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Showing posts from October, 2014

Read "Cave in the Snow" by Vicki Mackenzie

This amazing story is about a London born woman who left her life to become a buddhist. Travelling up the Himalayas to practice meditation in a isolated cave in the snow. It's an incredible read for anyone who's interested in exploring spirituality through buddhism.


Halloween Costumes for girls done right!

This young woman caver wore this outfit for Halloween!


First female cave explorer to map in Son Doong seeks help to save the cave

In 2009, when Hellie Brooke was 22, she served as the only female on the trip that first mapped and discovery Son Doong Cave. This beautiful and amazing cave is the largest in the world!

Brooke is asking EWLS patrons to sign a petition for the action to implement “The Rights of Nature” as to prevent any construction work within The Son Doong Cave and its region of Phong Nha - Ke Bang National Park, Quang Binh province, Vietnam.

Sign Petition: 
Info about Son Doong:
Photo: Adam Spillane/Thomas Arbends

Gretchen Baker

Gretchen Baker, author of "Great Basin National Park: A Guide to the Park and Surrounding Area" and ecologist at Great Basin National Park uses signs in the cave to identify climate changes in an article published in 2012 by The Salt Lake Tribune. "It turns out the caves are a time machine, reflecting not only what's happening on Mount Wheeler and in the Snake Valley outside but also centuries worth of global climate patterns. That's the crux of research on Lehman Caves stalagmites." she said.

Baker participates in may conservation activities in the Great Basin National park including the 2013 Lehman Cave Lint Camp where volunteers removed grime from the beautiful interior of the cave trapped by visitors. This year during Thanksgiving weekend, a crew of about 10 people worked more than 120 hours underground and hauled out nearly 40 pounds of dirt, lint and other debris from the most heavily trafficked parts of the cave. "I was surprised by how much h…

Tabby Cavendish

Cavendish, a Great Smoky Mountains park ranger, has surveyed caves all over the US. If you google her name, you will find images of her hanging out with bats, tortoises and in amazing underground caverns that spark the imagination. This year Cavendish participated on an exploration trip in glacier caves under the crater of Mt. Rainier that was featured in the Seattle Times! Her ambitious caving career has been known to be labeled as "hard core" but she is also physically ambitious outside caving. Here she speaks about her trapeze work: "It's a combination of fun and exercise ... it gives me a chance to be a girl. Most of the sports I do are very intense and fast and sweaty, and this isn't like that."

Image: Francois-Xavier De Ruydt

Cave Art Spotlight: "Ooooooh" by Emily Graham

SOURCE "Oooooh" | Flickr - Photo Sharing! - Clayvers by Emily Graham

Kara Mickaelson is a 2013 Extraordinary Woman Caver

Kara Mickaelson is an very important contributor to many big projects with the Oregon High Desert Grotto. Many know her from her recent contributions to the Glacier Ice Caves project. What you might not know is Kara has so much more that she does behind the scenes including conservation, survey, and educational work. Kara is also a very talented photographer.

Read more about her in our 2013 edition magazine, Extraordinary Women Cavers. Click here for a free digital copy or order a printed copy ($8) at

Zoe Harrold

Zoe Harrold, a Postdoctoral Researcher at Montana State University in Bozeman, MT, studies microbes in extreme environments, This year she preformed data collection for research in the glacier caves under Mt. Rainer's Crater. "[She] sees the caves as a natural laboratory to study microbes that flourish where most life withers." explains the Seattle Times Article.
Harrold earned her Ph.D in geomicrobiology at the University of Washington, Earth and Space Science Department in Seattle, WA. She has authored numerous published scientific papers and has worked as a presenter and teacher for nearly 8 years. In 2008 Harrold interned as a Field Hydrologist Internship with GSA Geo-Corp where she located, mapped and measured spring locations in the San Juan mountains to provide information for USFS water rights claims.


Tonya LeMoine

Tonya LeMoine is a mother, scientist, teacher, and caver. She has over 2 decades in cave exploration, science, conservation, and cartography. LeMoine holds a Master of Science Education and in 2012 she obtained a Geographic Information Systems Certificate from Denver University. She is currently the Colorado Western Slope Grotto Survey Representative for the Colorado Cave Survey where, as both a chairperson and member, she has contributed in survey work, conservation tasks, and educational efforts through the NSS. Nice work Tanya. Thank you for being an extraordinary woman caver!


Happy National Fossil Day

Happy National Fossil Day from Hester von Marcheet (or Mellonee), one of our 2013 EWCs! This is a 150 million year old femur from either a Apatosaurus, Camarasaurus, or a Diplodocus at Dinosaur National Monument. (There were too many cool fossils for me to remember which it was!)

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Catherine Hickson

Catherine Hickson is a Canadian volcanologist formerly part of the Geological Survey of Canada. Hickson has mapped and studied young volcanoes in Canada assessing their past and future eruptions. In 2003, Hickson was one of the three scientists to report on a hypothetical eruption at the Canadian volcano Mount Cayley. Hickson works in South America where some of the largest and highest volcanoes are, including those in Argentina, Bolivia, Chile and Peru.


Read Fern Cave by Author Jennifer Ellen Pinkley

Fern Cave likes to keep its secrets. The passages alternate between deep pits, sinuous interwoven canyons, massive rooms, and stream passages that wind through the heart of Nat Mountain. Tantalizing hints of the past are sprinkled throughout the cave in the form of ancient bone fragments, piles of charcoal, and torch marks at the bottom of deep, difficult pits. Casual explorers rarely make it far; confused and consternated by the vast array of passage choices as soon as they pass through an entrance, few find their destination without a guide. To fully explore and understand the mysteries of Fern Cave requires patience, dedication, and a love of unlocking hidden clues.


Mariana Tomas

Mariana Tomas, BA in IT Management. MA in Organizational Psychology, and Director of Organizational Change Capacity at a large medical firm, began caving as a child in Croatia. SheI would discover caves and lead classmates on expeditions after school. Although she admits that she really didn't have any equipment or experience, she enjoyed a sense of wonder and exploration. "I wanted to join the local caving club as soon as I found out about it (I was about 14), but my father didn't allow it, he thought it was too dangerous. War, marriage, children, moving a couple of countries put my caving ambition on the back burner for a long time. It wasn't until October this year that I started caving with the Cascade Grotto, and since then I've done 9 caves." Although Tomas is new to NSS sanctioned caving, she clearly shows a strong ability to explore and enjoy caves even in spite of social norms. Mariana you are clearly an extraordinary woman caver and …

Sioux Legend of the Old Woman in the Cave

According to Sioux legend, as told by Chief Lost Feather, there is a secret and mysterious cave that is located on the West Mountain (near Hot Springs, Arkansas).  There's an old woman and a dog that have been living in this cave for many generations. The old woman never grows any older.  The dog never ages, either.  They both stay exactly the same, and they have since anybody can remember.

The old woman spends her days weaving a rug.  She is using pine needles that she has collected in the nearby pine forest.  The old woman has been weaving now for many centuries, and yet the rug never gets any bigger. The dog watches his mistress weave through narrow slits in his eyes as he appears to just nap in the corner. Occasionally the old woman puts the rug down and leaves it while she goes to stir the pot of soup that she has cooking on a fire at the mouth of the cave.  The soup has probably been cooking for several centuries, as well.  The minute the old woman leaves, the dog rises slow…

The NSS serves the Dixie Derby Girls Roller Derby League

Dixie Derby Girls Roller Derby League is a collection of strong women and NSS women can identify. To join you need to go to NSS headquarters at their weekly meeting: Mondays from 8pm-10pm and Wednesdays from 5pm-8pm. Roller Time Skate Center is located at 707 Arcadia Circle, Huntsville, AL 35801 (256-489-7655)

Dixie Derby Girls

Cami Pulham

Cami Pulham graduated with her MNR in 2010. She works for the National Park service at Timpanogos Cave National Monument as the Chief of Science and Resource Management where she manages cave restoration projects, studies movements of cave faults, dye traces the cave watershed, and much more! In 2005 she participated in several conservation projects with the Timpanogos Grotto and in 2006 she became a contributor for the International Journal of Wilderness. In 2009 Pulham released her book, "Heart of the Mountain," after 13 years years of service at the monument. She continues to be active today as the Timpanogos Grotto Editor and in 2011 she organized the National Cave and Karst Management Symposium.


Cave Art Spotlight: Emily Graham

SOURCE Rappelling | Flickr - Photo Sharing! - Clayvers by Emily Graham

Gretchen Baker's new article

Ecologist Gretchen Baker is the Editor & Layout Expert for the Midden; Great Basin National Park's resource management newsletter. Besides editing and layout, she also writes articles! Check out her most recent work here:

Until the Late 1970's Women Were Openly Discriminated in the National Park Service

Women did not have the right to "look like a ranger" until or even wear a badge until 1978. Before this women wore a unique polyester knit uniform that Engle and Janney-Lucas comment looks like "fast food worker's" uniforms. It took sixty-two years, an Act of Congress, a ruling by the U.S. Attorney General, and much quiet internal protest for women to gain the right to be perceived by the public as National Park Service rangers.

Changes began iwhen the Committee on Interpretive Standards (composed of white male park historians and interpreters) was established. A strong program of recruiting young women for some types of interpretive work. The Report saw women as competent to be interpreters in historical parks, but not in the military or traditional "natural" parks where the prevailing ethic still saw a uniformed ranger as a white male. Women hired for these positions, however, would not wear a standard Service Class "A" uniform, but one o…

Check out books by Karen S. Rosga

Karen S. Rosga, author of numerous books including "Jewel Cave : The Story Behind the Scenery" serves in the Interpretive Division at Jewel Cave National Monument, she has worked in a national recreation area, a national historical park, six national monuments, and five national parks during the course of her career. Each book in this series tells a compelling story through the eyes of an experienced interpreter whose writing reflects true enthusiasm for the park. Complete with running text and interpretive captions, accompanied by abundant full-color photographs, these books will be welcome in any home library.


Jennifer Otto

Jennifer Otto began caving in 1993 and immediately took to cave discovery. "She took the 'you should check this out' to extreme and found the smallest tightest lead to see where it would go (NSS News 2000)." It wasn't long after this that she became a cave diver and later, active in the Florida Speleological Society doing cave cleanups, leading novice trips, and cultivating landowner relationships. In 1993 she participated in the Jennings Cave cleanup in Marion County, Florida so that the bat colony, driven out by pollution and vandals during the 1970’s, might return. She also contributed to caver art. One of the images she created is shown below. Stay tuned for more later on today. Nice work Jennifer Otto. Thank you for being an extraordinary woman caver!


The Florida Speleologist Vol. 34, Number 1
Winter 1997

NSS News, February 2000

How to Train Your Dragon: Cave Mom Valka

Valka, the mother of Hiccup in the movie How to Train Your Dragon is featured in practical gear with lofty accomplishments that include discovering and conserving a cave that contains endangered dragons. It is a must see for the cave-loving types!