– We worked with the JSS for 3 hours on Monday. In addition to exploring CaveSim, they experienced sinkholes with a hands-on activity, did patient packaging and transport with a real sked, played with real cave phones (field phones), played a bat migration game, and played a bat ecolocation game.
– Quite a number of university students from right here on campus have stopped by during the last few days to explore CaveSim. We’ve had several football players explore caves for the first time, and it’s a good thing their first trip was not in a real cave!
– I brought 3 high school students with us from Colorado. These 3 students (Brian, Emily and Sierra) are all cavers back home, and they’re learning about educating others about cave conservation. They’ve done a great job of teaching the younger participants.
– We’ve had quite a number of people compete in the speleolympics thus far. Our best scores so far are:
Women: 0 damage, 2mins, 41secs
Men: 1 damage, 2mins, 7secs
Youth: 0 damage, 2mins, 49secs
Two friends learn about field phones after exploring CaveSim. Learn more here: http://fieldphone.blogspot.com/. Thanks to Jeff Polk for putting the phones on loan. Photos by Dave Jackson.
About 40 rescue personnel, fire fighters, EMTs and cavers learned about cave rescue, and participated in a mock rescue in a real cave this past weekend! CaveSim took part in the NCRC Orientation to Cave Rescue by giving rescue trainees a great sense of what a real cave is like. Two evacuation teams carried volunteer patients through CaveSim, as shown below. Rescuers found that communication and patient safety can be difficult to manage in tight spaces filled with delicate formations. Visit www.coloradocaverescue.org to learn more about cave rescue in Colorado. Photos by Steve Reames and Dave Jackson.
How much cave education can you fit in four hours? A lot, as 37 teachers learned today at CaveSim and Cave of the Winds. The teachers took special trips through CaveSim, did hands-on cave science activities at several stations with Tracy, and took custom cave tours at Cave of the Winds led by Dave and Tracy. We did the program for the Peak Area Leadership in Science group, which lets teachers earn continuing education credit. A huge thanks to them for including us in their program.
Highlights of the CaveSim portion of the program included cave survey work for a few teachers, along with searches by other teachers for archaeological artifacts and ecological evidence within CaveSim (thanks to Tracy for getting the terracotta jug). In the process, the teachers learned about lampshade spiders, Golondrinas swallows, micro-habitats, corrosion residue, and a host of other speleological topics.
At Tracy’s science stations, the teachers created miniature sinkholes. They grew cave formations, and they worked at mineral identification.
After the CaveSim and science station work, we went to Cave of the Winds to explore a real cave on trips led by Dave and Tracy (thanks to Cave of the WInds for allowing us to be tour guides for the day!) The teachers built on what they learned earlier by seeing real beaded helictites, corrosion residue, joint-controlled cave systems, shields, and more. Some of the teachers even got to see lampshade spider webs.
If you’re a teacher or if you’re interested in our cave education programs, check out our new programs brochure. We love using CaveSim to teach kids about a wide variety of subjects (almost every subject you can think of ties into CaveSim: science, technology, engineering, math, archaeology, history, geology, biology, ecology, chemistry, art, and even physical education).
10 high school students from The Colorado Springs School came to visit CaveSim today (here’s an article written by the students about the trip). The students are in a seminar course about rock art (petroglyphs, pictographs, etc.) Their teachers decided that CaveSim would be a great way to introduce the students to the concept of exploring fragile environments. Tracy added cave paintings to CaveSim specifically for this group, and Dave added sensors to the cave paintings to warn visitors when they get too close to the rock art. As the students crawled through CaveSim, they toted their sketch books and learned that it can be difficult to sketch in small cave passage! The students also learned about a host of other topics, including geology, history, cave safety, and biology (e.g. rock varnish and white nose syndrome). The students did an excellent job, and we enjoyed working with them.
We enjoyed having Anna over because we believe in inspiring young people to follow their passion, whether that be electronics, science, art, or something else. As we always tell kids, if you’re willing to learn and work hard, you too can build cool things like CaveSim.
Thanks again to everyone who supports us — you help us to teach kids like Anna to follow their dreams.
Kids and staff thank Corporal Dick Blenz, a WWII veteran and caver who sponsored the CaveSim trip to USAFA. Photo: Dave Jackson
Kids learn about how difficult cave rescue is. They’re moving a sked (like a stretcher) that contains the weight of an adult man. Photo: Tracy Jackson