US Air Force Academy Youth Center

What a great way to spend Spring Break!  50 children (and some teachers and parents) explored CaveSim during our second trip to the US Air Force Academy Youth Center. A huge thank-you to Mr. Dick Blenz for sponsoring this event!

All three of these USAFA Youth Center staff members (including Kyla, center, who arranged our visit) had a great time exploring CaveSim. Photo by Dave Jackson.

STEM Night, Patriot Elementary School, Fort Carson Army Base

This great event on Fort Carson kept us very busy with CaveSim — over 700 people attended, and several hundred went through CaveSim in just 1.5 hours!

A soldier explores CaveSim during the Patriot Elementary STEM night on Fort Carson. Photo by Tracy Jackson.

Legacy Academy 5th grade program

About 46 5th grade students (and their teachers!) explored CaveSim at Legacy Academy in Elizabeth, CO during a 3 hour program.  The students did hands-on geology lessons, role-played the lives of bats, practiced cave rescue with a real stretcher, and helped with carbide lamp demonstrations.  The students are studying ecosystems, so they enjoyed discovering and talking about all of the (artificial) cave life that we have inside CaveSim.

Texas Cavers’ Reunion, San Antonio, TX

We had a crowd of cavers exploring CaveSim and competing for most-careful-caver for two days at TCR 2015.  Photo by Dave Jackson.

TCR is an event not to miss!  If you didn’t make it this year, come on down to the San Antonio area next year for this great multi-day event.

 CoolScience Carnival Day at UCCS

For the fifth year in a row, CaveSim attended this very popular free public event.  If you missed us this year, look for us next year here near the West Lawn at UCCS.

Dave traded his cowboy hat for a helmet at the CoolScience Carnival at UCCS. Photo by Jackson Fulcher.


Adam’s birthday party

Adam and his friends had a great time celebrating his eighth birthday at CaveSim.

A Taste of Lone Tree at Lincoln Commons

Several thousand people showed up for this public event (tickets required) in Lone Tree (south Denver) from 1-7PM.  CaveSim was very popular and we kept busy all day.  There was great food, drink, and vendors, too.


Left: A girl explores CaveSim with one of our new lights donated by ElSpeleo. Right: Boys watching carefully to make sure they don’t hit the formations. Photos by Erik Mattson.

Kids learning about cave paintings from Dave. Photo by Erik Mattson

STEM Rocks event at Peterson AFB, 8/29/2015, 10AM-2PM

Thank you to Challenger Learning Center Colorado Springs for inviting us to participate in this event for children of Air Force service members.  CaveSim was so popular that people waited an hour to go through, and some waited another hour to go through again.  Visitors waiting in line learned all about caves, watched carbide demos, and saw our new rope work demo from 10AM-2PM.  About 1700 people attended the event.


Kids get ready to carry the sked (a type of rescue stretcher) (above left), and Dave doing a carbide demonstration on a piece of slate (above right). Photos: Hans Hofmann.


Dave demonstrates the awesome lights donated by El Speleo (above left), and Dave doing a prusik lesson (above right). A prusik is a type of knot used by cavers to ascend a rope. Learn more about prusiks here. Photos: Hans Hofmann.


2015 NSS Convention, Waynesville, MO

Kids and adults hanging out and having fun at CaveSim during NSSCON2015. Photo by Rangerdj Hall.

Members of the Boston Mountain Grotto (BMG) pose with Dave outside of CaveSim holding the BMG sponsor sign.

The 2015 NSS Convention in Waynesville, MO was a big success.  Cavers took over 200 trips through CaveSim despite the high heat and humidity (we did run an air conditioner in the trailer, but it had a hard time keeping up!)  We also worked with about 31 elementary school children from the local school district.  They explored CaveSim, played cave- and bat-related games and did our hands-on activities.  We also gave each student a copy of the NSS News to take home so that their families could learn more about caves and conservation.

We are very excited to announce that Doug Warner of QueVer donated two incredible El Speleo lights.  We will be mounting these on helmets for use during CaveSim events.  This will be incredibly helpful in giving participants more light while they explore (to compensate for particpants’ eyes not adjusting to the dark quickly enough), and it will save us a lot of time and cost because we won’t have to use disposable batteries for two of our helmets.  Thank you, Doug and El Speleo!


A huge thank you to those who sponsored the trip:

Mr. Dick Blenz. Here’s his story from serving in WWII
Mr. Keith Wheeland 
Mr. Paul Schwotzer
         Meramec Valley Grotto      

ExxonMobil Bernard Harris Summer Science Camp

48 students in a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) summer camp explored CaveSim and did a bunch of other great activities.  In addition to exploring the trailer, the students built waterproof flashlights from scratch with help from Beth Austin, one of Tracy’s coworkers.  The students also learned about electronics equipment, took tours of Dave’s cave-building lab, and learned about geology from veteran teacher Sally McCracken.  Photos below are by STEM camp staff.


Students work on building waterproof flashlights. The students built simple circuits with LEDs and switches, and then enclosed them in hand-made waterproof cases.

Dave’s coworker Glenn Wood gives a demonstration of a Keysight oscilloscope with wired cave rescue phones.  Glenn is also one of our Kickstarter backers (he donated to buy the CaveSim trailer).  His sons Jay and Ethan also helped with the event.

Students read about the cave-exploration challenge that they’ve chosen.


Left: Students get ready to explore the CaveSim trailer.  Right: A student emerges from the CaveSim squeezebox.

REACH program, Colorado Springs School

For the fourth year in a row, we had a great program with the Colorado Springs School REACH students.  About two dozen students explored CaveSim, learned about geology, bats and electronics, and practiced cave rescue.  The kids got a kick out of passing the sked (cave rescue stretcher) through our new squeezebox with a fellow student in the sked!

Blossom Festival, Canon City

This fun event was sponsored by the Canon City High School Caving Club.  We had great help from students in the club (and from their teacher-sponsor, Ken Cline)

Kartchner Caverns Earth Day

CaveSim travelled to Arizona to Kartchner Caverns for the second year in a row, this year for a 2-day program for Earth Day weekend.  About 278 people explored CaveSim, and many more enjoyed our demos with carbide lamps and rescue litter.  We also debuted a new demo with our cave rescue phones and some oscilloscopes, newly donated to us. This was our son’s first road trip, and he did great!  A big thank-you to Kartchner Caverns for inviting us down again.

Quick story: Take a careful look at the front of the truck, and you’ll see that something is missing. No front plate! It was so windy on the drive down that our truck’s rear license plate ripped off, leaving the screws behind. In Arizona, only a rear plate is required, so we put the front plate on the back of the truck, and then got new plates when we got home to Colorado. We now have more bolts holding both plates on.


Left: Dave driving CaveSim past the Kartchner Caverns main gate. Right: Our young caver driving the truck, with a tape measure handy for building more cave. Photos by Tracy Jackson