2013 WKU/Mammoth Karst Field Studies Program

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2013 WKU/Mammoth Karst Field Studies Program

Postby PYoungbaer » Dec 10, 2012 9:51 am

Here's the course list announcement for 2013:

The Hoffman Environmental Research Institute through its Center for Cave and Karst Studies and in cooperation with the Mammoth Cave International Center for Science and Learning and Western Kentucky University, are pleased to announce the launch of the Summer 2013 Karst Field Studies Program. Courses this summer will include:

- Karst Geology, June 2-8, Dr. Art Palmer
- Karst Geophysics, June 9-15, Dr. Lewis Land
- Cave Photography, June 10-14, Dr. Dave Bunnell
- Karst Hydrology June 17-21, Drs. William White and Nicholas Crawford
- Cave Biology and Ecosystems, June 17-21, Dr. Dave Ashley

Courses may be taken for graduate, undergraduate, or continuing education credit. Courses may also be taken as non-credit workshops.

For more information about the program, courses, how to register, and instructors, please visit www.karstfieldstudies.com. While visiting the website be sure to also check out the 'Scholarships' tab for information about the Nick Crawford Karst Education Scholarship, a competitive award designed to offer financial assistance for attending a course.

If you have any questions please contact the Karst Field Studies Director, Dr. Leslie North, at leslie.north@wku.edu.

Please forward this message to your friends, students, and/or colleagues.

"Like" us on Facebook at Karst Field Studies (WKU/Mammoth Cave).

Hope to see you this summer!

Dr. Leslie A. North
Assistant Professor
Department of Geography and Geology
Associate Director of Education
Hoffman Environmental Research Institute
Western Kentucky University
1906 College Heights Blvd., EST 436
Bowling Green, KY 42101
(270) 745-5982
Leslie.north@wku.edu
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Re: 2013 WKU/Mammoth Karst Field Studies Program

Postby submassabielle » Jan 3, 2013 12:37 pm

I have been considering attending the geology class. However, with the cost, I am wondering about WNS. According to USFWS flow chart, after the class, the gear could only be used in KY. What do most people do? Buy dedicated gear? Just use their regular gear and decon? I am not sure if, or how much, I will ever be in KY again.

Lastly, has anyone attended the class? Any comments? I am looking at it for recreation. This means I would like to have a good time and be able to see a lot of cave. I like geology and am reading Dr. Palmer's book for fun. However, if I am not going to get to see a fair amount of off-trail Mammoth, it might be more relaxing (not to mention cheaper) to just do the wild caving tour and the visitor trails.
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Re: 2013 WKU/Mammoth Karst Field Studies Program

Postby John Lovaas » Jan 3, 2013 3:54 pm

Sub-

Not sure how you are interpreting what the USFWS has written, but the only place on earth where USFWS can or cannot tell you what gear to use is on their own property. Other than Fern Cave, I don't know of any USFWS properties that have significant caves.

Whether or not you can use your Kentucky gear elsewhere is up to the policies of the individual landowner or land manager- or, in the state of Wisconsin, the DNR. Science has shown that following the USFWS protocols to clean your gear results in clean gear.
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Re: 2013 WKU/Mammoth Karst Field Studies Program

Postby Extremeophile » Jan 3, 2013 5:26 pm

The Mammoth Cave WNS Response Plan can be found here:

http://www.nps.gov/maca/parkmgmt/loader.cfm?csModule=security/getfile&PageID=330269

This basically says that any gear that has been in a cave needs to be deconned before being used in Mammoth, and any gear used in Mammoth must be deconned before being used elsewhere. There is also a decon requirement when moving between portions of Mammoth Cave - essentially each ridge is considered a different cave and full decon is required when moving from one ridge to another. This is difficult to accomplish in the field so most of us bring multiple sets of soft caving gear (e.g. coveralls, boots, gloves, packs) and just decon things like helmets/lights when going from one ridge to another.

WNS has not been found in Mammoth Cave and there is a desire to keep it that way. There is also a desire to prevent the small risk of spreading it elsewhere if it is there but has not yet been detected.
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Re: 2013 WKU/Mammoth Karst Field Studies Program

Postby submassabielle » Jan 4, 2013 9:10 am

Thanks. It seems that the caves I most often visit will indeed allow deconned gear that has been in KY. Does anyone have any comments on what the class is like?
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Re: 2013 WKU/Mammoth Karst Field Studies Program

Postby John Lovaas » Jan 4, 2013 1:55 pm

All of the classes are well worth attending! Highly recommended.

And thanks to Derek for posting Mammoth's decon protocols, which are concise and practical. Decon your gear before you enter any Park caves(ensuring that you don't transport pathogens into Park caves) and decon your gear after you leave the park and before you visit other caves(ensuring that if there are unknown pathogens in Park caves, you aren't transporting them to other caves). The best WNS policy by any public agency, I think.
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Re: 2013 WKU/Mammoth Karst Field Studies Program

Postby John Lovaas » Jan 4, 2013 1:55 pm

All of the classes are well worth attending! Highly recommended.

And thanks to Derek for posting Mammoth's decon protocols, which are concise and practical. Decon your gear before you enter any Park caves(ensuring that you don't transport pathogens into Park caves) and decon your gear after you leave the park and before you visit other caves(ensuring that if there are unknown pathogens in Park caves, you aren't transporting them to other caves). The best WNS policy by any public agency, I think.
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Re: 2013 WKU/Mammoth Karst Field Studies Program

Postby driggs » Jan 4, 2013 3:07 pm

submassabielle wrote:Thanks. It seems that the caves I most often visit will indeed allow deconned gear that has been in KY. Does anyone have any comments on what the class is like?


If you are even considering the Karst Geology field study course, I very highly encourage you to take it this year with Dr. Art Palmer. Art is one of the world's most prominent authors on speleology, knows more about the Mammoth Cave area specifically than nearly anyone, and he and Peggy are two of the most welcoming, talented, and humble people you'll ever meet. They won't be teaching the class forever.

While the actual caving you do during the week will be tailored to the abilities of the entire class, you are guaranteed to see large parts of Mammoth Cave, including fantastic sections of the cave that tourists, and even Cave Research Foundation cavers aren't able to see. When I took the course, the Palmers took us into Crystal Cave and led us all the way to Floyd's Lost Passage, a trip that -- to this day -- is one of the highlights of my caving career.

Pay the $10/night for an air-conditioned bunk at Hamilton Valley (recommended), and you're paying $560 for a weeklong dream caving vacation while learning from the best-of-the-best and making friends from all over the country (who you can call on for your next caving vacation!)... it's a deal for the price. Do it!
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