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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.

UNITE Pre-Collegiate Success Program, UCCS

This was our tenth consecutive day of CaveSim programs during our tour around New Mexico and Colorado.  It was a great program for 22 high school students interested in pursuing engineering careers. This event for the UNITE program included a hands-on electronics lab in which the students design, make, and test waterproof flashlights.

Full STEAM Ahead summer science program, CaveSim’s home base, Manitou Springs, CO

The 17 students in this program had a fantastic time designing and building their own waterproof cave flashlights.  They learned to solder, and got to test their lights in real muddy cave water.  They also explored the CaveSim trailer, enjoyed the squeezebox, Skedco stretcher, and our bat games.  We are honored that we have been asked to do this program (formerly called REACH) each year since 2012!

PEEC Nature Center free public event, Los Alamos, NM

We had several hundred people enjoy CaveSim at this free event at PEEC.  The event was sponsored by Classic Air Medical, who landed one of their helicopters next to the CaveSim trailer.

CaveSim inspires awe.  Photo by Thomas Graves.

CaveSim is fun for adults, too.  Photo by Thomas Graves.

We love teaching, and kids love learning (when you make it fun!)  Dave says, “One thousand years per cubic inch for this formation to grow!” Photo by Thomas Graves.

National Speleological Society Convention, Rio Rancho, NM

Such a great 5-day Convention!  The kids who attended got to do incredible CaveSim electronics labs.

Students soak up a lesson on electronics (based around our cave rescue phones).  The lesson included first-hand experience with time domain and frequency domain relationships and visualization. Photo by Jackson Fulcher.

 

Even the youngest cavers can bravely explore CaveSim. Photo by Jackson Fulcher.

 

Our awesome 2017 Convention sponsors include:

USFS Southwestern Region

Mesilla Valley Grotto       Bill Stringfellow

                                  

Get Outdoors Day, Denver, CO

A big thanks to the US Forest Service for bringing CaveSim to this fun event for the first time!  We were told that CaveSim was “the biggest hit of the event.”

Above: learning Single Rope Techniques (the Frog system!) with help from cavers Kevin Manley and Jen Foote.

Below: Father and daughter pass the cave bacon (drapery formations) inside of CaveSim. Photos by Get Outdoors Day staff.

Atlas Preparatory School summer program

This was our second year working with these great students, and they had an incredible time doing a cool electronics lab during this two-day program — they learned soldering, basic circuits, product design, and much more to create their waterproof flashlights.

US Air Force Academy, Falcon Trail Youth Center, CO

We were honored to be invited back to the Academy for the third time!  As always, the kids loved the cave, but they also loved our new rappelling and ascending tower.  Here are some pictures that parents shared with us:

  

Natalie and her little sister both loved the cave.  Natalie’s shirt sums up why we do so many cave conservation education events: “The Future is us!”  Natalie also got to try the Frog System.  She said that she’s afraid of heights, but she had no trouble going to the top of the 12′ tower.

 

  

Left: Dave gets Ian started with the Frog System. Right: Ian at the top of the tower.

Science Museum Oklahoma, Oklahoma City

Visitors loved this awesome free event at SMO from 9AM-6PM!  Thank you to SMO for making this event possible.

  

The Hall family having a great time exploring CaveSim.  Photos by Amy Hall.

Grove School District programs, Grove OK

This was our second year doing programs for students in the Grove Public School District.  This year, we expanded our program beyond Elementary School and we worked with older students as well.  A huge thanks to caver and teacher Deitra Biely for making this 5-day program happen!

Dave at home preparing Petri dishes with agar for our high school biology lab about cave biota. During the lab at Grove High School, a student asked his teacher, “Why can’t we do this kind of thing in biology class?” to which Dave replied, “This IS biology class!”  Student: “Oh, right!”  Photo by Tracy Jackson. 

   

Left: Dave and Pat demonstrate rappelling and ascending on the new tower. Right: caver Brent Biely having fun in the squeezebox during the after-school program. Photos: Paul Schwotzer.

   

Left: High school biology students explore CaveSim and look for cave biota. Right: Dave teaching knots. Photos by Paul Schwotzer.

    

High school students learn Single Rope Techniques (ascending) on our new tower.  These students volunteered with us later in the week by teaching the 3rd graders all about bats. Photos by Paul Schwotzer.

Legacy Academy, Elizabeth CO

About 54 fifth graders had an incredible time learning all about caves, science, engineering, teamwork, and more at six different stations during this four-hour program.  We had incredible help from five parent volunteers and two CaveSim educators (great job teaching geology, Tracy and Paul!)