RCBI awards drone technology to 20 West Virginia schools

In phase two of its first-of-its-kind program, the Robert C. Byrd Institute (RCBI) at Marshall University will award drone kits and related technology to 20 schools across West Virginia to spur innovation among agricultural educators and students.

RCBI also will supply teachers with hands-on training in the use the technology and related software, and offer additional online resources to assist educators in adapting the technology for agricultural settings and developing related curriculum.

“Agricultural was one of the first sectors to embrace drone technology and recognize its potential applications,” said Evan Nelson, director of Agricultural Innovations at RCBI. “Drones increasingly are used to monitor and spray crops, track livestock, inspect fence lines and conduct aerial surveys. By equipping classrooms with this innovative technology and the know-how to use it, we believe agriculture students across the state will apply their new-found knowledge to solve real-world problems and create new and better ways to apply this technology.”

Middle, high school and college recipients of the drone kits and their counties are Barboursville Middle and Cabell Midland High, Cabell; Buckhannon-Upshur High, Upshur; East Hardy High, Moorefield Middle and Moorefield High, Hardy; Gilmore County High, Gilmore; Hampshire High, Hampshire; Hannan High and Wahama Junior/Senior High, Mason; Lincoln County High, Lincoln; Mineral County Technical Center, Mineral; Petersburg High; Grant; Philip Barbour High, Barbour; Ripley High, Jackson; Tygarts Valley Middle School, Randolph; Spring Valley High School, Wayne; Tucker County High, Tucker; West Virginia University at Parkersburg, Wood.

RCBI collaborated with the West Virginia Department of Education to identify schools most likely to benefit from the new technology and training.

In phase one of the pilot project, RCBI delivered technology kits that included 3D printers and related training to more than 30 agriculture teachers across the Mountain State. This RCBI Innovation in Ag initiative is made possible through the support of the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation.

“RCBI will continue to forge partnerships with Benedum, the ARC (Appalachian Regional Commission), the West Virginia Departments of Education and Agriculture, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and others to boost agricultural innovation and production in West Virginia,” said Charlotte Weber, RCBI director & CEO. “We’re committed to helping West Virginians leverage innovation to produce more of the food we consume right here at home.”

For more information on RCBI’s Agricultural Innovations, contact Nelson at 304.781.1657 or .

March 30, 2022

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