Happy 1st year Karla Zajac as our first co-editor for Extraordinary
Women Cavers, the EWLS annual magazine. You have been a tremendous help
and great asset to the team! http://www.ewls.org/karla-zajac.html
EWLS supports women athletes so we thought it would be fun to share this 2016 picture of the HRV girls ski team after creating a self-made snow cave during a recent wet race at Ski Bowl. #WomenCavers #EWLS #WLeaders
Here is a ghost story for you on Halloween. By some estimates, Odessa's Catacombs in Russia span about 1,550 miles, a little longer than the whole Pacific coastline of the continuous United States! Besides this, they are dangerous and spooky. Sections regularly flood with groundwater, some ceilings a propped with make-shift support beams, and some ventilation systems are completely dismantled. Murders have happened there too. A guy murdered his teenage girlfriend in the catacombs with an ax in 2015 and in 2011 murdered man was found after being dead for three to six months. There is a rumor that the catacombs contain stacked corpses of murdered Jews from World War II too. There is also evidence that they were used for the summary executions of Nazi soldiers.
This is where the tale begins. In 2005 Masha was in the catacombs with other teen students of Odessa's School Number 56. The reason was unclear but it could have been a drunken party or a treasure search. It's rumore…
In 2010 a three person dive survey team that included Extraordinary Woman Caver Chrissy Richards added an additional 1.3 mi to the cave length of Blue Spring Cave. In only 8 hours this White County, TN cave became quite longer. The dive took 3 hours in 53 degree water. The team found and surveyed an additional approx 1,000' of dry cave.
The team found and surveyed a new sump which ended up finally connecting to known passage. "Right after this picture was taken, we realized we had made the connection. I was so excited, cold, tired, and proud. I was part of a three man dive team, two man push team, and 16 years of diving effort to make this connection." Christina said.
The cave is now 38.19 mi long.
Virginia Treat, amazing photographer who supports conservation and caves, has a project you will find quite interesting. Virginia has been photographing since 2015 when she found out she enjoyed being behind the camera instead of in front of it. It started out as a hobby just taking photos of family and nature photos, as well as improving on her photography by taking photos of models/friends. Virginia’s work has been published in several magazines and newspapers from the Surreal Magazine, Fashion Bombshell Magazine, Idaho City Newspaper, Idaho Statesman Newspaper and an article that came out in the July/August issue of Greenbelt Magazine.
Then after a family trip to Craters of the Moon, Virginia started talking with her husband about a big idea she had combining nature with high fashion to create a variety of different themes throughout the year. She wanted to create a book and use the proceeds to donate back to nature conservation facilities a…
Karla Zajac and I attended the NCRC Orientation to Cave Rescue South Western Region, a weekend course that took place in the southwestern region in Carlsbad, New Mexico this year. This Introductory level program consists of classroom and field work showing all the phases of cave rescue. It involves underground environment, extrication techniques, communication systems, medical management, and organization and management of cave rescue. The basic orientation course material is presented for students that typically include cavers, emergency services personnel and rescue management personnel. The second day of the class is designed for both cave explorers who have the desire to learn the basics of rescues and personnel who want to expand the knowledge as well as the experiences that are involved in cave rescues. For the orientation you do not need to have any prior caving experience however it does help.
“I feel like everyone …
Oana Ghiocel, Romanian documentary filmmaker is creating Immigrants Under Earth, which follows Romanian speleologists in the 1980s to uncover a world of explorations, discoveries and unexpected freedom. The idea for the film came while shooting The Bear Cult, which investigated the relationship between humans and bears from prehistoric times to the present. With more than 50 hours of interviews gathered, the film will be a medley of stories of a “generation of adventurers” who, between 1979 and 1989 established many speleological groups and mapped an impressive number of caves. Accompanying the on-site shooting and interviews in the film will be reenactments. New shooting will take place in spring and summer and Ghiocel says she hopes to be able to finish production by end-summer.
Apart from the new documentary, she is also working on a book gathering material related to the subject of The Mystery of the Carpathian Sphinx and also a sequel to the film. The plan is to have the book out…
Natalie Erlenbaugh, Indiana State University's Environmental Science Club president and past winners of the 2014 Sustainability Championship lead a trip to the Cave-in Rock State Park and its large limestone cave that was carved out by high-tide by the Ohio. Bandits used to stow away their treasure along there, so she planned the excursion to benefit the numerous geologists in the club. The club is made up of majors in geology, environmental science and related majors, and includes students who enjoy the environment through hiking or other activities. "We're a fun group, with lots of fun people," said Erlenbaugh. She plans to do more cave trips in the future too. #ScienceWomen #WomenCavers #EWLS #Speleology
Delores Gaidowski passed away last year taking with her decades of women's history in caving that I can only imagine. She came from a time when the web was only developing and women often attributed their accomplishments to their husbands and fathers.
Delores and Ray Gaidowski purchased a 83-acre property in the early 1980s that held the amazing Kickapoo Indian Caverns. At one time this cave was known as Goblin Cave. It was used by Native Americans hundreds of years before soldiers stationed at Fort Crawford discovered the cave in the middle 1800s. But it wasn't until July 4, 1947, when a building was constructed and the keyhole-shaped entrance to the cave expanded to allow for tours.
Kickapoo Indian Caverns is one of Wisconsin's largest cave systems. It is an Indian shelter that was created by an ancient underground river. The passage ways hold several exiting features such as the kiva ‘Nowannus Sukwahan’ chamber of lost waters, a majestic cathedral room with an onyx cei…
A Girl Scout caving experience last year resulted in unanimous excitement and interest in speleology. Volunteer leaders Amanda Letany, Michelle Smiley, Jeffrin Lozano and Linda Griffith lead the weekend trip to Bluesprings Caverns. The ladies learned about cave exploration and took a wild tour to an undeveloped part of the cave. They walked sideways, crawled on hands and knees, laid down on their sides, scooted sideways and army-crawled to reach a waterfall. Then they climbed the waterfall and came out wet, muddy and loving the experience. The scouts said sleeping in a cave was one of their favorite things. Fifth-grader Hannah Letany said “the best part of the trip was getting to climb and squeeze through the tight spaces” and fourth-grader Olivia Lozano said she liked the boat tour because “it was peaceful and calm." Great job scouts. Thank you leaders from troop 148 and 86 for supporting women in caving! #CaveKids #EWLS
Sarah Martin, assistant general manager of Mammoth Cave Hotel enlisted Kesley Janes, a senior at Edmonson County High School, to beautify the Mammoth Cave National Park camp store as part of a renovation and rehabilitation project. Kesley recently created mural above the counter featuring the wildlife guests may encounter when they visit. She has been painting images for the last year. She painted a skunk and an owl on support pillar at the store and a blue-tailed lizard near the register. #EWLS #WLeadership
Along with 13 other contestants, Suzanne Wyatt would have to hunt and forage for her own food, build shelters, and learn to live without all the creature comforts we take for granted. No phones, no television, no cosmetics and no supermarkets. "Although it was tough, I’d do it all again in a heartbeat, because I learnt and experienced so much. It’s great to be back home. Though I wouldn’t mind going back for a holiday!"
During the Jan. 22 to 24 weekend in 2016, Great Basin National Park hosted its annual Lehman Caves lint camp cleanup. About 25 volunteers from three states carried buckets, brushes and other cleaning supplies into the cave network. After a cleanup, “people notice that part of the cave looks brighter,” chief park ecologist Gretchen Baker said. “It’s an ongoing effort ...The National Speleological Society convention is coming, so we want to make sure cavers coming from all over the world have a good view. The lint and debris have been building up for decades. Over 30,000 people go through the cave a year.” #WLeaders #WomenCavers #EWLS
Becky Kagen is an award-winning underwater director of photography. Other then being a photographer, she is also a tech instructor. Becky has had a had a curiosity for what was underneath the waves since she was a kid and she always thought that documenting it was what she was going to do. Becky is an Emmy Award winning underwater camera operator, photographer and technical diver. She has been seen on major networks including National Geographic, Discovery Channel and the Travel Channel. She has done several exploration projects and has earned her place within the Fellow Explorer Club. In 2013 she was introduced into the Women Divers Hall of Fame. She has filmed in challenging environments such as caves, under ice, shipwrecks, and even sharks. She has over 20 years of diving experiences, logging thousands of hours underwater making her comfortable in most any environment. She has passion about the underwater world and loves to share her photography and give diving lesions. Her advent…
Amy Ward and Christine Rose were Georgia State Parks employees in 2011, but frustrated with the budget cuts they decided to quit and start their own business called Georgia Girl Guides where the two take people on guided tours into caves in Cloudland Canyon State Park and Pigeon Mountain. Ward is trained in cave rescue and Rose has a master’s in ecological teaching and learning. #WLeadership #EWLS #WomenCavers
Frances Benjamin Johnston (1864 – 1952) is said to be the first
woman cave photographer. Her primary work consists of magazines, portraits, and
social and architectural documentation. Frances started to experiment with
photography during the 1885 when she started her professional studio in
Washington, D.C . She was a writer as well. In 1891 she went to Mammoth Cave to
gather content for the Demorest’s Family Magazine June 1892 article and her
book Mammoth Cave by Flash-Light published in 1893. Later in life she
photographed prominent members of Washington’s political and social circles and
authored a series of articles about women photographers for the Ladies Home
Journal. #WomenCavers #ewls #CavePhotography Source: kentuckyexplorer.com Written by Tabitha Rossmann Edited by Lisa Bauman
"If there is any caving skill I possess, it must certainly be a dogged will to just keep putting one foot in front of the other ... The majority of my accomplishments have happened ... all because I jumped out of my comfort zone"
Laura Demarest (Young)
Watershed Coordinator and 2014 EWC
Kelly is a caver from Tennessee. She has been
caving for 13 years. However, she did not join the NSS until 4 years or so into
her caving. She is now a lifetime member and Fellow of the NSS. When she
started with photography, she used a typical point and shoot camera. On a
photography trip Tumbling Rock Cave, a SCCi Preserve in Alabama in 2005, Kelly
was inspired by Nathan Williams who taught her a few tricks that day. After
this, she purchased her first DSLR and some flashes and self-taught from there.
She’s always preferred FUJI cameras but she’s not to technical. She works very
simple in caves. Her work has been on two covers of the NSS News, and she has won
a few Merit Awards as well as Honorable Mentions Awards in the NSS
Salons. Kelly designed newsletter covers for TAG Caver and has won awards for
that as well. She tells new cave photographers “be prepared
that anything you take underground can be destroyed by a cave environment. If
you purchase high-dollar cameras or flashes, co…
Cristina was born in Mexico in 1966. She is a photographer as well as a Marine Biologist. For the past 20 years she has been working as a writer and photographer. In 2005 she funded the International League of Conservation Photographers (ILCP).
Cristina has elevated conservation photography to a whole new level. Back then when she started out with Nature and conservation photography it was considered taboo to talk about the environment. In 2010 she was awarded the Mission Award from North American Nature Photography Association; an organization that experiments with ideas to show how photographers can have an impact on conservation. The organization is now launching a non-profit called Sea Legacy whose mission is to share the power of photography and story-telling to raise awareness of biodiversity and marine conservation.
Cristina uses her photography to show the importance of cave conservation. The destruction of species and landscapes ignited by her passion for conservation. She…
After its great impact at the UNESCO House in Paris in January 2015, the exhibit highlighting the importance of these geological riches in the culture and history of Haiti is now invited to Montreal (Quebec) at TOHU, from March 23 to May 8, 2016. This multimedia exhibit, presented by the Association Hommes des Cavernes, displays works by three cave photographers: EWLS Social Media Reporter Carole Devillers, Jean-François Fabriol, and Olivier Testa of the http://www.Cavesofhaiti.org team. It was put together by curator and caver Stéphanie Jagou, of the same team. Come and discover it! #speleology #womencavers #ewls #cavesofhaiti
Over the years EWLS has found a many women leaders who have worked to contribute in cave archaeology. Read our top 10 below!
Anges Milowka (23 December 1981 – 27 February 2011) was an Australian
technical diver, underwater photographer, author, and cave explorer. She
gained international recognition for penetrating deeper than previous
explorers into cave systems across Australia and Florida, and as a
public speaker and author on the subjects of diving and maritime
archaeology. Read more here.
Elen Feuerriegel was featured in our annual 2015 publication this April as an
Extraordinary Woman Caver (EWC) and was one of the 6 women scientists
who recovered and cataloged than 1200 hominid fossil elements in the
South African Rising Star Cave. Congrats Elen. Read more here.
Florence Guillot, speleologist for the past thirty years, is co-responsible for
the speleological expedition IOWA 2014 in Papua-New Guinea. Guillot has a PhD in History and is an archaeologist and director of