Underground group saves caves >>> CRF

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Underground group saves caves >>> CRF

Postby Evan G » Mar 29, 2007 7:02 am

[center]Underground group saves caves[/center]

Who: Cave Research Foundation

Mission: To facilitate research, management and interpretation of caves and karst resources; to form partnerships to study, protect and preserve cave and karst resources; to promote the long term conservation of caves and karst ecosystems, says the organization's Web site.

About: Explorations of Kentucky's Mammoth Cave in the 1940s led to the formation of CRF, registered as a not-for-profit in 1957. The group is governed by a board of directors; operations managers coordinate activities in areas needing CRF attention.

Most CRF field work is conducted in caves on state and federal lands, says the CRF. Though extensive caving experience is not a requirement for joining, some experience is necessary in order to participate, and members must provide their own climbing gear.

Cavers interested in CRF must provide a resume of sorts to become a member. If not experienced, the group's Web site provides links to localized cave groups that teach inexperienced cavers what they need to know.

"CRF welcomes, supports and encourages researchers who are interested in pursuing projects in any of our operations areas," the group says.

Projects: While most CRF work is undertaken at sites across he country, the organization's reach is felt across the world. A partnership with China, through Guizhou Normal University in the Guizhou Province, promotes the joint exploration, mapping and research of caves and karst in China and the United States.

Closer to home, in the Ozark Operation Area of CRF, caves and karst in and near Arkansas' Buffalo National River and Sylamore National Forest get the group's efforts and attention. In Missouri, cave mapping, resource surveys and biologic inventory are conducted on Ozark National Scenic Riverways lands, Missouri Department of Conservation properties and in the Mark Twain National Forest.

Each year, CRF sponsors a Karst Fellowship competition; applicants might receive from $10,000 to $35,000 in scholarship funds for research in karst-related fields.

Upcoming: CRF members — and many other caving enthusiasts — will head to the National Speleological Society's annual convention July 23-27 in Marengo, Ind. "Vertical" contests, camping, canoeing and learning sessions are on the agenda; the area holds more than 1,000 caves, says the NSS invitation.

Further ahead: CRF holds its 50-year anniversary celebration Oct. 19-21 at the Hamilton Valley Field Station at Mammoth Cave in Kentucky, the same cavern explored by pioneer cavers who inspired CRF's formation.

Want to join, donate or need to know more? Call (270) 745-5201 and visit http://www.cave-research.org.

A profile on an organization active in the Ozarks

Evan G
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