National Geographic journalist and adventurer Boyd Matson has been presented with the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award by the National Eagle Scout Association of the Boy Scouts of America. Matson, who earned the Eagle Scout Award as a youth member in 1962, was given the honor at the BSA’s recent National Annual Meeting in Nashville, Tennessee and honored at a ceremony at the National Geographic headquarters in Washington, DC.
As NESA’s highest honor, the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award acknowledges Eagle Scouts who have received national-level recognition within their field and have a strong record of voluntary service to their community.
Previous recipients include President Gerald R. Ford, current BSA National President (and former CIA director and U.S. secretary of defense) Dr. Robert M. Gates, several governors and senators, military flag officers, university presidents, CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, and nationally known lawyers, educators, and doctors.
As a leading on-air journalist for National Geographic, Matson has traveled to all seven continents, rappelled into sinkholes, run multiday endurance races through the desert, and been bitten by more snakes than he cares to count. His award citation honors this “quest for information,” reading, in part, “His work has exposed millions to the wonders of exploration and the search for information—key elements in the foundation of Scouting.”
“During that brief period of my life—those four to five years in Midland, Texas—what happened in Scouting spoke to me,” Matson said. “It wasn’t just the words of the Scout Oath and Law, it was the experiences and what it taught me about life and being willing to explore and go on adventures.
“When people find out I work for National Geographic and they see some of the places I’ve gone and the things that I’ve done, the first question they ask is, ‘Are you crazy? What were you thinking?’ My answer is, ‘I blame it on the Boy Scouts. That’s where it all began.’”
Matson is the host of the weekly radio show, “National Geographic Weekend.” He also writes about his experiences in his monthly column, “Boyd Matson Unbound” for National Geographic Traveler magazine, produces videos for NationalGeographic.com, and serves as a spokesman for the National Geographic Society.
Before coming to National Geographic, Matson spent many years in network television news where he was co-anchor of “World News Now” (ABC); host of “The Real Story” (CNBC); correspondent for “Real Life With Jane Pauley” (NBC); co-anchor and correspondent for “USA Today On TV”; co-anchor of “Sunday Today” (NBC); and senior correspondent for “Today” (NBC).