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Apply to be the 2016 NESA Eagle Scout Speleologist

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. In 2015, NESA and the BSA’s STEM Initiative selected Eagle Scouts to participate in field experiments in exotic places. This program represents a new addition to the existing programs and will be offered this year to 4 Eagles.

A speleologist is a person who explores, maps, and studies caves. Under the guidance of world-renowned speleologist and former Director of NESA Bill Steele together with his world class colleagues in the Cave Research Foundation, Eagles will explore, map, and collect data in Mammoth Cave National Park. The selected Eagles will fly to Nashville, Tennessee and spend the week of June 24 - July 3, based at the Hamilton Valley Research Center, owned and operated by the Cave Research Foundation (http://www.cave-research.org). The Eagle Scout Speleologists will be outfitted with cave exploration gear and accompany experienced speleologists deep into the interior of the 400-mile long Mammoth Cave system where they will venture miles beyond the tourist trails. They will meet and learn from caving experts and cave scientists, and assist in exploring, mapping, and data collecting in speleological disciplines such as cartography, biology, geology, paleontology, archaeology, hydrology, etc.

Mammoth Cave National Park preserves the cave system and a part of the Green River valley and hilly country of south central Kentucky. This is the world's longest known cave system with vast chambers and complex labyrinths that have provided its name - Mammoth. Native Americans of the Early Woodland period gathered minerals from Mammoth Cave between 2,000 and 4,000 years ago. Objects they left behind include slippers, cane torches, gourds, and mussel shells which remain perfectly preserved in the cave. Mammoth Cave is one of the oldest tourist attractions in North America where tours have been offered since 1816.

Mammoth Cave's formations include many types of calcite formations with spectacular stalactites and stalagmites and contain fauna not found in ordinary environments. Creatures that spend their entire lives in Mammoth Cave adapt to the dark world. Some types of cave fish, for example, do not grow unnecessary eyes to preserve precious energy in their nutrient-poor environment.

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 Speleologist, candidates must:

  • Be an Eagle Scout
  • Be 18 years of age by June 1, 2016
  • Must be in good physical condition
  • 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.
  • 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 Speleologist 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 10 day trip will be June 24 through July 3.