Third Distinguished Conservation Service Award Given to Local Scout
Dilshan Rajan of Troop 3283 of Wayzata became the Council's third and latest recipient of the BSA's Distinguished Conservation Service Award after passing his Board of Review in May 2022. The BSA created the DCSA in November 2019 as a replacement for the William T. Hornaday conservation service awards.
In order to earn the DCSA, a Scout must research, plan, and lead two significant conservation projects, then conduct follow-up work to ensure that the projects achieved their intended goals. A DCSA project can take upwards of several months to over a year to complete. The Scout also must earn several conservation-related merit badges. Take note that Venturers and Sea Scouts have slightly different requirements to replace the required merit badges.
For full requirements, go to:
Dilshan's first project addressed hazardous waste disposal and management, specifically electronic waste. Usually, unwanted electronic devices are either given to recycling companies in other countries (many of whom don't dispose the devices in a safe or eco-friendly manner) or are thrown in the landfill like other trash. This can cause lead, cadmium, and other toxic metals and chemicals to leach into the environment, harming people and the environment for years or even decades.
Dilshan collected and refurbished used electronic devices from the community to prevent them from being thrown away when they still had years of use left. He gave them to underprivileged kids through PCs for People. His team refurbished over 100 devices and helped PCs for People refurbish another 30 devices they already had. Devices they couldn’t refurbish were given to PCs for People, which is R2 recycling certified: meaning they recycle every component, cable and plastic part that can't be reused in an environmentally responsible way. In addition to teaching the proper ways to recycle electronics, Dilshan wrote his Senior Paper for the Wayzata High School on electronic recycling, and raised this issue in class discussions to educate students. He has asked his school robotics team to continue the project.
Dilshan's second project addressed Resource Recovery. He collected unwanted bikes, refurbished them and donated them to Trailhead Cycling, which partners with Bikes4Kids to distribute bikes to underprivileged kids. Unwanted bikes are typically thrown in the garbage, sent for recycling, or simply abandoned. In fact, the first bike Dilshan worked on was abandoned in woods for several weeks. Others were found by friends, abandoned in neighborhoods because people didn’t need them anymore and didn’t take them to a recycling place. When bikes are dumped in the garbage they end up in the landfill. When abandoned, they are an eyesore or rust away. When bikes are recycled, the metal is typically melted down using a large amount of energy which can also emit toxic gasses into the environment. Also, non-metallic parts (seats, pedals, etc.) end up in the trash anyway.
Dilshan’s project avoided those negative outcomes since the bikes were refurbished and returned to their intended use. Dilshan’s project resulted in nearly 50 bikes being refurbished and given to underprivileged kids. Dilshan talked to his classmates about proper bike disposal. He and his family will continue the project.
Dilshan received the DCSA certificate and award knot in a private ceremony at the Council Office.
To be put in touch with a DCSA award advisor, contact Jake Erickson.