The BSA has maintained an active conservation awards program since 1938. The current group of awards seek to reward Scouts and Venturers who complete large, Eagle sized conservation projects and numerous Merit Badges. The BSA Distinguished Conservation Service (DCS) Awards are the highest conservation awards for Scouts and Venturers and the rarest awards in Scouting. This program replaces the Hornaday Program.


Scouts interested in earning a DCS Award may be currently working on conservation related Merit Badges, an applicable Eagle project, or have time left in Scouting and be looking for a challenging, rewarding, and meaningful conservation experience.


Scouts and Venturers earn the DCS Award by planning and leading two conservation projects and completing either seven Merit Badges or conservation- related Venturing requirements. One project may be combined with an Eagle project. There is also an adult award and a non-Scouting individual or organizational award.


A DCS Award project must be a significant and lasting effort in natural resource conservation or environmental improvement. Each project must be chosen from a list of different disciplines of conservation. Only one project may be completed on Scout property; other organizations are usually excited to help Scouts find projects.

Distinguished Service to Conservation


Before starting to work on a DCS Award, Scouts must contact the Council DCS Awards Committee Chair to obtain a Conservation Advisor. These individuals will help Scouts decide on appropriate projects and make sure that they are meeting the application requirements.


DCS Awards must be completed before Scouts turn eighteen or Venturers turn twenty-one. The award typically takes a year or more to complete. Adult awards require twenty years of service to conservation.

Additional Information:

Please contact Ross Arnold, BSA Distinguished Conservation Service Awards Committee Chair.  He may be reached by Email or phone: (323) 605-2740.

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