Gibbs Receives Highest Boy Scout Honor


Forest Service physical scientist Hilliard Gibbs. Photo by U.S. Forest Service.
Forest Service physical scientist Hilliard Gibbs. Photo by U.S. Forest Service.

Hilliard Gibbs, physical scientist with the U.S. Forest Service Southern Research Station Restoring Longleaf Pine Ecosystems unit, was recently awarded “The Silver Beaver Award,” the highest council-level service award of the Boy Scouts of America. The Silver Beaver Award is given to those who implement the Scouting program and perform community service through many years of dedication, hard work, and self-sacrifice. The Silver Beaver Award was awarded to Gibbs by the Chattahoochee Council of Columbus, GA.

Inspired by his father and grandfather, Gibbs developed a love for nature as a young boy. He grew up in Waynesville, NC, a city nestled within the Great Smoky Mountains and the Blue Ridge Parkway. He experienced the joy of fishing, hunting, and camping with his father and grandfather during the early years of his life. Gibbs’ father and grandfather were both avid outdoorsmen and environmentalists, men who believed in utilizing the multiple use opportunities offered by the national forests.

“I learned so much from these men about the importance of preserving our natural resources and how each of us individually has a responsibility to do our part as citizens,” said Gibbs. “I also developed a love for the environment and the outdoors that led to me joining the Boy Scouts at an early age.”

Gibbs has been an adult leader of the Boy Scouts for 35 years, serving as a Scoutmaster and Cub Master and is a member of the Boy Scout’s Saugahatchee District in Columbus, GA.

“Scouting has afforded me the opportunity to serve others by sharing the knowledge that I have gained by working with the Forest Service, enabling me to provide opportunities through scouting to those who live in underserved communities,” he said.

In addition to the Silver Beaver Award, Gibbs was selected as the Chattahoochee Council’s “Hall of Leadership recipient” in 2010 and was inducted into the Boy Scouts of America Hall of Leadership to represent 13 States in the Southern Region. He was also chosen as one of the four National Honorees of the Boy Scouts of America inducted into the National Hall of Leadership during the One Hundred Year Celebration.

Gibbs began his 44-year career with the Forest Service in 1969 with the Southeastern Forest Research Station at the Fire Laboratory in Macon, GA. As a physical scientist, Gibbs works on research projects and facilitates research on the germination and field survival of lowland and upland indicator species such as the white-topped pitcher plant, ramps, and blue and black cohosh.

For more information, email Hilliard Gibbs at

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