GLEN JEAN, W.Va. — Leaders of the Boy Scouts of America say they’re moving from the concept of ‘leave no trace’ to leaving the world a better place.

Sustainability has been a major focus during the ongoing National Boy Scout Jamboree at the Summit Bechtel Reserve in Fayette County.

Frank McAllister, a former chairman for Stillwater Mining out of Montana, said living green is personal.

“You have to put it in to recycle, you have to take it back out as product.  People don’t understand that.  They don’t personalize it.  They don’t understand that recycling is putting it in and taking it back,” he said.

McAllister, who joined the Boy Scouts when he was five, helped create the Sustainability Treehouse that stands 126 feet tall with 4,000 square feet of exhibit space in the Summit Center.  Current Scouts and visitors have been stopping by the site throughout the Jamboree.

“It’s hands on, visual,” McAllister said of the available exhibits.

The treehouse is designed to generate as much energy at it uses through solar panels, wind turbines and, eventually, geothermal energy.

The building, which was constructed using reclaimed materials from the property and elsewhere, also captures and treats rainwater and wastewater for an overall “net zero” facility.  Composting toilets are available at its entrance.

“All this wood right here and the bench wood was leftover wood from the site,” said Boy Scout Andrew Richards from San Marcus, Texas when showing MetroNews one part of the treehouse recently.

Throughout the Summit, a number of sustainability steps have been taken:

– The buildings at the Summit are designed to use 30 percent less energy than conventional structures.  Under Goodrich Lake, there are heat exchangers that help manage the temperatures of buildings and water.

– The Summit uses a network of 60 acres of swales and rain garden to treat runoff by filtering it through plants.  Gray water systems, low flow fixtures and composting toilets are also in place to cut water usage by an estimated two-thirds.

– Timber was salvaged for reuse in structures, while other materials were sourced from within 500 miles of the project to reduce emissions.  Materials from the signs being used for the Jamboree will be salvaged and repurposed for backpacks and wallets.

– Much of the wood and stone at the Summit came from site.

– Ten percent, or 1,060 acres, of the Summit’s land has been dedicated as a nature preserve.  More than 60,000 Appalachian hardwood trees and established native grasses have also been planted on campsites to restore the wildlife habitat.

– Scouts and Venturers are carrying reusable water bottles and filling up at water stations.

– Walking is the primary mode of transportation at the Summit.

A new Sustainability merit badge has been introduced during this year’s National Jamboree.  With it, Scouts are learning about pollution, resource management, green chemistry and waste reduction practices.

Starting in January, the badge will join the list of Eagle-required merit badges as an alternative to Environmental Science.

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  • BH

    This is an extremely practical educational project. I'm very impressed by the variety and quality of the experiences and the instruction that is being offered to the scouts.