Lewis and Clark Level Award

Lewis and Clark Level Award Patch for Have you ever wondered how the Level Awards got their names? Each award is named after a person (or people) who have made a positive impact on our country.

William Clark, American Explorer

William Clark, frontier politician, served as co-leader with Meriwether Lewis, of the Lewis and Clark Expedition (1804-1806), the first overland exploration of the American West and Pacific Northwest. Clark was born in Carolina County, Virginia. In 1784 the Clark family moved to the Kentucky frontier, establishing a plantation called Mulberry Hill near present-day Louisville.

In June 1803, Lewis asked Clark to join him as co-leader on a government-sponsored expedition through the Louisiana Territory to the Pacific Ocean. As commanding officers on the expedition, Lewis and Clark informally divided leadership responsibilities. Clark was the expedition’s mapmaker. Years of frontier experience had taught him to understand and record intricate terrain - land, rivers, and mountains. Clark’s army experience also prepared him to be the expedition’s most able negotiator and diplomat, a role he played in many meetings with Native Americans.

The expedition to the Pacific made Clark both famous and influential. For the rest of his life he played a key role as a federal Native American agent and territorial politician. He worked to organize western defenses against British and Native American attacks, and earned the respect of many native people who knew him as “the red-head chief.”

After Lewis’ death in 1809, Clark assumed the responsibility for completing the report of the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

When Missouri became a state in 1821, Clark was defeated in his bid to become governor. At the time of his death in 1838, he had a national reputation as an authority on the West.

Meriwether Lewis, American Explorer

Meriwether Lewis served as co-leader with William Clark, of the Lewis and Clark Expedition (1804-1806), the first overland exploration of the American West and Pacific Northwest. Born in Albemarle County, outside Charlottesville, Virginia, Lewis grew up in Virginia and Georgia as part of the Southern planter aristocracy. During his education, Lewis showed special talent for natural history, and served as the naturalist for the Lewis and Clark Expedition, making detailed notes about plants and animal new to European and United States science. He also represented Jefferson’s aspirations for an expanding American empire in the West.

When the expedition returned to St. Louis in September 1806, Lewis and Clark became national heroes.  President Jefferson appointed Lewis governor of the Louisiana Territory. Meriwether Lewis died in October 1809.

We (Lewis and Clark) worked as a team to complete one of the greatest expeditions of all time. We hope that you will be courageous with an adventurous spirit and explore the world around you. Get your field journal ready and head out for a hike.

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