Eagle Scout brings new technology to wildlife sanctuary walks | News | The Press and Standard
by The Press and Standard | March 2, 2018 5:00 am
Last Updated: February 28, 2018 at 3:38 pm
The Walterboro Wildlife Sanctuary was created to preserve the Great Swamp, a wetlands unchanged by time. Jacob Huggins’ goal was to use new technology to explain what visitors to the sanctuary were encountering.
It took time and tenacity to bring his goal to fruition.
The morning of Feb. 26, that vision was celebrated during a new project dedication ceremony held by the city and Friends of the Great Swamp Sanctuary at the Detreville Street entrance of the sanctuary.
It began when Jacob needed a community project to meet the requirement of advancing to Eagle Scout as member of Troop 646. So early in 2015, he brought his idea to install a series of QR Codes in the sanctuary to the Friends of the Great Swamp Sanctuary.
In layman’s terms, Jacob’s QR Code (short for Quick Response Code) will allow sanctuary visitors to access information about the swamp from the QR Code stations throughout the sanctuary with their smart phones.
A swipe of their electronic devices across the code will call up videos of the area that provide information on the plants, animals and habitat of the swamp.
In the early stages of his project, Huggins got in touch with Dr. Eran S. Kilpatrick, who has served as a biology professor at USC Salkehatchie for the past 12 years.
In an email, Huggins asked Kilpatrick if he would be interested in serving as a consultant on the project. “Someone to identify flora and fauna, to work through some of these natural areas,” Kilpatrick said.
Kilpatrick took an initial tour of the Walterboro Wildlife Sanctuary with Jacob and his father (and scout master) Randy Huggins. “Several field seasons later, we had the finished product,” he said.
“Jacob was able to take all the video, edit it and put together the meaningful parts with the photos he had taken, label the photos and provide an informative video,” Kilpatrick explained. “It is a valuable project for the sanctuary.”
There were a number of hurdles Jacob had to overcome.
Going through the sanctuary, dividing it up into different zones and then producing videos that presented the information in an entertaining way was a big process, Jacob said.
“The hardest challenge was editing the videos and getting the final version that we wanted to put in the sanctuary,” Jacob said.
The next hurdle concerned making the videos available in the sanctuary. He and those who joined his effort had to sort through different ideas for the posts that hold the QR Codes.
Then there was question of “how to print the QR Codes to keep them environmentally safe and able to withstand the weather.”
Jacob had some experience with video, “but I had never done anything on this scale before.”
“I enjoyed it. It took a lot of work, but I am really glad that I got it done.
Jacob’s effort to reach his goal, Kilpatrick said, “exemplifies what it means to be a Eagle Scout.”