NHS graduate wins prestigious scouting award
After a heavily involved four years, Newberg High School graduate Quentin Comus was recently awarded the William T. Hornaday Silver Medal – scouting's most prestigious environmental conservation award.
The Hornaday Award, handed out by the National Council of the Boy Scouts of America, has only been awarded 1,200 times since the organization's inception in 1915.
Comus earned the award through his work with the Chehalem Valley Watershed Project – a student-led environmental conservation group that does a variety of projects in Newberg and the surrounding area.
"It's a pretty rare award and it usually takes a few years to obtain," Comus said. "I'm the first one to earn it in the last several years and I did pretty much all of the projects through CVWP."
Four environmentally focused projects are required to earn the Hornaday Award. Comus's projects included restoration work in the community along with the removal of invasive species and helping host environmental education events.
"I set the goal for earning all of the environmental awards that the scouts offer, and that was the hardest one to obtain," Comus said. "It's similar to the Eagle Scout in its difficulty."
Comus is also an Eagle Scout, but he hasn't received that award officially or the Hornaday Award. The local scouts' council is trying to work out a time for Comus – now a freshman at Oregon State University in Bend – to receive both awards officially in a personal ceremony.
Comus said they're even working to try and get Gov. Kate Brown to present the award to Comus and speak about his achievements, but he's not sure that will materialize. For now, he's grateful to see his hard work pay off.
Environmentalism – and educating others about the world around them – is something that Comus is passionate about. He was inspired by adults like NHS biology teacher Peter Siderius and the young upstart made a significant impact on his community during his time in high school.
The involvement hasn't ended yet, either. Comus has occasionally returned to the community from college life in Bend to help out with various environmental endeavors.
He has remained a voice on behalf of climate action, helping organize a climate protest earlier this year where students planted trees and removed invasive species near the high school.
Comus's involvement stems from a lifelong passion for the outdoors.
"I've always been really interested in the outdoors, which is why I've enjoyed scouting as a whole," he said. "Over the past few years, taking courses at the high school and getting other experiences, I was really drawn to the field itself.
"With the climate protests and Greta Thunberg speaking out, there's a lot of momentum for our generation at this time to do something about climate change and the environment. I was driven to do my part and I was really fortunate to be able to work with fellow students and people in the community."
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