Claremont, Calif. (March 7, 2014) — Pitzer College student Bennett Sorensen ’17 received the William T. Hornaday Silver Medal for Conservation from the Boy Scouts of America. The Hornaday Medal is the highest honor for conservation awarded to a Boy Scout.
Sorensen is a first-year student and an Eagle Scout from Lake Oswego, Ore. He earned the Hornaday medal after undertaking five conservation projects and several conservation merit badges over seven years. Sorensen built and installed bat houses on Mt. Wilson above Pasadena, Calif. to restore habitat for California Myotis (mouse-eared) bats. He removed an invasive plant, Sticky Eupatorium, from Monrovia Park in Monrovia, Calif. and created an education program to raise awareness about the impact of invasive species on native ecology.
At Champoeg State Park outside Portland, Ore., Sorensen restored native plants to Mission Creek and removed an old barbed wire fence to reunite sections of prairie for restoration. He also helped orchestrate recycling electronics and hazardous materials in his community, collecting used paints, electronics and batteries.
Sorensen plans to major in molecular biology and minor in politics. At Pitzer, he works as a student assistant to the Dean of Faculty and is the president of Pitzer, Atherton and Sanborn Hall Council. He also is a member of Without a Box, the 5C improv group, and writes Pitzer’s Student Senate Brief in The Student Life paper.
The William T. Hornaday Awards program recognizes those who have made significant contributions to conservation. Originally called the Wildlife Protection Medal, the award was created in 1914 by William T. Hornaday, the director of the New York Zoological Park and founder of the National Zoo in Washington DC. After Hornaday’s death in 1937, the award was renamed in his honor and became a recognition the Boy Scouts of America refers to as “an Olympic medal bestowed by the Earth.”