Showing posts from March, 2016

Caving With Girl Scouts of Eastern Pennsylvania Council 11-18-18

Yes, they were at it again. This time there were two new Troops to introduce to caving. Eastern PA Council set this one up at the same time as the one in October. This trip originally had sixteen people, but one Troop backed out at the last minute. It’s a shame because they missed a very good time with these girls. Maybe they’ll come out again when they can. We have been having a tremendous amount of rain and unprecedented snowfall for this time of year. As a result the cave actually had a good bit of water in it.

I like to use this cave for beginner trips because it is stable. But I’ve never seen this much water in this cave. Parts that usually have a little sticky mud had water over the top of my thigh. I choose to avoid the lower parts of the cave. For most of the girls this was their first wild caving trip. I didn’t want to take any chances with them and I didn’t want anyone cold and miserable. But they all got very muddy, and had a blast. How could I tell? Watch the video. L…

The Photo Shoot

Gretchen is one of those kids who will do what she wants even when people say she can’t. When she joined her Venturing Crew she contacted me about taking her Crew caving. She had a little difficulty getting her Crew interested in going caving, but that didn’t stop her. She joined our Crew as well and started a very active caving career.
We jump ahead a few years and now she’s in college studying photography. Why photography? Because she wants too. And she is really good at it too.For a final grade she has to do a “behind the scene” photo essay. I’m still not sure why, but she asked if she could shoot behind the scene of what it takes to plan and follow through on a caving trip.
But this article does not have her photos in it. I’ll let her have all the thunder for that. This is just about the trip itself with the youth cavers that I have a great time caving with.

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Taking Troop 619 Caving

Troop 619 is in Chester County Council, BSA in southeastern Pennsylvania. I was able to meet and go talk to them in person about caves and caving before we went on our trip underground. They are a great Troop with great leaders. I've met Ann and Raul before. They are dedicated Scouters who have a genuine interest in these youth and Scouting in general. It was a no-brainer to take their Troop on a trip that the boys came up with themselves.

When we all arrived at the cave they could hardly contain themselves. Five of them practically bursting out of the van with enthusiasm. I was a little concerned that this was their first trip and they would be apprehensive. I very quickly was relieved on this concern.

I did have some help for the day. Alex Diamond was along to make sure no stragglers were left behind and to take these guys places I can not. I also had Ed and Eliza from Philly Grotto along and helping out as well. We also had Doug Cook and a few members of Venturing Crew 51 along. …

Boy Scouts Help With WNS Winter Survey

by Kirsten Alvey-Mudd

Thanks to Boy Scout Troop 864 from Wildwood, Mo and Christa Droste from Oakfield, Wisconsin for helping with WNS Winter surveys in Northeast Missouri yesterday!

The group learned about caves, cave safety, formations, cave biology and conservation while counting 241 bats, 11 live and 9 dead pickerel frogs, 10 creek chub, 2 wolf spiders and 1 dead raccoon. 127 tricolor, 11 little brown, 2 endangered gray and 8 endangered northern long-eared bats that were visibly WNS free. 1/3 of bats seen showed visible WNS, some quite extensive: 50 tricolor, 39 little brown, 1 endangered Indiana and 3 endangered northern long-eared bats.

This site has suffered an 87% loss of overall bat populations: 63% of tricolor and 74% of little brown. Since some recent movement has been seen in big brown bats already, we're assuming the 100% loss of those is due to early spring warm temps. Hopefully these same warm temps will allow some of these WNS bats to fly out, forage and survive at …

Taking Troop 1 Caving

Trying to cover all the youth organizations in the NSS – Mid-Appalachian Region can be challenging. Fortunately technology helps. This was the first time I’ve done a “Cave Talk” over Skype. There were a few hiccups. We’ll figure these out over time and tweak out tech. But it was still amazing to me that we can reach out distances and make a positive impression on kids. How awesome is that.
We did get them underground. We took them to a cave in the central part of Pennsylvania. As much as I try to help them understand what to expect, I think they were surprised with what they were about to do. First timers are often in awe when they first experience what lays beneath their feet. And this is why I do this. I get to see the same old cave for the first time again with every new caver we take with us.
Please watch the video and experience it with them for the first time.

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