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Showing posts from November, 2014

Katrina Smith

Katrina Smith, the Lava Bed National Monument bat specialist and natural resources manager takes part in bat surveys, submits articles, and leads trips for the Lava Beds National Monument. She also conducts studies on ice caves. In 2014 she presented on the subject at the International Ice Cave Conference.


Photographer Melissa Horn sheds light on microorganisms

Melissa Horn, a freelance photographer and geology major at Lock Haven University. Horn moved back to the area a year ago after spending three years visiting and photographing caves around North America.

When Melissa Horn's husband took her caving on their second date, it was the first time she ever entered the dark, damp underground world of caves. "I was absolutely terrified, I felt claustrophobic," she said. "But I couldn't help but be interested by it.” These days, it's a different story - Horn is trying to find and explore caves as much as possible.

After taking her camera into a cave for the first time, she said she became obsessed with the subjects underground. “I have always loved caves and geology,” Horn said. “Our experience inspired me to return to school and major in geology with the idea that I can turn my hobby into a career.”

Horn hopes that her photography helps create a platform for discussion about the topic of conservation. “I began focu…

Dr. Marion Dowd

Dr. Marion Dowd, lecturer in prehistoric archaeology at IT Sligo and Ireland’s only specialist in the archaeology of Irish caves has written numerous scientific articles related to caves and has written three books. In 2009 the Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences (IRCHSS) awarded Dowd a Research Fellowship towards the Irish Cave Archaeology Project. Before then, Dowd was researching Irish cave archaeology for over 12 years. Since 2008 she has been working to excavate caves for research; especially Glencurran Cave. In 2011 one of these excavations, led by Dowd, resulted in the findings of bones and evidence of use dating back to about 1,000 BC. The year before, her excavation of Burren Cave resulted in the discovery of the largest Viking necklace in Ireland. This year she was brought on to study the discovery 5,500 years old radiocarbon dated Stone Age child found in a tiny cave high on Knocknarea mountain. Great work Dr. Dowd. Thank you for being an Extraord…

Gretchen Hartman: A Strong Leader & Teacher of Leaders

Gretchen Hartman, 18 years, has been caving with the NSS youth program for almost 4 years now and is a member of the Philadelphia Grotto. "She is not only a strong caver, but a leader and a teacher of leaders.” says Allen Maddox, NSS Youth Liaison. Hartman has staffed and instructed at the National Youth Leaders Training course and is currently organizing a contingent of Scouts from Area 6 (PA, NJ, DE, MD, NY) to the Winter Adventure Weekend in Kentucky.

Besides being an impressive caver, Hartman recently earned the Venturing Silver Award from Venturing Crew 363 after chartering Ephrata’s Our Mother of Perpetual Help Church and serving as president of Crew 363 for two years. As president, she has been hailed for increasing membership of her crew. Her scouting experience has included being the first female youth in the Pennsylvania Dutch Council to attend National Youth Leadership Training. She also has served on the staff at Bashore Scout Reservation as an open-water lifeguard, …

Catie McEntee

Catie McEntee first went caving about 4 years ago
with her Venturing Crew (the co-ed division of Eagle Scouts) on a trip hosted by the NSS Youth Liaison Committee Chairperson Allen Maddox. At the next event she invited Maddox to train the group about caving and bring the Squeeze Box, a training tool for new cavers. "She was in charge of our contingent. She organized every aspect of our participation in this event.” Maddox remembered.

McEntee was also a leader at National Youth Leadership Training. Today she studies engineering at North Carolina State University. "When she comes come home on break she put together caving trips and has also helped me when I guide other youth groups on their caving trips. She is one of those people you can tell is going places. I'm looking forward to seeing her take off and change the world.” says Maddox.

Image: Allen Maddox

Africadalli Sheela is the Indan Cavewoman

Africadalli Sheela is the Indan Cavewoman superhero of the 80’s. After her parents are killed, the baby girl grows up in a jungle, with only animals as friends, guardians, and companions. “To obtain this film” one fan wrote, “pray hard, it is near impossible to find.” What do you think of this female role model? Have you seen the movie?

Katrina Berry Leader & Environmentalist

Katrina Berry is a 20 year old college student who has been caving with the NSS youth program for 2 years. In this short time she has shown to be a very strong leader and organizer. She attend her first MAR event and is known as a dependable resource by members of the Philadelphia Grotto. Berry has planned and ran her own trip of 12 Scouts and leaders to caving in West Virginia. She is working and studying to become an Environmentalist. "I have no doubt she will be doing this [accomplishing in an Environmental career] soon. She is currently helping me plan several other future trips, at least one of which will be outside of the USA. Her leadership is exemplary."  says Allen Maddox, NSS Youth Liaison Committee Chairperson.

Image: Allen Maddox

Shannon Stephens

Meet Shannon Stephens, Timpanogos Cave National Monument Administrative Officer. Shannon started working part time in the visitor center at Timpanogos Cave NM in 2004 and has really become an asset to the park. She was born and raised right here in Utah and is the proud mother of teenage daughters. As a kid, her dad used to take Shannon and her little brother camping in American Fork Canyon. She still enjoys camping, fishing, hiking, and being in the outdoors. She feels very fortunate to be working where many family memories were created and is reminded of this every morning as she drives into the beautiful canyon. If you visit her office don’t forget to check out her fish tank and sneak a treat from her candy bowl!


Alex Diamond is a Youth Leader in Caving

Alex Diamond is a recipient of the Venturing Silver Award from the co-ed division of Boy Scouts Venturing Crew 23 - the 15th recipient of the award in 17 years! Diamond has been in the Venturing program since 2010. Before then, she was a founding member of Crew 56 where she served as vice president for two terms and became crew president. In 2011, Diamond became a certified “Leave No Trace” trainer, and she has served on the staff of Horseshoe Scout Reservation’s Camp Ware for the past three years, where she most recently taught outdoor skills to Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts.

Besides this, 18 year old Diamond has been caving with the NSS youth program, for about 4 years. Not only is she a strong caver, but she has planned, organized and carried out her own caving trips and plans on doing more. She has taught different skills at the National Youth Leaders Training course.

"She is also in high demand as an instructor and organizer for Scouting projects throughout Chester County Council…

Emily Mobley stays cool under pressure

In 1991 Emily Mobley, an expert caver with 20 years of experience and owner of Speleobooks, was leading a survey team of five cavers through an area two miles Lechuguilla Cave, the nation's deepest cave with 70-degree temperatures and near 100% humidity, when she fell about 12 feet and an 80-pound rock fell on her left leg below the kneecap, breaking it. Despite her splinted leg, Mobley managed to move about half a mile through a moderately difficult section of the cave. During this four-day rescue she showed incredible strength and resolve. She and only had three major requests: a hairbrush, pizza, and that the media wouldn't find out about her injury. Unfortunately for her, the story leaked but it seems that the article merely attributed to her amazing ability to stay cool under pressure and even pain. Mobley still caves today and in fact, only days after the rescue she told the media that she intended on returning to the cave as soon as her leg healed.


Slime Team Supports Women in Science

Diana Northup and Penny Boston formed the Slime Team to study cave-dwelling microbes. Today the team is comprised of mostly women and their webstite lists a total of 16 women associates, students, and pass staff! The team has conducted many scientific experiments and published numerous studies. You can even read about cave-related concepts on their website:


Modoc tribes women at the Lava Beds National Monument

In honor of Women's History Month, let's take a moment to acknowledge how important women were to Modoc tribes living on the Lava Beds. Responsible for gathering and preparing food, tanning hides, making winter clothing, and weaving cultural art, Modoc women were the life force behind a tribe's survival. Older women would also serve alongside men as shamans, or healing doctors.


Jennifer Ellen Pinkley

This experienced caver, backpacker, flatwater kayaker, and hiker is also a published, reliable writer with over 20 years of experience writing about all sorts of topics specializes in history and the environment, but she's also covered engineering, architecture, pets, telecommunications, and erosion control. She is a very experienced researcher who writes marketing materials, blog posts, social media posts, web page copy, and much more for a variety of publications and nonprofit organizations.

She also does work in marketing and grant writing for several nonprofit organizations. She's tackled government proposals, pretty much any kind of user documentation, and many aspects of web design and coding.


Alison S. Brooks

Alison Brooks joined The George Washington University in 1972, and has been Professor of Anthropology since 1988. She received her Ph.D. in Anthropology from Harvard University in 1979. She also serves as Research Associate in Anthropology at the Smithsonian Institution, and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Professor Brooks is actively involved in the training of scientists and museum personnel from African countries, and in the development and implementation of heritage policy in Africa. She edits a bulletin for teachers, entitled AnthroNotes, that is distributed three times a year to several hundred individuals and institutions interested in anthropological perspectives on current issues. She has led research projects in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Sweden, France, China, Botswana, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia and Kenya.

Recently this prolific archeologist was interviewed about the new discovery of Indonesian C…

Kris Hirst

Kris Hirst has written articles for Science and Archaeology magazines, and for over fifteen years has participated in panel discussions and presented several professional papers at conferences and elsewhere on the use of the Internet as a tool for presenting archaeological information to the public. She is a science writer and editor for a variety of journals and books and has published her own book; The Archaeologist's Book of Quotations in 2009. Hirst is an Illinois State graduate with a BS in Education with three majors and five minors and an MA in Anthropology from the University of Iowa. She is also a member of several societies including the Society for American Archaeology, the Archaeological Institute of America, the Register of Professional Archaeologists, and the National Association of Science Writers. Hirst has contributed to caving through her developement of articles about caves that show the value of caves in archeological findings. Some of these artic…

Sara Craighead, Superintendent of Mammoth Cave National Park

Years ago this extraordinary woman was already being noticed for her achievements. Craighead was featured in the Death Valley Journal blog as a Woman of Death Valley. And even before this, her path was leading her to her position today as superintendent of Mammoth Cave National Park.

In 1974 she was valedictorian of Caverna High School in Cave City. That summer she took seasonal employment at Mammoth Cave National Park while attending Transylvania University in Lexington, Ky., where she earned a bachelor of arts degree in biology. “My very first job was selling crafts at the Mammoth Cave Hotel. The cave was my jumping off point with the National Park Service.  Now, more than thirty years later, I have the honor of managing the park."

Before becoming superintendent in 2012, Craighead served as the superintendent of Saguaro National Park (Tucson, Ariz.)  and was the first superintendent of Washita Battlefield National Historic Site (Cheyenne, Okla). "... It is a little differ…

Glenda Swiney

Glenda Swiney is a senior at Texas A&M University in Galveston,
ocean and coastal resources major, will graduate magna cum laude on Dec. 14. This year she recieved the Texas Oilman's Charity Invitational Fishing Tournament (TOCIFT) Fellowship For Academic Recognition. As a certified master diver, Swiney made seven cavern dives in 2013 in the Ox Bel Ha System, the world’s longest underwater cave, to participate in scientific research to determine what promotes diversification of eyeless, albino cave fish and crustaceans.

Read more and view the video:

Homeless Woman Finds Hope in Cave Dwelling

Hope who is now 41, she felt more comfortable in the cave than a homeless shelter. She lived on her Social Security disability check of $670 a month, but she spent a good portion of it staying at a motel for four or five days a month. It gave her chance to clean up and to spend some time with her younger daughter, who was still living in the area. Her daughter knew where she lived the rest of the month.

“She would say, ‘Oh, God, Mom, I can’t believe you’re living in cave.’ I felt like I failed utterly.”

Carmen Gonzalez, who works at the Hub and coordinates outreach workers for the Mental Health Center, remembers meeting Hope at the Hub snack bar. She knew Hope was a new client, and she remembers her as “pretty tearful, pretty frightened and at the same time trying to appear strong.”

Gonzalez became Hope’s confidante, nudging her in the direction of getting more help. Later that March, after losing the cave dwelling, Hope went to a Project Homeless Connect event at the Parmly Billings…