Ornithologist Requirements

Apply to be an Eagle Scout Ornithologist

The National Eagle Scout Association (NESA) has a rich history of placing worthy Eagles on expeditions. These unique experiences provide an entry into the world of exploration.

Opportunity Description

Through the BSA's STEM Initiative, the NESA Ornithology opportunity is a new expedition to work with the iconic Bald Eagle led by a major ornithological expert.

Dr. William Bowerman, Professor and Chair of the University of Maryland Department of Environmental Science and Technology, is an Eagle Scout and a raptor expert who works with the African vulture and bald eagles in the US. He is delighted to take Eagles to work with eagles in his projects in Michigan and Minnesota this summer.

They will fly to Lansing, MI and undergo training in bleeding and handling raptors at the Michigan State University Wildlife Ward, with Dr Jim Sikarskie, then drive to Upper Peninsula that afternoon. They will have field training for handling, bleeding, measuring eagles with one field crew to validate their training and ability to work in the field. Each Scout would be assigned to one of the field crews and visit 2-6 nests per day. They will then fly to Voyageurs National Park, MN, and work on up to 12 nests per day, from National Park Service Boats for 5 days.

It is likely that the Eagles will then go to the BSA Northern Tier High Adventure Base in Ely, MN, to discuss their experiences with scouts and the local council and then return home from Duluth, MN.


To qualify as the 2018 Eagle Scout Ornithologist, candidates must:
  • Be an Eagle Scout
  • Be 18 years of age and not older than 27 years of age by June 1
  • Major or intend to major in a biological science in college or graduate school
  • Be prepared to blog, speak, write, and be interviewed on behalf of Scouting to report on the trip, what it means personally, and how Scouting prepared you for the experience
  • Have medical insurance, complete a BSA Medical form and purchase medical evacuation coverage (suggested policies will be provided)

How to Apply

Eagle Scouts who are qualified and would like to be considered for this wonderful opportunity must complete an online application found here, which includes a 250-word essay. Finalists will be announced and required to submit a 3 minute YouTube video expressing reasons to support their selection.

Applications must be submitted, no later than Midnight Central Standard Time, January 22. The persons selected to be the Eagle Scout Biologist will be notified by March 15.

Important Notes

The Eagle will be responsible for $600 (not including medical evacuation coverage and flights for Eagle Scouts who live outside the United States) to defray some costs of the experience payable to the National Eagle Scout Association by May 31.

Logistics and payment for airfare, lodging, food (in some cases the Eagle will need to purchase on-site and be reimbursed), tuition, etc. will be coordinated by the National Eagle Scout Association. 

Dates for this approximately 17-day trip will be June 3 to approximately June 20.

Click here to apply.