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Apply to be the 2016 NESA Eagle Scout Paleoanthropologist

The National Eagle Scout Association (NESA) has expanded its special projects to place Eagles on expeditions. These unique experiences provide an entry into the world of exploration. These unique experiences provide an entry into the world of exploration. In 2015, NESA and the BSA’s STEM Initiative selected Eagle Scouts to participate in field experiments in exotic places. This program was highly successful and will be offered again this year to 2 Eagles.

We are very pleased to offer an opportunity to join Distinguished Eagle Scout and world renowned paleoanthropologist Dr. Lee Berger in South Africa to participate in his tremendous recent findings of multiple early human remains. Dr Berger made paleoanthropological history in 2008, with his find of Australopithecus sediba at Malapa, a site about 40 km outside of Johannesburg. Then, in late 2013, his team found Rising Star – a cave site that has yielded a treasure trove of over 1700 fossils from at least a dozen individuals, of an entirely new species. The discovery is one of the most exciting finds in paleoanthropological history because of the number, quality, and completeness of the fossils. The development of this cave site is highly supported by National Geographic.

The Eagle Scout will fly to Johannesburg, South Africa, to rendezvous with Dr. Berger’s team headed by Dr. Marina Elliott in the world famous paleontological laboratories of the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. The Eagle will be able to have a companion accompany him, preferably a male adult family member though others (teacher, mentor) could be considered in special circumstances. There, the scout will learn state of the art technologies being applied to the study of ancient human fossils and gain hands-on experience working with some of the rarest and most important fossil remains on the planet. He will also have the opportunity to live and work in the field, discovering ancient archeological and paleontological remains, while working side by side with world renowned scientists and technicians. The Eagle will also experience the African bush and have opportunities to come close to Africa’s majestic wildlife. The Eagles selected will need to love the outdoors, be in good physical shape to climb in the caves, be outgoing and adventurous, and be able to adapt to new cultures and experiences..

This two week experience is a once in a lifetime opportunity for any scout who thinks or desires to pursue a career in paleontology or the natural sciences or who is fascinated by the continent of Africa.

Eagle Scouts who are qualified and would like to be considered for this wonderful opportunity must complete an online application found here, which includes a 250 word essay, no later than 11:59 PM Central Standard Time, March 31, 2016. Finalists will be announced and required to submit a 3 minute YouTube video within a week of announcement expressing reasons to support their selection.

To qualify as the 2016 Eagle Scout Paleoanthropologist, candidates must:

  • Be an Eagle Scout
  • Be 18 years of age by June 1, 2016
  • Major or intend to major in a biological science in college or graduate school
  • Be prepared to blog, speak, write, and be interviewed on behalf of Scouting to report on the trip, what it means to him personally, and how Scouting prepared him for this.
  • Either have a current passport or obtain one no later than June 1, 2016
  • Complete the online application by clicking here. This application includes an opportunity to complete an essay no more than 250 words on why you are the best person to go on the expedition. This must be submitted no later than 11:59 PM Central Standard Time, March 31, 2016. (Finalists will be notified and within a week of their notification will be asked to provide a 3 minute YouTube expressing reasons to support their selection.

The person selected to be the 2016 Eagle Scout Paleoanthropologist will be notified by May 1, 2016.

Costs for the selected candidate will be paid by NESA. The Eagle may be responsible for some expenses not to exceed $1000. Dates for this approximately 14 day trip will be from late June to mid August.

For additional information about the project, visit the Rising Star Expedition websites through the National Geographic site or other related topics.