2016 News

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> Winter Break Caving Camp at The Cave at CityROCK Climbing Center

Campers ages 8-16 learned rappelling and ascending in our CaveSim system at CityROCK climbing gym. The campers made the most of their winter break, and had a great time -- our quote of the week: "Mom, this was the best camp ever. I want to come back and do it again," James, age 8.

Ellen learns to rappel using a rack in the 40' pit entrance of CaveSim at CityROCK. Photo: Dave Jackson

James learns to rappel on the climbing walls before rappelling in CaveSim.  Photo: Gill Gilliland.


On June 25th, 2016 we opened this amazing new cave to the public. Come explore over 225' of highly realistic water-carved passage, including a 40' rappel / ascent. Try not to bump into any of the 50+ beautiful cave formations, and compete with friends using the computer system.  More cave passage coming soon!


> Carson Middle School STEM Night, 12/6/2016, 4-6PM

Many middle school students explored CaveSim (some as many as 7 times!) despite freezing temperatures and snow (this was definitely our coldest program on record).  A big thanks to Lydia and James for helping us with this event.


> Thanksgiving Break Caving Camp at The Cave at CityROCK Climbing Center


Camryn and Mara learn rappelling and ascending in the 40' pit entrance of our CaveSim system at CityROCK. Photo: Dave Jackson.


> Pikes Peak Council Boy Scout Family Campout, 10/15/2016

This completely free event was made possible by our generous sponsors Barb Bentzin and Bob Montgomery.  Hundreds of Scouts and their families explored CaveSim and did our many other activities.


Left: Dave teaches about gypsum flowers. Right: Waiting to explore.


> CoolScience Festival, 10/8/2016

Over 300 people visited our mobile CaveSim system at this great free public event. This was our sixth year in a row attending CoolScience!  Please visit us next year on the UCCS West Lawn (WL).

Parents watch their kids on the night-vision cameras. Photo: Dave Jackson.

Dave talks with participants about our new cave simulator at CityROCK. Photo: Jim Taylor.

Dave teaches cave conservation as kids and adults wait to try CaveSim. The cave model was by 4th and 5th grade students in a Catamount Institute YES Club. Photo: Jim Taylor.


> What IF Festival, Downtown Colorado Springs, 9/10/2016, 10AM-4PM

Over 350 kids and adults explored CaveSim near the Pioneers Museum (map) at this free public event.


> A Taste of Lone Tree, Lincoln Commons, CO, Sept 3rd, 11AM-6PM.

Kids and adults had a great time exploring CaveSim at this popular annual event in Lone Tree, CO (map).  We had new formations for cavers to navigate around, and participants enjoyed our new kneepads and helmets.


> CaveSim awarded second patent

We are excited to report that CaveSim is now covered by a second patent, US 9,399,178 B1.  We're always innovating and working hard to bring novel solutions to the problem of cave conservation education. 


NSS Convention, Ely, NV, 7/18-7/22/2016

Local kids learn about cave conservation while waiting to explore CaveSim at a free event in Ely, NV before the 2016 NSS Convention. Photo by Chris Hanefeld, BLM.

A child finishes exploring CaveSim during the free public event in Ely before the 2016 NSS Convention. Photo by Chris Hanefeld, BLM.

CaveSim at the 75th Anniversary NSS Convention is funded by grants from Nevada Humanities, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and Great Basin Heritage Area Partnership.



Additional sponsorship is provided by:


> Girl Scout Troop 1983, 7/9/2016

About a dozen girls got to explore the new cave that we built at CityROCK climbing center.  They also experienced all of our traditional program activities: cave rescue stretcher, carbide-on-ice demo, cave rescue phones, and Bat And Moth (the echolocation game).


> Woodland Park, CO 4th of July Celebration, 7/4/2016, 9AM - 3PM

CaveSim was very popular at this free event.  A huge thank-you to the high school volunteers who helped us all day!


PG Retreat, Glen Eyrie, Colorado Springs, CO

Both kids and adults enjoyed CaveSim at this great event.  We had the chance to do detailed electronics demos for interested participants, and we even stayed open during a torrential downpour.

> Atlas Preparatory School REACH Beyond summer program, 6/20/2016, 11:45AM-1:45PM

29 5th-7th grade students explored CaveSim today, and enjoyed bat games, carbide demonstrations, and practiced their cave rescue skills.  Many Atlas Prep students qualify for free or reduced price lunch, so our program was completely free, thanks to donations from Barbara Bentzin, Bob Montomery, and Dick Blenz.

Colorado Springs School REACH summer program 6/16/2016, 9:30-11:30AM

As you can see on the Colorado Springs School website, "The Mission of REACH is to provide middle school students who typically don’t have access to a college preparatory experience with a challenging summer program emphasizing 21st-century learning that will increase their ability to enter and succeed in college."
For fourth year in a row, REACH students explored CaveSim, learned about many STEM concepts (hands-on electronics demos, carbide demos, measuring and using the squeezebox, bat biology, speleology, teamwork, etc.) all while having a great time.
Dave shows a student how to adjust his helmet before exploring CaveSim. Photo by Rachel Sagahon.
Almost to the surface again, and having a great time. "Can I go through again?" Photo by Rachel Sagahon.
Students carry a classmate in the cave rescue stretcher (Sked). A big thanks to Joe Kirkendall (at left) for running many of the stations at today's event. Photo by Rachel Sagahon.
Getting ready to try the CaveSim squeezebox set at 6.25". Yes, she did make it through. Photo by Rachel Sagahon.

Cresson Days, Cresson Elementary School, Cripple Creek, CO, 5/26/2016

For the third consecutive year, K-6th grade students had a great time exploring CaveSim at on their last day of the school year at Cresson Elementary School.  


> Falcon Middle School 6th grade

120 6th grade students explored CaveSim, learned geology from caver Jesse Rochette, practiced cave rescue with our Sked, learned electronics with our cave rescue phones (and an HP oscilloscope!), and played in the squeezebox.  A huge thank-you to Pat Malone for helping kids put on helmets and knee pads, and another huge thank-you to Margaret Browne, 6th grade teacher, for helping us set up and for working with us throughout the day.


Students getting suited up to explore CaveSim.  Photo by Dave Jackson.

Many things happen at once at CaveSim. At left, several boys watch the computer monitors to see how well their classmates are doing in the cave (the monitors show "damage" points for each cave formation, and also show live night-vision camera feeds of the inside of the cave).  At right, students use the squeezebox to see how tight a space they can fit through.  Photo by Dave Jackson.



> Outdoor Skills Day, Mueller State Park, Colorado, 5/21/2016, 9AM-3PM

This great free public event was more popular this year than ever before, with over 600 people attending.  CaveSim was a very popular activity for both kids and adults.


> STEM Night, Abrams Elementary School, Fort Carson Army Base, 5/10/2016, 4-6PM

Several hundred elementary school students enjoyed CaveSim during the final STEM Night of the school year at Abrams Elementary School.  We also had parents and some teachers explore the mobile cave.


> Orientation to Cave Rescue, El Paso County SAR, 4/31-5/1/2016

About 50 cavers, SAR personnel, firefighters and others converged on the El Paso County SAR facility for an Orientation to Cave Rescue (OCR).  This two-day course was organized by the Colorado Cave Rescue Network (CCRN), with instruction provided by CCRN and National Cave Rescue Commission instructors.  The course had three parts: lectures, hands-on practice above ground, and a mock rescue in a real cave.  CaveSim was used during the hands-on practice to give participants a sense of what real caving is like.  This gave participants the chance to learn just how fragile the cave environment is prior to entering a real cave for the mock rescue.  Some participants had never been in a cave before, and learned a lot about what kind of gear is appropriate for the cave environment.

Above, participants practice packaging a patient in a Sked stretcher. Below, the CaveSim trailer fit well in the El Paso County Search and Rescue building. We had a late snowstorm which explains the water below the trailer.  Photos by Dave Jackson.


Grove Lower Elementary School, Grove, OK, 4/25-4/26/2016

A huge thank-you to Grove Education Foundation For Excellence and to Boston Mountain Grotto for funding this program for about 180 3rd grade students and more than 20 students in a YMCA after school program.  Thanks also to Deitra (3rd grade teacher and caver) for organizing this great event.


> Bliss Climbing Complex, Wichita, KS, 4/24/2016


> US Air Force Academy Youth Center, 3/21/2016

What a great way to spend Spring Break!  50 children (and some teachers and parents) explored CaveSim during our second trip to the US Air Force Academy Youth Center. A huge thank-you to Mr. Dick Blenz for sponsoring this event!

All three of these USAFA Youth Center staff members (including Kyla, center, who arranged our visit) had a great time exploring CaveSim. Photo by Dave Jackson.


> STEM Night, Patriot Elementary School, Fort Carson Army Base, 2/25/2016

This great event on Fort Carson kept us very busy with CaveSim -- over 700 people attended, and several hundred went through CaveSim in just 1.5 hours!

A soldier explores CaveSim during the Patriot Elementary STEM night on Fort Carson. Photo by Tracy Jackson.


> Legacy Academy 5th grade program, 2/24/2016

About 46 5th grade students (and their teachers!) explored CaveSim at Legacy Academy in Elizabeth, CO during a 3 hour program.  The students did hands-on geology lessons, role-played the lives of bats, practiced cave rescue with a real stretcher, and helped with carbide lamp demonstrations.  The students are studying ecosystems, so they enjoyed discovering and talking about all of the (artificial) cave life that we have inside CaveSim.


>   Catamount Institute 4th & 5th grade YES club program, 1/30/2016


Above: Exploring CaveSim using one of the lights donated to us by ElSpeleo. Thanks!

Below: Having fun in the squeezebox.  Photos by Chris Aaby, Catamount Institute.



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