Role of the Conservation Advisor

A Conservation Advisor is an individual who represents or works with the Sponsoring Organization. The Conservation Advisor will guide you through available projects, the purposes of those projects, and the amount of labor and materials each project will require. A Conservation Advisor will have a firm background in, and understanding of, conservation practices.

Once you have worked with your Troop and Hornaday Advisor to decide on a project, the Conservation Advisor will instruct you on the importance of the project, who or what it benefits from it, and how the project will accomplish this. However, it is still your task to properly research the project and find possible solutions. The Advisor is never a substitute for research.

One of the Conservation Advisor’s main roles is to introduce you into the larger picture of resource conservation, by facilitating your ability to understand the important part you play.

One of the Advisor’s roles is to provide the scout with project-related coaching and facilitation. This might include discussing various project options, possible resources, instructing the Scout how to research the internet for project-related agencies, or how to find and communicate with the appropriate contact within an agency.

It is your job to figure out which of these methods are best suited for your project, and the ramifications that could come from each choice. Figuring out the best method of instillation may require several meetings between you and your Conservation Advisor.


The Conservation Advisor is:

  • Preferably a Conservation professional or an individual involved in conservation efforts
  • Helps the Candidate select an appropriate conservation project
  • Guides the Candidate on how to properly research and document information
  • Introduces the Candidate to his role in the bigger picture on conservation

So what is your role as an advisor?

Being asked to be an advisor by a young person working on this award is both an honor and a responsibility. The role of the advisor is perhaps the single most important element in an applicant’s success. This is not a short-term commitment. On average it will take an individual nearly two years to complete the requirements for either the bronze or silver medals.

You are part of a team that consists of the youth’s unit leader (Scoutmaster or crew Advisor), the conservation advisor (you), and most likely individual project advisors (most often land managers for the project location). Depending on the situation, several others, either from the youth’s unit or the BSA local council office, may work with you.

The local council will have a process for approving Hornaday applications before forwarding them on to the national office. Again, depending on the situation, individuals may want to take part at various points throughout the process.

As a conservation professional you bring a special perspective to the Scout working on these awards. You will be their guide, a catalyst, taking the Scout’s interest in a species or concern for a place, from a mere idea, through education and into constructive, effective action where they actually make a difference!

You can help them understand what the scientific method is. How their questions and concerns may lead them to conduct investigations, analyze data, and draw conclusions about the world around them. Your knowledge and professionalism can guide them to understand the world. That natural cycles, the interaction and interdependencies between species, natural disasters, and the influence of man are all part of the ecosystem often clouding what at first glance may be perceived as a clear course of action.

When all things are considered, a solution is very seldom black or white, but shades of gray, which take into account not only the natural systems but the social and political ones as well. While a course of action for an individual problem for an individual species may be clear, in order to make a long lasting effect it may need to be mitigated for other species in the area or the practices of people in the local community.

It is perhaps because of this that Dr. Hornaday considered a very important part of this award to be the education and the attempt to change the attitudes of others around us. You also can introduce the Scout to the bigger picture of conservation and its many varied fields of expertise. You can also introduce them to the many agencies and organizations that are working in their area that can serve as resources for them.