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Extraordinary Women Cavers Guidebook and Magazine Celebrates 5 Years!

Since 2013 when the first Extraordinary Women Cavers Guidebook and Magazine was first released, women cavers have been telling their stories from all over the world. This year the magazine features six women cavers: Amy Morton (Texas), Blanca Aili Usuga (Columbia), Cinthia Campos (California), Nicole Davis (Arizona), Rhyss Anne Plaza (Oregon), and Tanya Masse Leach (Texas). Extraordinary Women Leaders in Speleology (EWLS) is a club that celebrates women who contribute to cave exploration, education, and conservation and specifically supports women in STEM sciences. The club also supports the arts. "We have shared stories about women all over the globe from fine artists, to geologists, to paramedics," said Lisa Bauman, club founder and president. Above is a map of all the women featured in the publication in the 5 years since it's origination. The stars represent club officers who have been featured. You can determine the year a woman was featured by the color. Red is fo…
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Amy Morton Named 2017 Extraordinary Women Caver

Amy Morton was chosen to be featured in the Extraordinary Women Cavers Guidebook and Magazine for along side several other extraordinary women cavers in the 2017 August release of the annual publication. Amy has only been caving for three years but she has accomplished a lot in such a short amount of time. She became a caver by happenstance but she has always been an athlete at heart. As a young woman, she participated in physically demanding performances in the Phantom Regiment Drum and Bugle Corps where she practiced every day in the heat for as much as 12-14 hours and toured around the country competing for five summers. She has taught color guard for 23 years and today she is the Color Guard Director at the University of Incarnate Word.  She also studied dance at one of the most distinguished dance programs in the country and has received numerous awards for her skill. Since becoming a caver, she has contributed to numerous mapping and exploration trips including the Montemayor C…

Rhyss Anne Luper Named 2017 Extraordinary Woman Caver

Rhyss Anne Luper was chosen to be featured in the Extraordinary Women Cavers Guidebook and Magazine for along side several other extraordinary women cavers in the 2017 August release of the annual publication. Rhyss began caving as a child with her father and the Oregon Grotto. She has been on hundreds of caving trips from from exploration to mapping and conservation trips for nearly a decade. Rhyss recently graduated high school and has already begun taking dental classes in college. She aims to use her professional life to do good by reducing oral diseases in her place of birth. As the founder of Smiles for Philippines she works closely with local dental practitioners and the Global Dental Relief organization to supply oral hygiene supplies in Philippines.  “There is a lack of oral hygiene supplies. This is why I started a humanitarian project called Smiles for Philippines,” she said.

Woman gives Birth in the Cradle of Mankind

For this Mother's Day take a moment to read about a woman who gave birth in Sterkfontein Caves in South Africa, commonly called the cradle of humankind. Happy Mother's Day! #ewls #MothersDay #Mom

Shelly Colatskie Surveys Sequiota Cave Bats

Shelly Colatskie, cave ecologist with the Missouri Department of Conservation has been surveying bats in in Sequiota Cave and the results are looking good. Last year she found 72 tri-colored bats and now there are 112. She is also testing for White-Nose Syndrome (WNS). During last year's investigation in two bats were found to have WNS. Initial reports show no visual evidence of WNS, which is a good sign. Results of the cotton swab DNA tests should be ready by late summer.

Several species of bats, including endangered gray bats, use the cave at different times of the year. During the summer, educational bat viewing events are available at the mouth of the cave where 4,000 to 6,000 gray bats that come out at dusk to feed on insects. However, the cave has been closed to protect the bats until further notice.
Sources: News LeaderUSFWS/Ann Froschauer and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters

Ancient Female Skeletons Map Eastern Asian Culture

Two 7700-year-old women were discovered in a far east Russia cave called Chertovy Vorota or the Devil’s Gate Cave in English. The site was of particular interest because the skeletons were found with pottery, harpoons, and the remnants of nets and mats woven from twisted blades of wild sedge grass; considered by many researchers a rudimentary form of early agriculture.
Hungarian graduate student Veronika Siska was sequenced the genome to compare it to modern Europeans and Asians and revealed  an interesting link to modern culture. The two Devil’s Gate Cave women are related to the Ulchi, indigenous people live a few hundred kilometers north of the cave where they have long fished, hunted, and grown food and other people who speak the endangered 75 or so Tungusic languages spoken in eastern Siberia and China.
Sources: Science Mag, wiki commons

Shelly Colatskie is a Bat Conservation Hero

Shelly Colatskie has been a Cave Ecologist at Missouri Department of Conservation for 6 years. During this time she has worked with numerous caving and government organizations to preserve and study bats. She even worked with Missouri Bat Census, an organization founded by Kirsten Alvey-Mudd, an Extraordinary Woman Caver. 
In February 2017 she received the G. Andy Runge Wildlife Award for the Missouri Department of Conservation from the Missouri Chapter of the Wildlife Society for making the Sodalis Nature Preserve in Hannibal a reality. The mine passages provide hibernation habitat to at least 168,000 Indiana bats, which is one-third of all the Indiana bats known to exist.
Sources: KHMOUSFWS/Ann Froschauer