Caving Camp participants put conservation into practice

At CityRock, our caving camps are about much more than just having fun. Our participants learn the conservation ethic, and sometimes get to put what they’ve learned into practice. During a recent real caving trip, our participants took the time to clean up some terrible vandalism done by thoughtless people. Here are some pictures of the vandalized area before and after the cleanup:

It’s sad that thoughtless people feel the need to leave their mark on beautiful natural areas, but it’s encouraging that we get to teach young people both to not wreck an area and also to help clean up after others.

Art has it’s place, but that place isn’t on a cave wall covered in delicate crystals! This is what our caving campers took the initiative to clean up. Photos by Khylin Verplank.

After the cleanup, no evidence is left of the mud sculptures on the delicate wall. Photo by Gabe Wright.


Our campers also learned about calcium carbide during this fun demo:


The University School, Colorado Springs, CO

Ever wonder what grade levels can do CaveSim?  During this awesome program for The University School, we worked with every grade from pre-K through high school.  Because we have such a breadth of program capability, each grade level loved our program and we successfully worked with about 200 students from 9AM-5PM.  The staff is already scheduling more programs with us for January 2018!

Science Museum Oklahoma, Oklahoma City, OK, 9AM-6PM

CaveSim was extremely popular at SMO during this second visit.  We did some demonstrations and activities that we didn’t do during our last visit, including our carbide demonstrations (we lit ice on fire!)
Visitors watch Dave (in cowboy hat) do a carbide lamp demonstration while waiting to explore CaveSim. Photo by Amy Hall.  
Noah takes a break in the Sked (cave rescue stretcher). Photo by Amy Hall. 
Isaac and Noah are ready to explore. Photo by Amy Hall.
Left, Claire demonstrates fancy caving attire. Right, William shows that even a two year old can have fun with CaveSim. Photos by Amy Hall.

Hillside Montessori School, LaGrange, GA

A huge thanks to caver Rachel McArthur for working with us to set up this great program at her daughter Brooklyn’s school.  Students in grades K-5 learned geology, cave rescue, safe caving, conservation, and more.


Left, Dave helps with helmets while answering questions about caves. Right, students practice teamwork with a cave rescue stretcher. Photos by Rachel McArthur.


Kids love exploring CaveSim, and are sometimes awestruck. Photos by Rachel McArthur.


CaveSim is about learning and having fun at the same time. Left, students learn speleology (the study of how caves form) and, right, some basic measurement skills with the squeezebox. Photos by Rachel McArthur.

Barnwell Elementary School, Johns Creek, GA

A big thanks to STEM Lab teacher Katie Stiers for helping us coordinate this event!  About 150 5th grade students participated in our three-station program (bats, squeezebox/sked, and CaveSim).  A big thanks to Gill Gilliland for helping with this program.


5th grade students have fun while learning all about caves, geology, chemistry, math, biology, and leadership.  Photos by Katie Stiers. 

CoolScience Carnival, UCCS, Colorado Springs, CO

What a great event!  We’ve been attending since 2011, and we’re honored to participate again this year.  Since the trailer was on the East Coast, we had our vertical caving tower at the CoolScience Carnival, plus our squeezebox, carbide lamp demos, Skedco stretcher, and cave rescue phones.  A huge thanks to Jackson F, Dan S, Gabe W, Lydia G, and Hadley B for staffing this great event from 10AM-4:30PM!

Fernbank Science Center, Atlanta, GA

Kids and adults loved CaveSim at this very popular free public event at Fernbank.  We did lots of carbide lamp demos, and had several hundred people explore the mobile cave from 10AM-5PM.  A huge thanks to Gill and Scott for helping staff this event!
Visitors watch from a safe distance as Dave does a carbide lamp demonstration. Photo by Gill Gilliland.

TAG Fall Cave-In, Menlo, GA

CaveSim was extremely popular during our first trip to the TAG Fall Cave-In.  Cavers of all ages took roughly 400 trips through the mobile cave over a 2.5 day period.  We kept the cave open for about 32 hours, including consecutively from 9AM-1AM on Friday!  Check out the Cave-In on Facebook to learn more.

eleSTEMary teacher training, Colorado Springs

We had a great turnout and lots of teacher enthusiasm at this evening event for public school teachers in the Pikes Peak Region.  Hey kids: did you know that teachers can explore CaveSim too?


Teachers geared up exploring CaveSim. Photos by Nancy Roberts.


Teachers learning about drapery formations (cave bacon) from Dave. Photos by Nancy Roberts.

8th annual What IF Festival, downtown Colorado Springs

CaveSim was a huge hit at this great free public event.


CaveSim is fun for kids of all ages. Father (left) and son (right) had a great time exploring together. Photos by Tracy Jackson


We teach more than just crawling. Left, learning about basic electronics with our cave rescue phones, and right Dave talks with a visitor while Mick helps a boy learn how to ascend using the Frog System. Photos by Tracy Jackson.

Fox21 News covers CaveSim for 8th annual What IF Festival


Left, Dave hangs out during the interview. Right, Dave inside The Portal (life-size Skype) talking with a physician and a mathematician in Afghanistan.  Dave got to talk with the two men about caving, vertical caving gear, education, and a host of other subjects.  Photos by Blue Leaf von Muller.

Dave talks with Deborah Thornton of Imagination Celebration / What If Festival while harnessing up for the early-morning interview with Fox21.  Photo by Blue Leaf von Muller.

Front Range Conference, US Air Force Academy Falcon Club

We were honored to be invited back to present at this educator conference.  Dave presented to both Child Development Center (CDC) and School-Age Center staff, and taught them six hands-on STEM activities, all centered around caves.  Tracy presented two sessions on environmental education, including a subterranean critters class.  We already have new ideas for next year, so if you’re an FSS staff person attending this conference, be sure to sign up for our sessions!

USAFA Youth Center field trip to CaveSim CityROCK

About 18 students from the Falcon Trail Youth Center at the US Air Force Academy came to the CaveSim installation at CityROCK Climbing Gym to get a taste of vertical caving (rappelling, ascending).  They also explored the CaveSim system under the climbing gym, which they loved.  The program was so popular that we’re planning a week-long version for the spring.

PG Retreat, Glen Eyrie, Colorado Springs, CO

We were honored to be invited back for a second year to this conference and retreat for Profoundly Gifted children and their families.  Our vertical caving tower was a big hit with kids and adults alike!

Elizabeth’s birthday party

Elizabeth and her dad Floyd have been incredible helpers with our CaveSim vertical caving camps, and we had a great time giving Elizabeth an incredible free birthday party at the CaveSim trailer.