Crystal Lake Eagle Scout earns top conservation award

  • John Fiorina presents the William T. Hornaday Bronze Medal Award to Eagle Scout Ehren Braun of Crystal Lake at the Blackhawk Area Council Recognition Banquet March 3.

    John Fiorina presents the William T. Hornaday Bronze Medal Award to Eagle Scout Ehren Braun of Crystal Lake at the Blackhawk Area Council Recognition Banquet March 3. Courtesy of Beth Costa

  • Ehren Braun, a member of Venturing Crew 158 in Crystal Lake, created a bat habitat for Crystal Lake Park District, a project for the Hornaday Award, one of Scouting's highest conservation achievements.

    Ehren Braun, a member of Venturing Crew 158 in Crystal Lake, created a bat habitat for Crystal Lake Park District, a project for the Hornaday Award, one of Scouting's highest conservation achievements. Courtesy of Janis Braun

 
Submitted by Janis Braun

Eagle Scout Ehren Braun, a member of Venturing Crew 158 in Crystal Lake, was awarded the William T. Hornaday Bronze Medal at Blackhawk Area Council's Recognition Dinner Sunday, March 3.

One of Scouting's rarest and most prestigious honors in conservation, it is often referred to as "An Olympic Medal bestowed by the Earth." Its rarity stems from the rigor of its requirements -- multiple conservation achievements and the completion of at least three significant conservation service projects, each one at or above the level of an Eagle Scout project.

The award began in 1914 by Hornaday, director of the New York Zoological Park and founder of the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. He was an active and outspoken champion of natural resource conservation and a leader in saving the American bison from extinction.

The award, originally called the Wildlife Protection Medal, encourages Americans to work constructively for wildlife conservation and habitat protection. After his death in 1937, the award was renamed in Hornaday's honor and became a Boy Scouts of America award. Since then, only about 1,200 medals have been awarded. For more information, visit www.scouting.org/awards/hornaday-awards/.

The Crystal Lake resident first learned of the Hornaday Award not long after he had earned his Eagle Scout rank. He began working toward earning one as a member of Boy Scout Troop 132.

His first conservation project was an invasive species removal at Sterns Woods in Crystal Lake. His second and third projects were completed as a member of Venturing Crew 158 with the support of both Scouts and Venturers.

The second project was an educational bat habitat project at Veteran's Acres in Crystal Lake, and his third project was a trail rerouting and prairie restoration project at Hoffman Park in Cary.

Venturing is a coed Scout affiliated organization for young men and women ages 13 (if you've completed eighth grade) through 20. To learn more about Venturing Crew 158, visit www.facebook.com/TacoCrew158/.

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