Jefferson Award winner, May 2016: Isaiah Janisch - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Jefferson Award winner, May 2016: Isaiah Janisch

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EVANSVILLE (WKOW) -- 18-year-old Isaiah Janisch is making his Evansville community proud and his conservation work will help generations to come.

“Conservation is important to me, because really, without it, the whole ecosystem, everything would collapse,” he says.

Isaiah is a highly decorated Eagle Scout with 66 merit badges.

“I don't think anybody's ever seen a scout like him before,” says troop leader Keith Henning. “66 merit badges is a lot.”

14 of those are for conservation.

“They all have a different memory attached to them,” says Isaiah.

He took 27 News on a tour of the school forest, where he's spent more than 400 volunteer hours working to grow the prairies, protect the birds and sustain the trails.

“Just getting out there, doing something good. I don't even really see it as volunteering. I think of conservation as something that everybody should do in some way.”

That work earned him national recognition, with the highly coveted Hornaday Silver Award.

Henning says, “There were 53,180 Eagle Scouts last year. There were 6 Hornaday Silver Award winners. In the history of Boy Scouts, since 1910, there's been 120. You just met one of them.”

Isaiah is also passing on the knowledge he's gained to the younger generations.

“I work with the kindergarteners, Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts, try to teach them as much as I could and get them inspired.”

“He's always trying to help somebody figure out another way to excel and to go to a different level,” says Henning. “It's a leadership by example, but it's a leadership I would love to see breed and perpetuate as much as possible.”

Phil Kress served as an adviser to Isaiah for his projects. He says, “Nothing can proceed without some individual taking a big step forward and that's what Isaiah has done. He gained something for himself taking this other world in.”

Speaking of other worlds, Isaiah also shines on the speed skating track.

“I have the junior national record in the 50k marathon. That's 31 miles.”

It's an incredible work ethic that's made Isaiah a national skating champion and a champion of conservation.

“I'm always going to do some sort of conservation work or even just volunteer work.”

Isaiah will be heading to UW-Rock County in the fall for college.

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