VICKSBURG, Miss. (June 20, 2018)--More than 100 scouts from the Andrew Jackson Council of the Boy Scouts of America spent two nights on the campus of the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center in Vicksburg, Mississippi, for their annual science, technology, engineering and math campout.
The event was coordinated by Geotechnical and Structures Laboratory’s Dr. Charles (Chuck) Weiss. ERDC Commander Col. Bryan Green kicked-off the event with a warm ERDC welcome and highlights of ERDC’s research, past and present, including research conducted years ago at the Vicksburg campus on lunar rover wheels and other military vehicles.
The STEM event showcased ongoing research with classroom and hands-on demonstrations at the four laboratories located in Vicksburg, as well as fabrication support from the Directorate of Public Works.
GSL researchers presented information on the devastating effects of water on earthen hydraulic structures when they fail, as well as ongoing erosion control research on levees. The scouts also received a hands-on demonstration on the use of rapid-setting concrete as a way to repair damaged pavement, and their environment-controlled, heavy vehicle simulator for accelerated, full-scale pavement testing.
The Information Technology Laboratory’s Data Analysis and Assessment Center demonstrated Augmented Virtual Reality programmed using the Unity video gaming engine on Apple iPADs. Team members from the DAAC also demonstrated Windows Mixed Reality with the Microsoft HoloLens system.
The scouts were introduced to ERDC’s FIRST Robotics Competition Team 456, Siege Robotics. The award-winning team demonstrated four robots they engineered, built and have showcased in local, regional and national competitions.
At the Coastal and Hydraulics Laboratory, the scouts received information on the Corps’ districts and divisions as well as information on coastal research. They were escorted through a working hydraulic model of the John Day Lock and Dam that is being operated for the Portland District to conduct experiments. The scouts concluded their CHL experience by climbing aboard one of the data collection research vessels.
Fabricating testing items and materials in-house for all of ERDC’s laboratories was the topic demonstrated by DPW. The scouts saw all of the high-tech equipment and computers ERDC’s craftsmen use to support the labs with various testing materials.
Other campout highlights included a presentation of the Environmental Laboratory’s unmanned aerial vehicles used in environmental research on vegetation and soils, a hands-on demonstration and discussion of non-venomous and venomous snakes in the local area, freshwater mussels and prepared museum-quality fish specimens.
At the conclusion of the two-day STEM campout, all of the scouts were give a special seven inch round back patch and were able to earn one merit badge in the areas of oceanography, composite materials, nature, plumbing or digital technology.