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Showing posts from 2017

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…

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

Nicole Davis Awarded Extraordinary Women Caver

Nicole Davis 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. Nicole worked as a tour guide at Lewis and Clark Caverns during graduate school at Montana State University while earning her Master of Science in Earth Sciences when she fell into caving. While working on her fellowship in the Geology PhD program at the University of Cincinnati, she explored caves with the Greater Cincinnati Grotto and even took two one-month-long expeditions to study glaciers on Mt. Everest and Mt. Kailash in Tibet. Nicole became a cave mapper with the Dusty Cavers and Western Mappers and has participated cave maps, geology studies, and dozens of survey trips in Crystal, Buckelew and Scroll caves. She is also on the 2017 board of Southern Arizona Grotto (SAG). Welcome Nicole and congratulations on becoming an EWC!
Photo by Jessica Pruitt

Colombian Caver Blanca Aili Usuga Named 2017 Extraordinary Women Caver

Blanca Aili Usuga 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. Blanca became a member of South Wales Caving Club in 2010. In 2012 she found two unexplored Colombian caving areas called Mortiñal Cave System and the Valley of Deep Holes containing more than twelve sinkholes and caves. Blanca organized an international expedition in 2015 to explore the sinkholes that resulted in the survey and mapping of nine caves - a total of 2046 meters of virgin cave systems. She has proposed the creation of a nature reserve and speleological park that is under way in each area. 
Welcome Blanca and congratulations on becoming an EWC!
Photo by Josh Bratchley

Christi Burrell, Caving since the 80s

Christi Burrell was born in Georgia. She moved to Texas when she was in middle school and went to Texas Lutheran College for two years before transferring to Louisiana State University. She hikes, camps, backpacks, canoes, collects rocks, and works is in the finance department at a Presbyterian Church. Christi has been working in non-profit finance for almost 20 years. 
She started caving in 1987 in San Antonio. Christi participated in the Cascade Caverns Restoration Project (2010), Caverns of Sonora restoration project (2005), and manages the Cave Without A Name in Texas. Christi has held offices in the Texas Speleological Association and is a member of the Texas Cave Management Association.
Sources: TCMA, The Maverick Bull, Vol. 18, Issue 8, BearFacts Newsletter 2010, The Texas Caver 2005

Cinthia Campos Named 2017 Extraordinary Caver

Cinthia Campos 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. Cinthia became interested in caving while attending an archaeology class in college. She is a certified HeartSaver and cave mapper/cartographer. Cinthia participates in the Quintana Roo Cave Mapping Project and has discovered 26 subterranean sites. She launched the Tarascan Cave Reconnaissance to survey sites in Michoacán, a region of Mexico that is largely unexplored and even did work to preserve bats in Mexican caves that were threatened by guano poachers. Welcome Cinthia and congratulations on becoming an EWC!

"Murder Hole Cave" Preserving Cave History for Future Generations [Webinar]

Join Extraordinary Woman Caver and author Marian McConnell and videographer David Socky on Mar 23, 2017 at 8:00 PM CDT.Register now!
Videographer David Socky, and Author Marian McConnell, talk about the Murder Hole cave movie and books as an example of preserving cave history for future generations. This infamous cave in Catawba, Virginia, is now the subject of a book and a movie documentary; both of which educate (and entertain) the public about cave safety, conservation, and lessons learned from the past. Stories, artwork, photographs, and music, as well as more modern tools such as drones, helmet-mounted cameras, and video was used to preserve the history of this significant cave. As McConnell likes to say, "Someday, when my ashes are strewn into the Murder Hole daylight cave, the new owner and visitors will have an 'owner's manual' about this very special place."
David has been actively caving since 1974. He has caved throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico, Mexico…

Tanya Masse Leach is Named Extraordinary Women Caver!

Tanya 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. Tanya is a Army veteran and traveling Laboratory Technologist. Her favorite aspect of caving is cave projects and especially mapping. Tanya attended the All-Grrs-Cave-Trip (AGCT) and the Northwest Caving Association Regional Event last year and has volunteered for many cave-related projects such as the TX Hydro Geo workshop, Buckaloo Cave survey, and the Spinx Cave clean up. Welcome Tanya! We are so happy you have become an Extraordinary Woman Caver!

Khalvin Cook Celebrates 5 Years with EWLS!

Khalvin Cook has been Vice President of EWLS for 5 years! He helps with everything from cooking events meals to managing safety in difficult cave trips. Thank you for being awesome!

Underwater Proposal

In honor of Valentines Day, EWLS wants to share this story written by the Kokomo Tribune about Marcy Boyd and Tim Stahl who met as cave divers. The couple began dating in March 2007 and Tim proposed underwater about a year later. "To us, this is how it's supposed to be," Tim said.

Read the story here:

Tabitha Rossman Celebrates Two Years with EWLS!

Tabitha Rossman has been with us for 2 years! She manages the Instagram Photography blog, creates numerous community relationships, shares her awesome photography, and writes articles. We appreciate all you do lady!