News

Edwards Aquifer Authority, San Antonio, TX

Dave was honored to be invited by Geary Schindel to be the guest speaker at an installment of the Edwards Aquifer Brown Bag Lunch series.  In addition to presenting about CaveSim’s educational activities, Dave and CaveSim staff member Mary Hicks brought CaveSim to the Edwards Aquifer Authority for staff and visitors to explore.  Despite the rain, we had about twenty folks explore the cave during their lunch break.  A big thank-you to Alf Hawkins for taking the pictures below and allowing us to share them with you!

Natural Bridge Caverns, San Antonio, TX

What an awesome turnout we had for this two-day event!  We had wonderful help from volunteers Jon Cradit and Frances Ruby, as well as from CaveSim staff member Mary Hicks.

 

Above, San Antonio caver Bennett Lee is all smiles as he explores CaveSim for the first time, and some siblings have fun learning about vertical caving on the 12′ CaveSim tower.  Photos by Frances Ruby.

Below, a zoomed-in picture of our new, comfy, and very safe Bosun’s chair (which is also much easier to put on than a traditional harness).

 

Brentwood Elementary School, Austin, TX

We were so excited to be invited back to this awesome school!  We had wonderful help from CaveSim staff member Mary Hicks and volunteer Patty Calabrese.

Denver Museum of Nature and Science SCFD Community Free Day, 10AM-4PM

Above, a participant gets first-hand experience with pulleys and mechanical advantage on the 12′ CaveSim A-frame.  Photo by Teresa Johnson.

Below, learning about stalactites and other speleothems from CaveDave (in red).  Photo by Teresa Johnson.

A busy day at CaveSim despite the cold weather at our DMNS program. Photo by Teresa Johnson.

Cedar Ridge Elementary Family Nature Night, Pueblo West, CO, 5-7PM

In partnership with the Colorado Department of Parks and Wildlife (CPW), we put on a great program for 123 students and family members.  We had fantastic help from friend and fellow caver Christine Kirkland, and the weather was perfect for the evening program.  The photos below are by CPW staff.

          

CaveSim’s Dave Jackson, in red, teaches students about the physics of pulleys and friction as they have fun on the 12′ CaveSim A-frame.

          

Kids have fun exploring CaveSim, and learning from awesome CaveSim helper Christine Kirkland.

Cool Science Carnival Day, UCCS, 10AM-4PM

We had great weather and a fantastic turnout for this free public event.  Thank you to all those who helped make this program possible, including Layla Borgens.

Photo by Floyd Fernandez

Recreation Center programs for PARD, Austin, TX, October 8, 2018

Kids from around Austin came to the Doris Miller Rec Center for a fun, hands-on program all about caves, science, and conservation.  This program was made possible by the generosity of Austin’s Watershed Protection Department, and reached a great group of students from diverse backgrounds.

 

Above, an Austin Nature & Science Center staff member uses the CaveSim squeezebox to teach kids about math and measurement skills.  Photo by ANSC staff.

Below, CaveSim inventor Dave Jackson (in red) demonstrates speleogenesis (how caves form) using weak acid and a variety of rock types. Photo by ANSC staff.

Above, students gain first-hand experience with physics and mechanical advantage using the CaveSim tower. Photo by ANSC staff.

Grove Public Schools, OK, Sept 26-27 & Oct 1-4

This six-day program for hundreds of students in three schools was an exciting expansion of our four-day program last year.  A huge thank-you to teacher and caver Deitra Biely for putting this together with us, and also to the Grove Public School foundation (GEFFE) for funding the program.  Our staff for the program did a phenomenal job, and included Mary Hicks, Jesse Yazetti, and Brent Biely.

Here are some pictures by Mary Hicks of the high school portion of our program:

 

Above, learning about bat biology outside the CaveSim trailer.  Below, investigating real live cave biota in the lab.

Below, just finished with a fun trip through CaveSim, and having fun learning about pulleys, mechanical advantage, and other physics concepts on the CaveSim 12′ A-frame.

  

Below, getting first-hand experience with friction via our rope-cutting demo.

 

Below, learning some basic electronics concepts while having fun with cave rescue phones.

 

Grove, OK: Students have fun with cave rescue phones while learning about electromagnetics

6th grade teacher Kim Hampton also took some photos of our program with her students:

  

All smiles while emerging from CaveSim, and while having fun with the squeezebox (and learning some math).

 

WhatIF Festival, Colorado Springs, CO

What a great free public program!  Thanks to our great volunteers, including Darren Kelley, Craig Yoder, and Cara and John Green and their kids.

   

Photos by Tracy Jackson.

At 5:30AM, Dave did the following live interview on KOAA News5:

 

Cumberland Gap National Historical Park, Kentucky

A very well-attended 3-day program in a beautiful part of the country!

Roughly 300 people (including 60 3rd graders) enjoyed our programs at Cumberland Gap NHP, and several families had so much fun that they came back a second day.  We had fantastic help from a great group of local cavers, including Cheryl Pratt, Stuart Daw, Darin Baird, and Dr. Terri Brown.  Additional thanks to Michael Gundlach for coming all the way from Georgia to help staff this program.

Allen County Intermediate Center & Barren County Middle School, in partnership with Mammoth Cave National Park staff, Kentucky

Huge thanks to Jennifer Shackelford of the Mammoth Cave Environmental Education department for organizing these programs, and for providing staffing to help us teach about 580 students over the past two days!  We worked with 330 7th grade students on Tuesday, and 250 4th graders on Wednesday.  Long-time CaveSim supporter and friend Michael Gundlach also helped with the programs, and came all the way from Georgia to do so!

The photos below are by the Allen County Schools PR staff.

 

Dave teaches 4th grade students about helictites (above) and gypsum (below).

 

Below, Michael Gundlach introduces students to the many CaveSim activities they will experience, including the squeezebox on which he’s standing.

Below, Dave helps students adjust their helmets in preparation for exploring CaveSim.

Below, a student with an especially good answer gets a high five from Dave during a lesson on speleology (how caves form)

Below, Ranger Jim holds down the lid of the squeezebox while CaveSim staffer Michael Gundlach helps a student measure the opening of the box.

NSS Convention, Helena, MT, July 30-August 3

What an amazing turnout we had this year at Convention!  Lots of local folks enjoyed our free public events, as featured in this TV segment from KTVH:

On Thursday of Convention week, we spent all morning with a great group of kids enrolled in an Inventions camp at the local museum, ExplorationWorks.  Museum staff member Connor Hague took the great pictures below.

          

On Monday and Tuesday, we worked with a different set of summer camp participants.  These elementary school students were participating in a science camp being held at the Convention site (Capital High School).  Each group of campers spent several hours with us.

Above, a mixed group of camp participants and young cavers learns about pulleys and mechanical advantage on the 12 foot CaveSim tower. Photo by Jessica Gordon.

Above, a group of summer camp students learns about CaveSim from Dave prior to donning helmets to explore the system. Photo by Nancy Aulenbach.

Above, a student prepares to take a ride in the CaveSim Sked while other students receive instructions from Dave. Photo by Nancy Aulenbach.

 

On Tuesday, Dave presented at the Conservation Tuesday session.  After the session, attendees came out to learn first-hand about our conservation lessons.

Above, Dave presents during the Conservation Tuesday talks. Below, Convention attendees gather by the trailer to learn about the conservation education work that we’re doing with CaveSim. Photos by Jessica Gordon.

A special thanks to our volunteers!  During Convention week, we had amazing help from Nancy and Brent Aulenbach, Foz Trautner, Jeff Gobin, Barb Smith, Aimee Beveridge, Ken Newton, Kathy Keeler, Beth Cortright, Red Schrock, Charles Kahn, Kate Bach, Andrea Croskrey, Van, Sierra Hiemel, Gabe Wright, and many others.

A huge thank you to all of our awesome sponsors:

 Barb Bentzin and Bob Montgomery with 

       

          

     

       

        

 

Program at the Illuminating Darkness Montana Cave Exploration exhibit, Ravalli County Museum, Hamilton, MT

   

Above, participants finish exploring CaveSim, and have fun learning about pulleys and mechanical advantage from Gabe Wright. Photos by Ravalli County Museum staff.

We had such a great time bringing CaveSim to this great museum, and we are so excited that we were able to work alongside Mike McEachern and his wife, who have created the incredible Illuminating Darkness exhibit (shown in Mike’s pictures below).

  

  

Old Fashioned 4th of July, Woodland Park, CO

We’re so excited to have participated in this great celebration for the 3rd year in a row!  We had great help from Jackson, Mara, and Monica, and we had a fantastic turnout.

PG Retreat, Glen Eyrie, Colorado Springs, CO, 9:30AM-5PM

We are so honored to have been invited back to the PG Retreat for the third year in a row.  We didn’t bring the CaveSim mobile cave, but we had our vertical caving tower and we did three fantastic lab programs, including cave biology, electronics, mechanical systems, and chemistry.  We had great help from Jackson, Mara, and Monica.

Outdoor Skills Day, Mueller State Park, Divide, CO

We’ve been participating in this event since 2015, and we were so excited to bring CaveSim to Mueller again!  We had great turnout and were busy all day.  A special thanks to our friend Gary Ammarell for volunteering with us today (on his wife’s birthday, even!)

    

11th Annual National Get Outdoors Day, Sloan’s Lake Park, Denver, CO

We are so honored that the US Forest Service invited us back to this event for the second year in a row.  We had an amazing crew, including Rick, Gaylene, June, Dave G., and Chris C.  We worked with several hundred visitors as they enjoyed the mobile cave system, our vertical caving tower, squeezebox, and lots of other free, educational activities.

  

Above left, Rick Speaect teaches a family about pulleys and mechanical advantage on the 12′ CaveSim A-frame.  Above right, Dave Gnuse and Gaylene Speaect work with a participant as she prepares to enter CaveSim.  Photos by Randall Taylor / US Forest Service.

Above, Chris Carter (L) and Dave Jackson (R) stand by CaveSim’s cool table of incredible cave stuff, including carbide lamps and artificial formations. Photo by Randall Taylor / US Forest Service.

Rick Speaect outfitted for vertical caving in his Frog System. Photo by Randall Taylor / US Forest Service.