Originally published in the Gwinnett Daily Post – September 29, 2018
Snellville resident Bobby Nice has spent the last 10 years as a Boy Scout in Troop 548 in Snellville learning values the organization teaches as well as acquiring more than 50 different merit badges.
His latest badge, The William T. Hornaday Award, however has a special place in his heart.
The William T. Hornaday Award Badge is named after 19th century conservationist William Temple Hornaday, who is credited for saving American bison from extinction.
The Hornaday award started in 1914 and was adopted as a Boy Scout award following his death in 1937. According to the Boy Scout website only 1,100 medals have been given out in the past 80 years. Nice is the only individual to receive the award in his troop.
“These awards represent a substantial commitment of time and energy by individuals who have learned the meaning of a conservation/environmental ethic,” the website said. “The fundamental purpose of the Hornaday Awards program is to encourage learning by the participants and to increase public awareness about natural resource conservation.”
For the past three years Nice has spent Friday’s driving up with his parents and fellow scouts in his troop to Dunwoody from his home in Snellville to clean up the Dunwoody Nature Center.
Nice, a 15-year-old homeschool student, spent more than 325 hours building bird houses and feeders, removing invasive plants from the area and cultivating a burgeoning passion— conservation.
“I’ve always had a really deep connection to nature,” Nice said. “I really started learning about this through a merit badge clinic, which was conservation and nature oriented.”
Nice said he spent an average of five to six hours working at the nature center because of his flexible schedule as an honor student at Georgia Cyber Academy.
“I don’t really have classes that day so it worked out well,” Nice said. “We basically did anything that needed to be done there at the center.”
The main focus of his project was removing invasive species such as Chinese wisteria, Chinese privet and English ivy and replacing it with plants such as ferns.
“Doing the project was fun and I got to learn and grow as a person,” Nice said. “I was able to see how hard this work was. and have become more determined to play a part in the world and society.”
Nice said he plans on incorporating conservation into his Eagle project to become an Eagle Scout, the highest honor achievable by a Boy Scout.
“I’m working at the AWARE Center in Lithonia and focused on building a fawn enclosure for injured and orphaned fawns,” Nice said. “Beyond that I want to have a career that focuses on supporting nature and wildlife.”
To learn more about Georgia Cyber Academy, visit https://gca.k12.com/