Keep America Beautiful Inc. Hometown U.S.A. Award
The Hometown U.S.A. Award is a joint program between Keep America
Beautiful Inc. (KAB) and the Boy Scouts of America. It is designed to
give recognition to the outstanding efforts of Scouts in their
communities in regard to citizenship and environmental improvement.
KAB was founded in 1953 as a private organization with the purpose
of building and sustaining a national cleanliness ethic. The Boy Scouts
of America has been affiliated with KAB for more than thirty years as a
member of KAB's national advisory council, a program advisory body
composed of more than eighty public service organizations and federal
Keep America Beautiful Day, which began in 1971 as "Scouting Keep
America Beautiful Day," was originally cosponsored by KAB and Boy
Scouts of America as a massive national cleanup and recycling program.
Millions of Scouts still turn out annually to participate in similar
activities during what is now called Keep America Beautiful Week.
- To educate Boy Scouts about citizenship in relation to
conservation and to involve them in community activities relating to
- To offer a mechanism by which Scouts
can develop positive attitudes toward their environment and community
while being exposed to interesting career opportunities
- To provide the opportunity to honor Boy Scouts for their significant contributions toward keeping America beautiful
- Merit badges. Earn three merit badges from the
following list of twelve: Citizenship in the Community, Communications,
Environmental Science, Fish and Wildlife Management, Forestry,
Gardening, Geology, Landscape Architecture, Nature, Plant Science,
Public Speaking, Soil and Water Conservation.
- Community service project.
In addition to earning the merit badges, a Boy Scout is required to
perform a community service project. The project should involve a
minimum of eight hours of time, two of which must involve management
planning, with the other six consisting of carrying out the project. It
should help keep America beautiful and benefit the community either
physically or financially. One way to do this is to plan the community
service project as part of Keep America Beautiful Week or Public Lands
List of Ideas for Community Service Projects
- Develop and help maintain a community garden.
- Build a nature trail for use as an outdoor classroom or for community enjoyment.
- Develop a recycling project that involves your whole troop (i.e., newspaper and/or bottle collection).
a survey of local storefronts. Determine areas where litter has
accumulated. Work with storeowners to help improve conditions.
and make a presentation to elementary students about the importance of
conserving natural resources. Take students on a nature walk, pointing
out natural resources.
- Conduct soil and water conservation activities on a heavily used trail to prevent erosion. Record your activities.
- Construct water facilities and plant vegetation that will provide food and shelter for wildlife in appropriate places.
a park, block, vacant lot, etc. Erect signs urging others not to litter
or vandalize. Protect a flower bed or plant species with fencing.
Remove litter and debris. Build picnic tables or fix up old ones, paint
- Research which plant species are native to
your area, and plant and maintain a community wildflower garden.
Include descriptive and educational signs for the public.
an anti-litter poster competition among junior and senior high
schoolers. Arrange for businesses to donate awards for the winners and
recruit community judges. Include media coverage. Get local businesses
and schools to display the posters.
- Become involved in a
local environmental/recycling issue. Attend public meetings, talk to
public officials, and make a report to your troop about what you have
learned. Decide how you want to become involved in resolving the issue
and spend your project time educating your fellow citizens as to your
viewpoint and assisting your "side" in its campaign.
- Establish and maintain a bird sanctuary.
out which birds, animals, and fish are native to your area. Write an
article on the importance of maintaining proper balance between man and
nature. Take steps to maintain habitat areas for this wildlife.
KAB Week developed from eleven consecutive years' observances of KAB
Day. It originated in 1971 as "Scouting Keep America Beautiful Day."
KAB Day was eventually extended to a weeklong observance (usually the
fourth week of April). Millions of citizens across the nation
participate each year.
Public Lands Day
Public Lands Day involves citizen volunteers in cleaning and
maintaining nearby public lands. This event falls annually on the
Saturday following Labor Day. The purpose of Public Lands Day is to
instill a sense of pride and ownership among citizens through hands-on
participation in continuing education and improvement projects on
Getting the Patch
Scouts must complete the Hometown U.S.A. Award application form and
present it to their Scoutmaster or troop advancement chairman.
In order to qualify for the award, Scouts must have successfully
completed the requirements as outlined. The troop advancement chairman
will know which merit badges each Scout needs in order to qualify.
It is suggested that the community service project be under the
overall direction of a natural resources professional or other
qualified adult supervisor. After completing the project, the adult
supervisor should sign a statement that the project has been completed
and meets the requirements of the project sponsor.
Resources for Hometown U.S.A. Award
The following is a list of organizations and the free brochures that
may be obtained to assist Boy Scouts in earning the required merit
badges included in the Hometown U.S.A. Award.
American Society of Landscape Architects
Write: American Society of Landscape Architects
636 Eye Street, NW
Washington, DC 20001-3736
Web address: http://www.asla.org
Keep America Beautiful Inc.
- Community Cleanup
- Tips for Preventing Litter in Your Community
- Take Care of America
- Wise Waste Handling Tips
- Fact sheets on recycling, municipal solid waste
Write: Keep America Beautiful Inc.
1010 Washington Boulevard
Stamford, Connecticut, USA 06901
Web address: http://www.kab.org
National Gardening Association
- Digging Deeper: Integrating Youth Gardens Into Schools and Communities
- Sowing the Seeds of Success
National Gardening Association (NGA) also hosts a grant program which
presents more than 300 grants to qualified youth gardening projects.
Grant packages include approximately $750 worth of tools, seeds, NGA
manuals and other gardening equipment and supplies. Materials about
this program include National Gardening Grant Applications. The
application deadline is November 1.
Write: National Gardening Association
180 Flynn Avenue
Burlington, VT 05401
Phone: 800-LETSGRO (538-7476)
Web address: http://www.garden.org
U.S. Department of Agriculture—Natural Resources Conservation Servicen
- Backyard Conservation
- Going Wild With Soil and Water Conservation
- Conservation and the Water Cycle
- Soil Erosion by Wind
- Soil Erosion by Water
- What Is a Watershed?
Write: Conservation Communications
Natural Resources Conservation Service
U.S. Department of Agriculture
P.O. Box 2890
Washington, DC 20013
Web address: http://www.nrcs.usda.gov
U.S. Department of the Interior—Fish and Wildlife Service
- For the Birds
- Why Save Endangered Species?
- National Wildlife Refuges: A Visitor's Guide
Write: U.S. Department of the Interior
Fish and Wildlife Service
1849 C Street, NW
Washington, DC 20240
Web address: http://www.fws.gov
Within their local communities, Boy Scouts may contact the following:
- Consultants—naturalists, park rangers, refuge
managers, biologists, foresters, 4-H extension agents, science
teachers, librarians, policemen, KAB coordinators
and recreation department, wildlife refuges, sanitation department,
recycling center, nature or science center, state fish hatchery, soil
and water conservation or natural resources district