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Showing posts from March, 2014

Penelope (Penny) Boston

Penelope (Penny) Boston, speleo-biologist and Director of Cave and Karst Science at New Mexico Tech, co-founded Mars Underground and then the Mars Society. She was a President of the Association of Mars Explorers, and is now a member of the science team taking part in Mars Arctic 365, a new one-year Mars surface simulation mission set to start in summer 2014 on Devon Island. Boston's work involves studying underground ecosystems extremophile inhabitants on Earth in order to predict environments/lifeforms possible elsewhere in the Universe. She has worked with the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts program (NIAC) to develop protocols for both human extraterrestrial cave habitation, and for subterranean [underground] life-detection missions on Mars, which she believes is highly likely to exist. For the last 2+ decades Boston has focused on exploring caves. "The first time I did any serious caving was actually in Lechuguilla Cave ...We trained for about three hours…

In 1933 Lyle Cavern was named after Lyle Martin

In 1933 Lyle Cavern was named after Lyle Martin, the first women to reach Groundsheet Junction, a portion of Lost Johns' Cave; the most extensive cave system on Leck Fell, Lancashire, England which consists of three major vertical routes and required very technical rope work for the 1930's.


"Cave Scientist" in Ron Gilbert's adventure game

The "Cave Scientist" in Ron Gilbert's adventure game, "The Cave" depicts a woman for the character. I think this is a step forward in the world of games, however the author can't help but to make derogatory statements in the intro about her physique, a situation men in the workforce rarely have to deal with unless the industry requires it such as modeling or the military (because of the need for fitness). What do you think about the character? Check out the walkthrough for all the character on Youtube ...


Rising Star Expedition uses an all-woman team to head a major discovery

In October 2013 the Rising Star Expedition was rapidly assembled to recover ancient hominid fossils discovered deep in a South African cave. On the Weekend radio show hosted by Boyd Matson, Lee finally speaks at length, telling the story of the expedition from start to finish. latest episode of the National Geographic.

The bones, hidden 30 meters underground, were beyond obstacles including a dangerous squeezes of only 18 cm wide made it necessary to assemble a select team of capable researchers with excavation experience and the unlikely caving skills. A particular size specalist was required to reach the inner chamber. The few who met all these requirements happened to ALL be women.

They had to have a master's degree or Ph.D. in paleontology, archaeology or an associated field. They had to be experienced cavers. And they had to be able to fit through a 7-inch-wide (18-centimeter-wide) choke point in the passage leading to the chamber. Fifty-seven qualified researchers applied f…

Carolyn van der Bogert

Carolyn van der Bogert, research scientist at the Institute for Planetology at the Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität in Münster, Germany and Science Team Associate on the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera began loving science while exploring nature and caves as a child in North Carolina. Now, after earning a PHD, Bogart was part of the team that discovered the first skylight in a volcanic area on the moon's near side called Marius Hills. "This is the first time that anybody's actually identified a skylight in a possible lava tube" on the moon, [researcher Carolyn] van der Bogert, who helped analyse the feature, told New Scientist.


Playmobil makes a statement about women cavers

It can be considered progress to have women represented by Playmobil to future caver ladies through play, but is this depiction sexist? Several EWLS Facebook fans commented on this when this was first posted on Facebook in 2013. 

"Those things don't happen as a fluke, there are many people involved ..." 

Another said "This is quite bizarre. I'm a caver and an avid 2nd Amendment Rights supporter. I carry, and enjoy target shooting. But I don't take a firearms caving." 

The gun appeared to cause the biggest complaint. "You'd never get that holster through a crawlway, nor would I think it a smart idea to have a gun on one's leg. You might shoot yourself in the foot." 

Still one person thought the fantasy play was just fine. She said "I don't mind because that 3/4 year old may grow up to be a caver and find out all the correct clothing and supplies."

What do you think?


In memory of Marike Jasper

Marike Jasper was cave diver living near Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico. She had been diving since she was a little girl, and had become totally addicted to cave diving. She was 3 star CMAS certified, PADI Open Water Instructor, and Full Cave certified by NACD and NSS-CDS, as well as being certified for Extended Range and Advanced Nitrox diving. She became cave certified in March, 1999 and quickly began acquiring experience. It was June, 1999 that she had the golden opportunity to explore and lay 2400 feet/ 730 meters of line on her first exploration dive. She named the cave system “Crustacea”.

Her remarkable talent for drawing included underwater cavern maps of Cenote Chickin Ha and Cenote Taj Mahal. In addition, she made an underwater map of upstream Cenote Mayan Blue to assist scientists with studying the cave environment. She was always helping cave divers with science and archeology. During the past few years she participated in several exploration projects searching…

Please welcome Carole Devillers, our first official Woman's News Reporter!

Carole says that "I think it's important to report on women cavers because, as in other fields such as writing, photography, exploration, adventure, women have a different view on things than men, and it will bring a different perspective on caving. It is also important for women, especially young women, to learn of other women's accomplishments in risk-taking activities and scientific endeavors, so that we inspire each other and realize that nothing is impossible for women. This Facebook page is a very good resource for that."

Here is a little about Carole (we are so lucky to have her): Carole Devillers is a photographer, writer, explorer, adventurer, caver, tour leader. Internationally published, she has to her credit several articles in National Geographic magazine and her photos in various books. For ten years she was Reuters News Pictures' photojournalist in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. She is currently working on producing children's photo boo…

Modoc woman is a hero

A cousin of Captain Jack and married to a settler, Toby Riddle had a connection to both sides during the Modoc War at the now Lava Beds National Monument. Her warning of an attack on the peace commissioners went unheeded, which resulted in the death of General Canby and another commissioner. Oregon's Indian Superintendent Alfred Meachem was shot several times and partially scalped during the attack and only survived because of Toby's intervention and care. After the war, Toby and her husband traveled the around the eastern U.S. with Meachem, giving lectures on the Modoc War. It was Meachem who gave Toby the moniker Winema (loosely meaning woman chief). Many places in the Lava Beds area, including the Winema National Forest, bear her name to honor her important contributions.


Rebekah Bauman, age 7 creates a trip report

Remember this? This is Rebekah Bauman's trip report highlighted in the 2013 Extraordinary Woman Cavers first annual publication last year. She recorded an image of Dennis Glasby, WVG volunteer for the 2013 AGCT annual event, resting by a tree on one of the grotto's caving events that year. Nice work Rebekah. We are proud of you!

EWLS goes global on Facebook

Are you proud to be a caver? EWLS is! We are especially proud that our supporters reach all over the world! Here are some stats about our Facebook friends. Because of the huge interest in our organization, EWLS will be expanding soon to LinkedIn, Blogger, and possibly Pintrest. Please check out our website if you would like to apply to contribute to this effort and stay tuned for updates.

Thank you all for your support!

Cami McKinney

Cami McKinney is our Chief of Resource Management and Interpretation here at Timpanogos Cave National Monument. The daughter of a former park ranger, she grew up hiking and camping, and has been caving since she was 15 years old. She enjoys studying caves, how they form, and what lives in them (This picture shows her at one of our summer bat nights, where our team of experts count and key out bat species in the canyon). She is an avid reader and published author, and is an expert on the history of American Fork Canyon. She and her husband Andrew enjoy canyoneering and other outdoor adventures. They have the loveliest of bunnies (Sylvia and Ender) who are litter boxed trained and happily beg for raisins every day.


LAST CHILD IN THE CAVE: Saving Our Children From Underground-Deficit Disorder

By Ann Brooks

Our 10th grade Senior Girl Scout troop recently had an amazing opportunity to do a unique community service. We went in and dusted the formations at Lewis and Clark Caverns State Park. It might sound strange, or perhaps not, once you think about it. Commercially operated caverns are victims of the very same and special environment the public go to see. The limestone formations that take millions of years to form in quiet dark places are, by their very nature, slow to adjust to change. There is no weather underground, literally nothing to wash or blow away the lint from years of visitors. If there had been such torrents or turbulence, then there would be no formations to visit.

Lewis and Clark Caverns have been open for tourist trips, off and on, since the turn of the century. Lint has been accumulating, then, for well over 100 years. I met Rhea Armstrong along with Molly Gheirke and Lynette Kemp at the Northern Rocky Mountain Grotto Annual Meeting,…

Rene Ohms Brings Sustainable Practices to Jewel Cave

Rene Ohms, Physical Science Technician at Jewel Cave National Monument,  has provided outstanding leadership. Her innovative ideas to save energy and recycle more items have inspired other employees to join the effort to incorporate sustainability in all park projects since 2010. Ohms coordinated efforts that led to the park's success in becoming a member of the Climate Friendly Parks Program (CFP).  Because of Ohms' efforts, the park was able to complete greenhouse gas (GHG) inventories and develop a modified environmental management system (MEMS) and CFP Plan, in order to attain CFP status. Jewel Cave was the first park to successfully complete a MEMS/CFP Plan.  Ohms also shared her lessons learned with other parks in the Black Hills area by coordinating and leading two CFP workshops, helping these parks make their way toward CFP status.

Rene Ohms has been a "force multiplier" by inspiring other park employees to greater awareness and involvement in sustainability…

Carol Whalley just published her new book "The Underground Adventures of Rock Chick."

Congrats Carol!

Nice work Missy Shields and Maggie Mudd!

These two amazing women leaders removed algae at Onyx Cave (a Commercial Cave in Cave City, Kentucky).
Photo By: Jon Durall SOURCE

Brittany Burtner

Brittany Burtner, a former University of Florida Wildlife Biologist and Graduate Research Assistant, is currently a Park Services Specialist at Florida Department of Environmental Protection in Bahia Honda State Park. Her interests center around conservation, population ecology, and behavioral ecology. Burtner's MS research focused on understanding the social cues, costs and benefits of interactions between nesting wading birds and alligators. Because of her wildlife biology background and alligators behavior expertise, this amazing young woman was a member of the French-led scientific and speleological expedition Abanda 2011 in Gabon; in search of the cave-dwelling orange crocodiles. She and her colleague Matthew Shirley paired up and were instrumental in capturing, studying then releasing these reptiles during the cave system survey, in the most dreadful and inhospitable environment of the caves of Gabon's rainforest.


Carole Deville…

The NSS provides materials for internal organizations

Yet another benefit of being an NSS member.... Did you know that the NSS supplies printed pamphlets at no cgarge for new cavers and cavers interested in branching out in their skills and interests?

1976 NSS Woman's Poll Results

Read this article by Jill Ediger in the Texas Caver Publication in Feb.1976 where she explains that the average woman in caving might fit the following description: physically healthy and active/likes the outdoors, enjoys people of diverse character, overeducated, and underpaid according to a survey conducted between summer 1974 and spring 1975, on a nationwide basis.


Sewanee, the University of the South, advertises to reach women

Sewanee, the University of the South, advertises caving with an image that shows both men and women caving in attire that looks absolutely similar. It invites students of all genders saying "Sewanee is located in the heart of the TAG region. TAG, (Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia) is known around the world for its incredible karst topography. Countless caving opportunities await the adventurous. This region has more caves than any where else in the US."


Nancy Simmons

Nancy Simmons, Berkley PHD graduate who is the Curator-in-Charge of the American Museum of Natural History’s mammalogy collection, works with data gained from museum specimens and high-resolution CT scans, combining these with DNA sequence data generated by collaborators to build and test phylogenetic and evolutionary hypotheses. She conducts fieldwork yearly in the Neotropics, and has lately been expanding her work into Southeast Asia. In addition to this she is a professor at Richard Gilder Graduate School.
Simmons reported last August that the total number of living bat species had risen from 1,232 to 1,293 - meaning an additional 61 species were discovered between 2010 and 2013. One of the main factors behind the increase is that more researchers are using new technologies like DNA analyses to reveal hidden diversities among seemingly similar bats.

This year she released a statement quoted by Bat Conservation International saying “…some genuinely new bats – never befo…