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Apply to be the 2017 NESA Eagle Scout Speleologist

The National Eagle Scout Association (NESA) has a rich history of placing worthy Eagles on expeditions. These unique experiences provide an entry into the world of exploration. Through the BSA's STEM Initiative, NESA selects Eagle Scouts to participate in field experiments in exotic places. The Speleologist program will be continued this year and will be offered to 4 deserving Eagle Scouts.

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 approximately 10 days in the field, based at the Hamilton Valley Research Center, owned and operated by the Cave Research Foundation. 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, and hydrology.

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 15, 2017. 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 2017 Eagle Scout Speleologist, candidates must:

  • Be an Eagle Scout
  • Be 18 years of age by June 1, 2017
  • Must be in good physical condition
  • 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
  • Have medical insurance and complete a BSA Medical form

The person selected to be the 2017 Eagle Scout Speleologist will be notified by May 1, 2017.

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 10-day trip will be between July and late August and be decided by mutual availability.

Click here to apply.