GLEN JEAN, W.Va. -- In a treehouse 216 feet above the ground, Boy Scouts at the National Scout Jamboree are learning how to be better stewards of the Earth. The goal is simple: Do more with less.
From composting toilets that will provide fertilizer for the property to solar panels and wind turbines that provide energy while reducing costs, Scouts are learning how to reduce, reuse and recycle.
"What we are trying to do is help the boys and young ladies understand just exactly what it takes for the purpose of sustainability," said Frank McAllister from Salt Lake City, Utah, who serves as a tree guide and played an instrumental role in the sustainable treehouse's development.
McAllister said he sees the treehouse as hands-on learning that engages the youth with three natural resources of the world -- sunlight, wind and water. He even donated a 2,000-year-old piece of copper to call attention to the need for sustainability.
When the copper was new, there were just 200 million people on Earth, McAllister said. Now, there are 7 billion and counting. He hopes this will catch visitors' attention.
"Nature can get along just fine without us. We can't get along at all without nature," he said. "We want to minimize that material we have to take out of the Earth."
George Gundelach and Kevin O'Donnell, Scouts from Indiana, weren't sure what to expect as they traveled through the three learning levels of the treehouse.
"It runs on a lot of reusable resources," O'Donnell said. "More than I thought it would."
Warren Nooger, a sophomore at Virginia Tech and a volunteer at the Boy Scout Jamboree, said he always had sustainability awareness, from growing up in the Boy Scouts, but since working at the sustainability treehouse, he's learned more.
Upon entering the treehouse's second level, where Nooger is stationed, visitors see a tree in the middle of the exhibit with various types of bark and information branching out from it.