction of the bins, Baxter hopes to encourage visitors to the Audubon to collect and dispose of their trash. As he explains, “One of the greatest threats endangering wildlife in the Trinity River Audubon area is micro litter, small pieces of garbage that measure just five millimeters to two centimeters, such as water bottle caps or torn candy wrappers. A bird can mistake one of these objects for a piece of food and digest it, causing harm or even death.”

While Baxter still has plenty of work to do toward the rank of Eagle Scout and the Hornaday Medal, his project is already on display and in use at the Audubon Center, helping to eliminate litter there one piece of trash at a time.

The project even captured the attention of WFAA Channel 8 News, who interviewed Baxter for a story. As Baxter told the reporter, “All it takes is one person to get out there and change how we think about things. My hope is that this creates a huge chain reaction, and people will start realizing how important conservation and recycling and all of that is.”
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    • Baxter (center) with the containers he built at the Trinity River Audubon Center.

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