CaveSim program at Mountain Song Community School

About 23 6th grade students from the Mountain Song Community School in Old Colorado City experienced CaveSim on Friday.  They did many of our activities, including:

  • Explored the cave in the trailer while trying not to hit the electronically-sensed cave formations
  • Practiced cave rescue by carrying one another around in our sked (rescue stretcher)
  • Learned about basic circuits with our field phones (used in cave rescue)
  • Roleplayed the lives of bats with our bat migration game, and learned about White Nose Syndrome
  • Crawled through our squeezebox to see how tight a space they could fit through
  • Learned about carbide lamps and cave history with our working lamp
  • Made sinkholes in cups to learn about geology

The students asked great questions, and engaged with all of our activities.  A big thanks to their teacher, Mr. McDonald, and to both parent volunteers who helped to organize and run the program.

Mountain Song 6th grade class and their teacher at the front of CaveSim. Photo by Dave Jackson. Photo waivers on file.

Cub Scout pack 26

Over 30 scouts from pack 26 in Colorado Springs explored CaveSim during their pack meeting.  They also practiced cave rescue using our sked and field phones, and they really enjoyed our squeezebox.  The carbide lamp demos worked great in the dark, as did the new LED floodlights that we’ve mounted on the trailer for evening events.

The Wildlife Experience

Thanks to Colorado Parks and Wildlife, we had a great day at The Wildlife Experience (TWE) in Parker, CO. First, we taught 25 educators a variety of hands-on lessons for teaching their students about bats and cave conservation.  The educators had a great time – several went through CaveSim more than once, and one educator even volunteered to be carried around in our cave rescue litter.  One educator and a TWE staff member even took the challenge of making their own map of CaveSim.  After lunch, CaveSim was available to all museum visitors at no extra charge. There were also live bat demonstrations.  Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) provided the funding that made it possible for us to bring CaveSim to this event — CPW also does an outstanding job of working with local cavers as they do research about White Nose Syndrome.

Time-lapse video of at The Wildlife Experience.

CoolScience Carnival Day, UCCS

For the fifth year in a row, CaveSim educated hundreds of kids and adults at UCCS (University of Colorado at Colorado Springs) during the CoolScience festival.  We had great volunteers: a huge thanks to Dani, Todd, Floyd, Bekah, Slade, Kevin, and our other volunteers.  Floyd took some great pictures of the event:


Above left: Kids learning about cave formations from Dave while waiting to go through CaveSim. Above right: Visitors review their scores with the help of Dani (red shirt), one of our awesome volunteers.  Photos by Floyd Fernandez.


Above left: Visitors learned about cave formations, cave rescue gear, bats and more.  Above right: our new squeezebox lets participants safely try fitting through a tight squeeze.  Quick-release action prevents visitors from getting stuck.  Photos by Floyd Fernandez.


Above left: A cave model built several years ago by 4th and 5th graders in Catamount Institute‘s Young Environmental Stewards club is still in use today. It demonstrates the challenges posed by quarrying near caves.  Above right: A panoramic view of our event. Visitors waiting in line stay engaged with our many lessons and demos. Photos by Floyd Fernandez.

A time-lapse video of our event. We keep pretty busy!  Video by Dave Jackson

“A Taste of Lone Tree”, Lone Tree, CO

Hundreds of kids and adults learned about cave conservation by exploring the CaveSim mobile cave at this two-day event. Our sked, field phones and carbide lamps were a big hit with visitors too.


A girl and her dad explore CaveSim.                               A girl learns about carbide lamps from Dave.


An on-duty fireman with South Metro Fire Rescue practiced his confined space training by crawling through CaveSim. Photos: Gill Gilliland.

NSS 2014 Convention

A Junior Speleological Society participant gets ready to enter CaveSim, which was run by a great bunch of volunteers, including Red Schrock (left).  Photo by Natalie Pheasant
Highlights of the 2014 NSS Convention included:
  • More than 20 fantastic volunteers helped to run CaveSim while we were at home expecting our first baby. Thank you to everyone who helped!
  • Kim Fleischmann wrote, “I had a great time volunteering for CaveSim…. we talked to the high school vice principal for a bit. I walked by later & he brought some summer students over to do the CaveSim. This was a bunch of African-American kids who might never step foot inside a cave without this introduction.”
  • The JSS visited CaveSim for a good portion of one day. In addition to exploring CaveSim, they learned about cave rescue, played bat games, and did other hands-on activities.
  • About 250 trips were taken through CaveSim during the week. CaveSim (and our new squeezebox) was used for Speleolympics throughout the week.
  • 30 individuals, grottos and vendors sponsored our trip. Each sponsor was recognized with a laminated sign on the CaveSim trailer, and with recognition on Facebook and on
Convention sponsors:

Dick Blenz (above right) continues to be our biggest sponsor, and he is helping us get to Convention again this year.  Dick is a fellow electrical engineer and caver, and his generosity is truly incredible!


At the 2013 NSS Convention, we borrowed an ElSpeleo light to take pictures inside of CaveSim. The results were fantastic, and we’re still using those photos in our software today. ElSpeleo lights produce even better pictures than the 120V plug-in lights that we normally use for photography!








REACH summer program

For the third consecutive year, students from the REACH summer program visited CaveSim to learn about caves, bats, geology, cave rescue and more. We did our most extensive demo of electronic equipment yet, and the students also got to practice cave rescue using the sked (rescue stretcher). The students will be going into a real wild cave later this week.

KidzFest, Lone Tree, Colorado

CaveSim was invited to the first annual KidzFest in Lone Tree, Colorado. We had many visitors despite closing early due to severe weather.  We had great help from cavers from the Canon City High School Caving club (Sierra, Hans and Cameron), and from Dave Lester and Jeff Polk.  Thanks to Phil Blighton of PB Media for taking and sharing the images below.  Contact Phil at 303-898-6177 for your event, portrait and video needs.
Sierra helps a boy get ready for CaveSim                  Dave teaches a girl about bats

Cresson Elementary School 5/22/2014

Third through sixth graders explored CaveSim on their last day of school.  Thanks to Cresson for inviting us, and to all of the teachers and staff for their support!

Kartchner Caverns Cave Fest

Great trip to Arizona and Kartchner Caverns for the annual Cave Fest. We were there Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and 500 people went through CaveSim. A big thanks to Teresa and Chris for inviting us!

Texas Cavers Reunion

Texas cavers took 192 trips through CaveSim at this year’s TCR.  Special thanks to Bill Steele for doing the fundraising for this event.  We really enjoyed TCR!  Thanks for having us.
Cavers wait to enter CaveSim at TCR  CaveSim was popular at TCR

Left: Cavers about to enter CaveSim. RIght: Cavers of all ages went through CaveSim. Photos: Tracy Jackson

Special cave tours plus CaveSim at Cave of the Winds

17 people participated in awesome special tours of Cave of the Winds led by Dave, Tracy, and other cavers.  Plus, they explored CaveSim. Trip information here.  Some of the proceeds will be used to help maintain and expand CaveSim.
Participants of the special Cave of the Winds tours get ready to go on their muddy, crawling adventure to see parts of the cave that the general public does not generally visit.  Thanks to Cave of the Winds for letting us lead these trips.  Photo: Aaron, Cave of the Winds manager.

CoolScience Festival Day, UCCS

For the fourth year in a row, CaveSim attended the CoolScience Festival Day at University of Colorado at Colorado Springs (UCCS).  Hundreds of people stopped by for this FREE event.  Thanks to the Colorado Grotto for making yet another free CaveSim event possible.  More festival info here.
A boy emerging from CaveSim Boy and dad get ready to cave
Click each photo for a larger version. Photos by Tracy Jackson

CaveSim at Agilent Giving Campaign kick-off event

I was very honored to be asked by Agilent to bring CaveSim to the company charitable giving campaign kick-off event.  By day, I’m an electrical engineer at Agilent, and it was really fun to share my project with all of my co-workers.  All proceeds from this event went to the giving campaign, which supports organizations like United Way.
CaveSim at Agilent
Dave talks with fellow engineers at Agilent, with CaveSim in the background. Photo: Matt Martin.

Boy Scout Troop 287 meeting and court of honor

Dozens of scouts and family members explored CaveSim at a troop meeting of BSA Troop 287 this evening. For many, this was a first exposure to caving, and the scouts learned about cave conservation, and the importance of safety and preparedness for high-adventure activities like caving.

CaveSim receives full patent protection

We received a letter from the US Patent and Trademark Office notifying us that CaveSim’s patent application has been approved in full.  An exciting day!
Dave, tired but pleased, with the letter from the USPTO that indicates full patent issuance. Photo by Mark Phillips

National Speleological Society convention, Shippensburg, PA

Highlights included:
– This great video by Dave Socky of Charles Kahn crawling through CaveSim:
Dave Socky's video
– Over 200 people explored CaveSim for free at Convention this year.  That’s about 1/3 of all registrants!
– We worked with 22 under-privileged high school students (and 7 college students) in the Upward Bound program for about 2.5 hours on Monday.  Most of the students had never been caving before, and they had a fantastic time exploring CaveSim.  They asked brilliant questions, and it was a great opportunity for us to teach the general public about cave conservation.  A big thank-you to Mary Sue Socky for helping us so much by teaching during this great event.
Upward Bound students
Dave gives a closing talk to Upward Bound students, telling them to pursue education in order to create things like CaveSim. Photo by Juli Jackson

– 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.

Sinkhole activity        JSSandSked
Dave leads sinkhole activity. Girl in blue eats some sugar!     Dave teaches patient packaging. Photos: Juli Jackson

– 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!

Beatrice (Dave’s godsister) explores CaveSim.

– 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.

Sierra and Emily (center) help JSS participants get geared up while Brian (seated) runs the computer and Dave (right) looks on. Photo by Juli Jackson
– The wife of a long-time NSS member experienced caving for the first time by exploring CaveSim. She told us CaveSim was the highlight of the convention for her, since she had never been caving before!

The woman above was thrilled to make her first caving trip in CaveSim.

– 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

Field phone challenge
The field phone challenge involves running communications wire and military telephones through CaveSim. Photo: DJ

CaveSim at “Gotta Love Local” Fiesta in Colorado Springs

Hundreds came to Mountain Mama Natural Foods (map here) on Saturday, June 1st between 10AM and 4PM to check out CaveSim for free! In addition to CaveSim, Joe Uveges played fantastic music and there were many vendors. The event was sponsored by Gotta Love It Market and Kitchen. Thanks to Leslie of Seeds Community Cafe for inviting us, and thanks to Gary Amarill for helping out a huge amount today.
Girl and field phone Second girl and field phone

Two friends learn about field phones after exploring CaveSim. Learn more here: Thanks to Jeff Polk for putting the phones on loan. Photos by Dave Jackson.