Texas Cavers Reunion 10/19/2013
Texas cavers took 192 trips through CaveSim at this year's TCR. Special thanks to Bill Steele for doing the fundraising for this event. We really enjoyed TCR! Thanks for having us.
Left: Cavers about to enter CaveSim. RIght: Cavers of all ages went through CaveSim. Photos: Tracy Jackson
Special cave tours plus CaveSim at Cave of the Winds 10/6/2013
17 people participated in awesome special tours of Cave of the Winds led by Dave, Tracy, and other cavers. Plus, they explored CaveSim. Trip information here.
Some of the proceeds will be used to help maintain and expand CaveSim.
Participants of the special Cave of the Winds tours get ready to go on their muddy, crawling adventure to see parts of the cave that the general public does not generally visit. Thanks to Cave of the Winds for letting us lead these trips. Photo: Aaron, Cave of the Winds manager.
CoolScience Festival Day, UCCS 10/5/2013
For the fourth year in a row, CaveSim attended the CoolScience Festival Day at University of Colorado at Colorado Springs (UCCS). Hundreds of people stopped by for this FREE
event. Thanks to the Colorado Grotto for making yet another free CaveSim event possible. More festival info here.
Click each photo for a larger version. Photos by Tracy Jackson
CaveSim at Agilent Giving Campaign kick-off event 9/12/2013
I was very honored to be asked by Agilent to bring CaveSim to the company charitable giving campaign kick-off event. By day, I'm an electrical engineer at Agilent, and it was really fun to share my project with all of my co-workers. All proceeds from this event went to the giving campaign, which supports organizations like United Way.
Dave talks with fellow engineers at Agilent, with CaveSim in the background. Photo: Matt Martin.
STEM ROCKS! event at Peterson Air Force Base 8/24/2013
Yet another free CaveSim event (made possible by the fuel donation of the Colorado Grotto
)! Hundreds of military families stopped by for a four-hour event to check out CaveSim and learn about caves and bats.
CaveSim receives full patent protection 8/20/2013
We received a letter from the US Patent and Trademark Office notifying us that CaveSim's patent application has been approved in full. An exciting day!
Dave, tired but pleased, with the letter from the USPTO that indicates full patent issuance. Photo by Mark Phillips
Boy Scout Troop 287 meeting and court of honor 8/20/2013
Dozens of scouts and family members explored CaveSim at a troop meeting of BSA Troop 287 this evening. For many, this was a first exposure to caving, and the scouts learned about cave conservation, and the importance of safety and preparedness for high-adventure activities like caving.
National Speleological Society convention, Shippensburg, PA 8/5 - 8/9/2013
- This great video by Dave Socky of Charles Kahn crawling through CaveSim:
- Over 200 people explored CaveSim for free at Convention this year. That's about 1/3 of all registrants!
- We worked with 22 under-privileged high school students (and 7 college students) in the Upward Bound program for about 2.5 hours on Monday. Most of the students had never been caving before, and they had a fantastic time exploring CaveSim. They asked brilliant questions, and it was a great opportunity for us to teach the general public about cave conservation. A big thank-you to Mary Sue Socky for helping us so much by teaching during this great event.
Dave gives a closing talk to Upward Bound students, telling them to pursue education in order to create things like CaveSim. Photo by Juli Jackson
- We worked with the JSS for 3 hours on Monday. In addition to exploring CaveSim, they experienced sinkholes with a hands-on activity, did patient packaging and transport with a real sked, played with real cave phones (field phones), played a bat migration game, and played a bat ecolocation game.
Dave leads sinkhole activity. Girl in blue eats some sugar! Dave teaches patient packaging. Photos: Juli Jackson
- Quite a number of university students from right here on campus have stopped by during the last few days to explore CaveSim. We've had several football players explore caves for the first time, and it's a good thing their first trip was not in a real cave!
Beatrice (Dave's godsister) explores CaveSim.
- I brought 3 high school students with us from Colorado. These 3 students (Brian, Emily and Sierra) are all cavers back home, and they're learning about educating others about cave conservation. They've done a great job of teaching the younger participants.
Sierra and Emily (center) help JSS participants get geared up while Brian (seated) runs the computer and Dave (right) looks on. Photo by Juli Jackson
- The wife of a long-time NSS member experienced caving for the first time by exploring CaveSim. She told us CaveSim was the highlight of the convention for her, since she had never been caving before!
The woman above was thrilled to make her first caving trip in CaveSim.
- We've had quite a number of people compete in the speleolympics thus far. Our best scores so far are:
Women: 0 damage, 2mins, 41secs
Men: 1 damage, 2mins, 7secs
Youth: 0 damage, 2mins, 49secs
The field phone challenge involves running communications wire and military telephones through CaveSim. Photo: DJ
Thanks to our fuel-money sponsors: Dick Blenz, SpeleoSoap
, Inner Mountain Outfitters
, MET Grotto, York Grotto, Baltimore Grotto, Philly Grotto
, Boston Grotto, the Pennsylvania Cave Conservancy, the Cave Conservancy Foundation, the East Tennessee Grotto
, Central NJ Grotto
, Flittermouse Grotto
, Central Connecticut Grotto
, Commander Cody Caving Club
, Central Ohio Grotto
, Cleveland Grotto
, Philadelphia Grotto
, Nittany Grotto
, Frederick Grotto, Charlottesville Grotto
, Pine Mountain Grotto
, Franklin County Grotto
, Helderberg-Hudson Grotto
, and Bubble Cave LLC.
Thanks to the Philly Grotto
, we're now very close to our gas-money goal, and we'll be able to make it to the 2013 NSS Convention!CaveSim at "Gotta Love Local" Fiesta in Colorado Springs 6/1/2013
Hundreds came to Mountain Mama Natural Foods (map here
) on Saturday, June 1st between 10AM and 4PM to check out CaveSim for free! In addition to CaveSim, Joe Uveges
played fantastic music and there were many vendors. The event was sponsored by Gotta Love It Market and Kitchen. Thanks to Leslie of Seeds Community Cafe for inviting us, and thanks to Gary Amarill for helping out a huge amount today.
Two friends learn about field phones after exploring CaveSim. Learn more here: http://fieldphone.blogspot.com/
. Thanks to Jeff Polk for putting the phones on loan. Photos by Dave Jackson.
The Cleveland Grotto and the Central Ohio Grotto have both decided to sponsor our trip to Convention. A big thanks to all the members of both grottos!
The Central Connecticut Grotto
voted today to sponsor CaveSim's trip to Convention. This really means a lot to us because CCG has spent a lot on other projects recently, and it's really an honor that they're also willing to support CaveSim. They recently supported cave conservation efforts, the new NSS headquarters
, disaster relief in New York and rescue training via NCRC
. An extra helping of thanks to CCG! A big thanks also to Danny Brass (editor of CCG'sUnderground Movement
) for being so supportive of CaveSim. We are now 71% of the way to our gas-money goal for the trip to the 2013 NSS Convention
A big thanks to the Central New Jersey Grotto for deciding to sponsor CaveSim's trip to Convention! Thus far, 11 grottos and other groups have decided to sponsor the trip.
We are very happy to announce that CityROCK Climbing Center
has decided to work with us to build a cave in their climbing gym. The cave system will have hundreds of feet of horizontal and vertical passage, and of course it will have CaveSim formations and electronics. Construction will start soon. Stay tuned!
Falcon Middle School 6th graders explore CaveSim 5/15/2013
Quote of the day: "This is the best science class I've had -- ever!"
150 6th graders explored CaveSim today at Falcon Middle School. They're studying rocks and the rock cycle, and they learned all about speleogenesis (how caves form). They also learned about cave rescue, and some even saw a TP-6N field telephone, used for in-cave communication during rescues (see http://fieldphone.blogspot.com/
). A big thanks to Jeff Polk for putting these phones on long-term loan. Also, a big thanks to Margaret Browne (Falcon Middle School science teacher) for inviting us, and for helping so much during the day (helping with gear, providing lunch and helping to maintain order!)
Falcon Middle School teachers David (math) and Margaret (science). Photo by Dave Jackson
Mountain Equipment Recyclers open house crawls with fun 5/11/2013
Several hundred people turned out for Mountain Equipment Recycler's
spring open house today. Many of them enjoyed CaveSim. A big thanks to MER for inviting us to take part (and for donating several Petzl helmets!) Be sure to check out their store on Tejon St. for great used gear.
Brendan, Mike and Julie Mazzola of MER. A SpeleoSoap bat hangs behind Mike. Photo: Dave Jackson
Thanks to the generosity of the Pennsylvania Cave Conservancy, we are now 42% of the way to our gas-money goal of $1400 for the trip to the 2013 NSS Convention in Shippensburg, PA.
A huge thanks to the MET Grotto, York Grotto, Baltimore Grotto, and Boston Grotto for generously helping to sponsor CaveSim's trip to the 2013 NSS Convention. If you're a member of one of these grottos, be sure to introduce yourself to Dave at Convention so that he can thank you in person! We're now 36% of the way to our gas-money goal of $1400.
SWAYGO Gear sponsors CaveSim
SWAYGO Gear has generously decided to be a sponsor of CaveSim. SWAYGO makes great cave packs that are simple and very durable. Their contribution will help us bring CaveSim to the 2013 NSS Convention for everyone to enjoy for free. Scott McCrea, owner of SWAYGO, said "My daughter loved CaveSim last year [at the 2012 NSS Convention]."
National Cave Rescue Commission Orientation to Cave Rescue 4/13 - 4/14/2013
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.
Middle school students teach 4th graders about caves, bats, history 4/11/2013
We took CaveSim to the Manitou Elementary School today for the 4th graders. Today was the Day of Service for the middle school, so 15 middle school kids volunteered as guides and taught 75 4th graders all about caves. Everyone did an awesome job, and we had fun tying caves into what the 4th graders are studying (Colorado history) by talking about native peoples and their rock art and artifacts. It was so cool to see the middle school students each use their strengths (teaching, public speaking, computer skills, etc.)
37 teachers visit CaveSim and Cave of the Winds to learn cave ed. 4/6/2013
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).Colorado Springs School (CSS) students visit CaveSim 2/27/2013
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.
Middle school student learns electronics in CaveSim lab
Tracy's cave painting. If you come up with a good story for this painting, tell us
and we'll post it!
Anna came with her dad to visit the CaveSim mad scientist lab to learn about electronics for her school innovation project. Before she had ever heard of CaveSim, she decided that her project would be to build a voice recording / playback device to help her remember to do things. When I heard about Anna's project from her dad, I invited them to the CaveSim lab to learn about electronics. She explored CaveSim, which has voice modules (the modules say things like, "Please do not shine your light on the bat!") The modules are the same ones that she could use for her project. In the picture above, she is talking with me about the electronics of a voice module. She is wearing a helmet because she enjoyed CaveSim so much that she didn't want to take the helmet off! She learned about various electronic components, and about how they're like the plumbing in her house. She also got to watch her voice make waves on the oscilloscope!
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.
Anna's voice being played back on the scope. Photos by Dave and Tracy.