The National Eagle Scout Association chose the 16-year-old Augusta Preparatory Day School sophomore to represent the Boy Scouts of America in a week-long expedition aboard Dr. Robert Ballard’s ship, the Exploration Vessel Nautilus.
The expedition includes 10 students and four educators who will explore the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea as part of JASON Learning, an exploration-based program that gives students hands-on experience in real life science.
It was founded by Ballard, the researcher who discovered the Titanic wreckage, to promote interest in science, technology, engineering and math careers. The participants will communicate through live, interactive webcasts. The first, which includes Wren, will be at 5 p.m. Friday. Students and educators can be asked questions about living and exploring aboard the vessel.
Wren has always been interested in exploring, said his mother, Beth Ann Smith.
She said the opportunity to explore new areas, especially the ocean, as well use the state-of-the-art technology on the ship appealed to her son.
"He’s a real adventurer,” she said.
She said his love of exploration became evident six or seven years ago when he just had to see the natural habitat of the blue-footed booby.
“He just would not rest until he determined where this bird lived,” Smith said.
So she accompanied him on his first trip to the Galapagos Islands.
Since then, Wren has visited six continents. He has participated in runs in the Great Rift Valley in Tanzania and the Great Wall of China, climbed the thousands of steps at the Potala Palace in Tibet and camped with the Boy Scouts of America in Sweden and Africa. He plans to camp in Japan and visit Antarctica before he graduates high school.
Wren will return from the expedition Aug. 22.