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Last school year, fourth- and fifth-grade students at Black Mountain Elementary learned about weather while indoors using weather tools that were 15 years old.

This school year, students are learning about weather in creative and hands-on ways, thanks to the help of local Boy Scout Matthew Angel, who made improving the school's weather station as his Eagle Scout service project.  

A member of Boy Scout Troop 50, charted by Christ Community Church,  Angel recently earned Scouting's highest honor, the Eagle Scout rank. Scouting has been a way of life for Angel, starting in Cub Scouts as a first-grader and progressing into Boy Scouts. Leadership, citizenship, advancement and outdoor skills are the centerpieces of the Scouting program.


The Eagle service project marks the culmination of a lengthy list of rigorous requirements by the Boy Scouts of America. The path to the Eagle rank includes the completion of 21 merit badges, six ranks, the final service project, and lastly, the approval by Scouting leaders in the area at a board of review.

The service project must involve approval by the benefiting organization, the Scout's adult leadership committee, and the local Boy Scout council. The Scout plans the steps for the project, researches costs, conducts fundraising if needed and secures volunteer  help from Scouts and others at project workdays. Lastly the benefiting organization must approve the end product.

Angel said some of the project's challenges were getting approval from various departments within Buncombe County Schools, ensuring it would not  interfere with water and power lines, then digging the foundation.  Angel's mom, Melissa Angel, is a teacher at the school and knows first-hand how helpful the new weather station has been.

Staff have said the old weather unit was challenging for the students and that they hope the new station  will help them better understand the weather concepts, Melissa Angel said. 

Highlights of Matthew Angel's Scouting years have included camping, spending time in the woods with friends, backpacking  and learning outdoor skills like knot tying, he said. He noted the help he received from Doug Phillips, an Owen High School carpentry teacher.  The support from numerous volunteers helped make the project a reality, Matthew Angel said.

Data from the weather station can be viewed at weatherunderground.com (plug KNCBLACK34 in the search field).  Following high school graduation, Angel hopes pursue a degree in engineering.  He is the son of Greg and Melissa Angel of Swannanoa

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