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WVU providing variety of support for Scout Jamboree

WVU Today

When some 40,000 Boy Scouts arrive in West Virginia for the 2017 National Scout Jamboree, they’ll find more than pup tents and ropes courses and hiking and rafting.

Courtesy of West Virginia University, they’ll also find water researchers and automobile engineers and forensic challenges — all the while being looked after by seven WVU nursing school students, who will work with medical personnel to provide basic first aid and other health care services to campers. In fact, more than 60 personnel and medical staff/students will work at the Jamboree, as well as WVU admissions recruiters.

In other words, Bechtel Summit Reserve near Mount Hope will have a definite Mountaineer presence.

“West Virginia University is extremely fortunate to work closely with the Boy Scouts of America on the Jamboree, and the Flying WV will be highly visible to Scouts from all over the country,” said President Gordon Gee, himself an Eagle Scout and member of the Scouts executive board.

Gee will give the keynote address at the Jamboree Friday.

“Being a Boy Scout helped prepare me for the success I have had over the years. I look forward to visiting the Jamboree, meeting fellow Scouts and sharing my story with them,” Gee said.

There’s more than pride under WVU’s tent at the Jamboree.

Over the past year, a team of researchers from WVU’s Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design and the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences have worked closely with West Virginia Water Research Institute staff and Boy Scouts of America to install research equipment to study the climate and ecological makeup of the reserve. The research forms the basis of a unique interactive curriculum that engages the Scouts through E-STEM activities.

“The activities are based outdoors and are fun, interactive and will challenge the scouts to apply themselves,” said Andrew Stacy, West Virginia Outdoor Learning Lab project manager. Science Behind the Sport will provide educational materials and opportunities on biking, zip lining and climbing.

To earn patches Scouts must pick up an Outdoor Learning Lab activity book and complete a variety of activities over the course of the Jamboree. They will use observational skills, critical thinking and modern technology to take measurements, enter data and plot simple graphs to see the results.

“Today’s Scouts are computer-savvy and our program will integrate their existing skills with their interest in understanding natural processes. This, in turn, will be a gateway to pursuing higher education in the E-STEM fields and, perhaps careers,” said Paul Ziemkiewicz, director of the West Virginia Water Research Institute.

The University’s forensic science program was a cornerstone of the STEM Quest venue at the 2013 Jamboree and will be again this year.

“Scouts will be given the opportunity to solve an interactive murder mystery using skills and knowledge learned at the WVU forensic science exhibit,” said Gerald Lang, Forensic and Investigative Science department. “Some 25 WVU forensic science students are on-hand to help the Scouts learn basic forensic science principles.”

Drew Nix, of Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources, will also attend the Jamboree with the EcoCAR3, a hybrid-electric Chevrolet Camaro designed by more than 60 WVU students in all fields of engineering, communications, business and journalism.

“Four students on staff will give tours of the car, under the hood and in the trunk where the batteries are,” Nix said. “We’ll have displays about the vehicle architecture and handouts for the scouts.”

The car, which will be showcased at the West Virginia tent, features a large electric motor that allows for easier maintenance and a higher speed threshold.

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