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2010 NYSC Outdoor Program

The National Youth Science Camp is held in the eastern mountains of West Virginia in the heart of the Monongahela National Forest. The surrounding areas provide the perfect living laboratory and physical challenges for the NYSC delegates. Seneca Rocks, one of the largest rock faces in the eastern United States, is about 32 miles north of Camp. The New River, one of the oldest in the world and part of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers system, is only three hours travel to the south. Also nearby are numerous non-commercialized caves, backpacking trails, and beautiful mountain streams.


Hiking trips take advantage of numerous trails located in the Monongahela National Forest. These trips cover a variety of terrain and enable students to observe wildlife ranging from deer to rattlesnakes. The abundant local plant life includes old growth spruce forests, rhododendron, mountain laurel, and Indian pipe.

Specific hiking trips offered this year were:

Rock Climbing

The rock climbing program, led by Mike, Luke and Josh, makes use of the Nelson Rocks Preserve, only 18 miles from Camp and known throughout the Northeast for its spectacular views. This location features many climbing routes of varying difficulties and facilitates instruction in climbing and rappelling techniques.


This trip involves whitewater kayaking on the New River and is led by members of the West Virginia Whitewater Association.

Mountain Biking

In the biking experience, the delegates head off with Dan and Tim (or Mason) to cycle over a variety of terrain in the Middle Mountain Area of the Monongahela National Forest. The routes cover old railroad beds, mountain roads and grassy trails, and downhill, single-track trails full of switchbacks. On this trip, delegates also have the opportunity to attempt the bridge challenge, where the record still remains at nine crossings.

Cranberry Glades

This overnighter spent several hours hiking ~4 miles while exploring Cranberry Glades, an ecosystem unique to highland Appalachia that features peat bogs, cranberries, and glades. The exploration will be “off-boardwalk,” which is an opportunity granted only by special permission of the Forest Service. The group then hikes 5 mostly flat miles along the Cranberry River in order to make camp and then 6-7 miles back out the next day.

Canaan Valley EcoAdventure

Twenty-four hours of science, research, adventure and fun. Canaan Valley Institute scientists lead delegates through the woods, around wetlands, into streams, and across mountain as they shared information and experiences about their environmental science and research program. Delegates will partook in a wide variety of activities including learning about forest ecology, atmospheric monitoring and map and compass work.

National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO)

Some students also have the opportunity to spend the night at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Green Bank, West Virginia, where they learn how to operate a 40-foot radio telescope. They use the telescope to track objects in space and analyze data during the late evening and early morning to complete a research assignment.

WVU Music

The WVU Music overnighter traveled to Morgantown, West Virginia to attend a discussion, practice and recital and performance of steel drums. Along with Ashley and Keith Moon the overnighter attendees went from novice to pro in a few short hours.

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