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
People gather around the CaveSim trailer at the CoolScience Festival. Photo: Jay Alexander.
A boy avoids the cave bacon while exploring the deepest part of CaveSim. This photo was taken by looking in one of our three emergency exits. The black box to the right of the boy is a cave rescue cache like the ones located in many Colorado caves. Photo: DeeAnn Rothstein, CoolScience.
Dave, at the back of the trailer. Participants enter and exit at the front of the trailer. Photo: DeeAnn Rothstein, CoolScience.
Above left: Dave installs a giant mending plate to reinforce some cribbing in the new CaveSim trailer. Dave makes many of the mending plates from scrap electronics enclosures. This helps reduce the cost and environmental impact of the project. Above right: Dave about to install a wall in the new passage in the trailer. The old passage will continue to be used — we’re just adding to it. Photos: Tracy Jackson.
Left: Cavers gather around CaveSim waiting to explore it. Right: JSS kids try the Loyalhanna squeezebox. Photos by Natalie Pheasant.
In case you had any doubts, CaveSim is great for people of all ages. We had a great time talking with this Airborne veteran at MayaCon, and he did really well crawling through CaveSim.
Here he is reviewing his score with Tracy and Carolyn Parsons:
Photos by Gill Gilliland
Brentan and Liz Alexander
Maureen and Bill Barton
Dick Blenz (see note below)
Mike and Lisette Casey
Marshall and Shannon Comisar
Ann-Li and Mike Cooke
Gill and Theresa Gilliland
Andrew and Tricia Gregg
Michael and Fish Gundlach
Scott and Amy Hall
Juli and Robert Jackson
Mary Kay and Charles Jackson
Brad and Alice Kaanta
Ben and Sarah Knighten
Nathan and Elizabeth Long
Matt and Laura Martin
Christina and Jesse Rochette
Groups (click to visit)
Amber (left) and Hailie (right) from Atlas Prep enjoy CaveSim during their REACH summer program. Photos: Kelsey, REACH staff.
Hailie, playing Bat And Moth, tries to tag other students (moths) using her echolocation. Photo: Kelsey, REACH
Quentin plays the part of a bat in the Bat Migration Challenge. The orange tape represents a bat armband (bats get banded for scientific research, just like birds). Photo: Kelsey, REACH.