Jack Marlow of Boy Scout Troop 47, in Fairhope, has earned the William T. Hornaday award, given to scouts who make significant contributions to conservation.
Marlow, a freshman at Fairhope High School, spent three days, and 15 hours working side by side with the staff at Graham Creek Nature Preserve in Foley to create a nature trail within the park’s 487 acres. Marlow helped build and paint trail signs, clear away brush and invasive species and repair bridges.
Jacqueline McGonical, environmental assistant for the City of Foley, wrote of Marlow’s work,
“Our nature trails allow people to not only view habitats like pine savannas and pitcher plant bogs, mixed bottomland forests and old succession fields, but to actually observe the interactions that are occurring between all of the plant and animal species within Graham Creek Nature Preserve. By doing so, trail users inevitably become students of ecology and perhaps eventual stewards of the environment.
“It is this nature trail system at Graham Creek Nature Preserve that Mr. Marlow has helped us provide to our community and in turn also provides opportunities to people to observe and appreciate the natural resources within Foley’s “backyard” that is too often overlooked.”
The award is described by the Boy Scouts of America as “an Olympic medal bestowed by the Earth.” It was created 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 recognize those that have made significant contributions to conservation.
Hornaday was an active and outspoken champion of natural resource conservation and a leader in saving the American bison from extinction. He named the award the Wildlife Protection Medal. Its purpose was to challenge Americans to work constructively for wildlife conservation and habitat protection. After his death in 1937, the award was renamed in Dr. Hornaday’s honor and became a Boy Scouts of America award.
Approximately 1,100 medals have been awarded over the past 80 years. Marlow is only the second scout in 45 years from Troop 47 to earn the award.
Marlow is currently a Life Scout. He plans to begin working on his Eagle Scout Project this summer. He attended the BSA National Jamboree in 2017 and has completed the Leave No Trace trainer program, through BSA and the Center for Outdoor Ethics. He has also served as a counselor at the local BSA summer camp at Maubila Scout Reservation in Grove Hill, Al. This summer he will attend the BSA Florida National High Adventure Sea Base in Key West.