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!)
Colorado College is Tracy's alma mater and the site of our first CaveSim school program back in 2010. We had great turnout and awesome weather for this fun free public event.
Tracy, holding vertical caving gear, and Bob Colloply (former student of Dick Blenz, our biggest supporter)
We had strong turnout for Spring Break Vertical Caving Camp in the CaveSim system at CityROCK Climbing Gym in Colorado Springs. The Colorado Springs Gazette newspaper came and took some great pictures of our participants learning to ascend in the 40' vertical cave.
While ascending 40', Merrick waves through a window from the vertical cave to the children's playroom. Photo by Mark Reis, The Colorado Springs Gazette.
In addition to bringing CaveSim to this school-wide event, Dave was the keynote speaker and spoke from personal experience about caves, science, engineering, and cave rescue. CaveSim was hugely popular, with families staying beyond the end of the event so that they could try exploring the cave.
Students learn about the similarities and differences between bat and human skeletal structures. Photos by Lake George staff. Student photo permissions on file with school.
A student about to enter CaveSim. Watch out for those speleothems!
Students adjust the squeezebox, which teaches measurement science and shows the students their personal limits (it's like the limbo, but for caving!)
Dave teaching cave science (speleology) while students wait in line to use CaveSim.
Dave calls on students during the keynote speech.
We had fantastic turnout at this great Patriot Elementary School STEM event for the second year in a row! Even the teachers and staff had fun:
Photo by Cara Greene, Patriot Elementary School STEM Coordinator.
What an incredible program! Students in grades 6-8 learned basic circuits, programmed microcontrollers, and built cave-proof electronics projects. They got to test their projects in a giant bucket of muddy cave water, and then bring the projects down to CityROCK to try them in the CaveSim system there. Not only that, but each student got to rappel into the cave, and everyone got a behind-the-scenes tour of the system and the associated electronics.
Because cavers love a nice warm tub, and every tub needs a replacement cover at some point! The Cover Guy has everything you need for your tub: hot tub covers, lifters, hot tub filters, chemicals, and accessories. Plus, they have a great blog.
We had great turnout for our third visit to Kartchner Caverns in Arizona. Check out our event flier to see all of the activities we did. A huge thank-you to cavers Teresa and Hanna for helping.
A caver from one of the Tucson grottos explores CaveSim. Photo: Dave Jackson
A caver from Tucson takes pictures of her friend, shown on the CaveSim night vision cameras. Photo: Dave Jackson.
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!
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.
Camryn and Mara learn rappelling and ascending in the 40' pit entrance of our CaveSim system at CityROCK. Photo: Dave Jackson.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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).
CaveSim was very popular at this free event. A huge thank-you to the high school volunteers who helped us all day!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.