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.
Above left, boys get ready to enter CaveSim. Above right, two brothers and their dad get first-hand experience with pulleys and mechanical advantage on the CaveSim tower. Photos by City of Austin staff.
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:
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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!)
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.
What an awesome event, and a great way for us to return to our roots! Dave invented CaveSim after a cave rescue training at Glenwood Caverns, and it was great to re-connect with old friends and meet new folks. We had great turn-out and wonderful weather. A huge thank you to Ken Newton, Kathy Keeler, and Cole Newton for helping to make this event such a success, and to Kathy Miller for organizing the event in celebration of National Cave and Karst Day.
Above, participants learn about bat biology and speleogenesis (how caves form) from CaveSim inventor and owner Dave Jackson. Photo by Chelsea Self / Glenwood Springs Post Independent.
Above, two participants explore deep inside the CaveSim system. Photo by Chelsea Self / Glenwood Springs Post Independent.
Above, a participant pull herself to the top of the CaveSim ascending A-frame with a little help from Dave and a lot of help from the 5:1 pulley system. Photo by Kathy Miller / Glenwood Caverns.
Above, participants get ready to lift the Skedco cave rescue stretcher with instruction from Dave. Photo by Kathy Miller / Glenwood Caverns.
We had a great time working with this fantastic school for the first time. We worked with about 155 students in grades pre-K through 6 from 8AM-2:50PM, and had phenomenal help from Patricia Malone. A big thank-you to teacher Miles Groth for working with us to organize this program, and for taking all of the photos below.
Personal challenge, teamwork, & learning are all hallmarks of kids’ experiences with the CaveSim vertical caving tower.
The cave rescue stretcher is another great team-building activity. Today, CaveSim facilitator Patricia Malone (in the blue shirt at the back) led this lesson.
In the foreground, students play a bat echolocation game, while students in the background learn about pulleys on the vertical caving tower.
The mobile CaveSim system is always really popular, even with the youngest students. Cascade, CO is a wonderfully picturesque place for a program, and we enjoyed the smell of juniper the whole day!
CaveSim is not just for little kids! Ute Pass Elementary includes 6th grade, and the older students had a great time exploring and competing for the best CaveSim score.
Even teachers enjoy participating in CaveSim programs. Here, students work hard to lift a teacher on the CaveSim tower. Of course, they’re working only about one fifth as hard as they would work without the 5:1 pulley system. Hooray for physics!
Bringing CaveSim to Good Shepherd for 87 sixth and seventh grade students was great fun, and we’re so glad that teacher Annette Humphrey worked with us to organize this great program! We had fantastic help from Jackson Fulcher, Patricia Malone, and Monica and Mara Backsen. Mara is an 8th grade student who did an awesome job teaching the younger students about bats and epidemiology with our new White Nose Syndrome lab.
Students have fun learning about echolocation and bats. All photos from this program by Monica Backsen.
8th grade student Mara Backsen teaches the 6th and 7th graders about bats and gives instructions for the epidemiology lab.
Students having fun learning about White Nose Syndrome and epidemiology.
Students show the results of their White Nose Syndrome lab with a giant graph.
This two-day program for Environmental Engineering students included exploration of CaveSim as well as THREE of our fantastic STEM labs. We are honored to be invited back to Carson Middle for the second year. We worked with about 100 students over the course of 2 days, which allowed us to do so many of our really cool labs.
Thanks to everyone who helped, including Antoinette, Jackson, Christine, Todd, and Troy.
Middle school teacher Hannah Bell and her husband Chris pose for some photos at the CaveSim entrance. Photos by Jackson Fulcher.
We were so glad to be able to do this program on just a few days notice! Working with the staff of this after-school program is always a pleasure, and this 2nd-5th grade students were great to work with. They explored the trailer, enjoyed the squeezebox and Sked, played several bat games, and got to see carbide lamp demonstrations.
Silly faces at the end of a great program in Aurora (photo by Sam Welvaert)
Fun with the squeezebox (photo by Sam Welvaert)
CaveSim designs, builds, and uses interactive caves to teach kids about conservation and science. We believe that kids who know better become adults who do better.