From the rooftop to underground: Report to the Nation delegates learn about mining

Report to the Nation delegates snapped some selfies from the roof terrace at 101 Constitution, capturing a spectacular view of the U.S. Capitol. They soon learned they have the mining industry to thank for those photos — and for practically everything they use.

More than 70 mined elements make up the components in smartphones. James Scribner, regulatory affairs specialist at the National Mining Association, pointed out other household items made because of mining.

The association occupies the fifth floor at 101 Constitution and welcomed the delegation to take portraits from the terrace. You can see them here, along with more photos from this year’s Report to the Nation trip.

The Report to the Nation is the annual recap of the great things that happened in Scouting last year; 13 Scouts were selected from around the country to present the report to Congress and other high-profile dignitaries around Washington, D.C. They also get to tour places, including the National Mining Association’s headquarters.

Delegates questioned Scribner what major mining activity is done in their home state — coal in Mississippi, gold in California — and what types of higher education leads to careers in the mining industry. The association represents about 300 companies that specialize in coal, uranium, gypsum and more.

“Mining in America is going to be very strong in the mineral area,” Scribner says. “Smartphones use a tremendous amount of rare earth minerals. Mining will always be part of our society.”
Former mining sites are also a part of Scouting. The Summit Bechtel Reserve in West Virginia is on reclaimed property that used to be extensively mined for coal.

Visiting Goddard

Later in the day, the Scouts also learned about the latest developments in space at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland. The 10,000 employees and contractors at the research laboratory work on weather and ground-mapping satellites, but one of their big projects should launch next year.

The James Webb Space Telescope will be more powerful than the Hubble telescope, capable of capturing longer light wavelengths in hopes to see inside dust clouds where stars are born.

The Scouts also got to check out the high-tech equipment used at the flight center, led by NASA optical physicist and Assistant Scoutmaster Ray Ohl.

About Michael Freeman 201 Articles
Michael Freeman, an Eagle Scout, is associate editor of Boys’ Life, Scouting and Eagles’ Call magazines.