The SCCi, in cooperation with the Huntsville Grotto, is proud to announce Mark Ostrander as the 2015 John Van Swearingen IV Stewardship Award! Mark is known for his service to the sport of caving and conservation of cave preserves. He has served as the SCCi Kennamer Cave Preserve manager for six years. From maintaining the parking area to marking preserve boundaries, Mark's service knows no season. Mark is a truly an ambassador for the Kennamer Cave Preserve working with caving groups to make the most of their trips. He is currently working with first responders to use Kennamer Cave for a mock cave rescue while ensuring the preserve is protected from any lasting damage. Also, Mark has led and attended cave cleanup projects over the years including Kennamer Cave, Devil's Den and Cathedral Caverns. The John Van Swearingen Stewardship Award was conceived by the Huntsville Grotto in honor of long-time member, conservationist, cave steward, and SCCi Director, JV, who passed away in 2001. It is presented annually at the TAG Fall Cave In. JV served for many years as the Fern Cave Access Coordinator, providing stewardship of the Fern Cave system and preserve for both the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the SCCi. The purpose of the award is to meaningfully recognize the stewardship efforts of an individual, a group of individuals, or an organization that has provided significant stewardship activities for one or more caves, cave preserves, or karst properties, personally conducted over an extended period of time. The award, sponsored by the Huntsville Grotto and the SCCi, is also intended to promote long-term cave conservation and stewardship activities, and to encourage and thank those individuals and organizations who perform them.
The Georgia-Alabama Land Trust (GALT) and Southeastern Cave Conservancy, Inc. (SCCi) are partnering to create the largest cave preserve in Georgia. The Charles B. Henson Cave Preserve at Rising Fawn will include approximately 1,300 acres of land that has been acquired by Georgia-Alabama Land Trust over a three year period in the failed subdivision known as the Preserve at Rising Fawn in Dade County. The “Preserve“ is located in the unique and threatened landscape of Johnson’s Crook, a deep horseshoe-shaped cove with high bluffs in the Lookout Mountain ridge. Many of the slopes of Johnson’s Crook are underlain by limestone bedrock, in which more than 30 known caves have formed. These caves are important habitat for many types of cave-dwelling species, and also have in the past been popular among recreational caving enthusiasts for their varied challenges and remarkable beauty. According to GALT Executive Director Katherine Eddins, “Partnering with SCCi is a natural fit for this property given its extensive cave system.” Ron Miller, SCCi Chair, adds: “We are very excited to work with GALT in managing one of Georgia’s most significant cave areas. We are also honored that this cave preserve is being named in memory of longtime SCCi member and benefactor Chuck Henson. Johnson’s Crook and its many caves held a special place in Chuck’s heart, and he worked tirelessly in the last years of his life to save this exceptional landscape. “ The Georgia-Alabama Land Trust, accredited by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission, is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, founded in 1994 by conservation-minded individuals in response to rapid development and encroachment of natural areas, farms and woodlands. It is now the largest private lands conservation organization in the Southeast, protecting over 268,000 acres of land with 775 voluntary conservation easements. The Southeastern Cave Conservancy, Inc. (SCCi) is a 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization founded in 1991 that protects cave and karst resources in the southeastern U.S. through management, conservation and education. The largest nonprofit in the U.S. dedicated to cave conservation, SCCi owns and/or manages 30 preserves containing over 140 caves in six southeastern states. For more information, visit http://www.scci.org/preserves/johnsons-crook-cave/
2015 marked the First Annual SCCi Photo and Video Competition based around our new marketing campaign Sharing the Secrets. Photographers were encouraged to submit photographs and/or videos taken on preserves owned by the SCCi in four categories - Secret Beauty, Secret Adventure, Secret Life, and Secret Water. Submissions began January 1st and ran through February 14th. The winners were announced at our membership appreciation event, Frick's Cave Open House, on February 28th. There were 126 photographs submitted by 15 photographers. Five categories were judged by professional photographers who were both cavers and non-cavers. The sixth category, People's Choice, was voted on via Facebook likes and received 72 votes (the next closest had 55 votes). We would like to first give a special thank you to everyone who submitted photographs! The judges certainly had their work cut out for them choosing from the stunning images. We are proud to now share the winners of the First Annual SCCi Photo Competition!
The winning photographers received a plaque in recognition of their work.
It's never too early to grab your cameras and start taking pictures! This was but the first of our annual photo competitions. We are very excited to see what beautiful images our supporters come up with for next year. Don't forget to Like our Facebook page so you do not miss our announcements about the 2016 installation of the photo competition.
Photo entries are posted on the SCCi Facebook page for this year's contest; now it is up to you to help us select the People's Choice winner! The photo with the most "likes" by February 27 at 11 PM Eastern will be the winner of the People's Choice Award. Please be sure to share these photos and encourage all of your friends to vote, both cavers and non-cavers alike. Please also share with other groups on Facebook with an interest in photography, outdoors, hiking, etc. At the conclusion of the contest, photographers names and preserve names will be added to the photos.
Allen, Kristen and Uriah at entrance #1 gate with lock On December 5-7, 2014 a group of cavers met to gate Hollow Ridge Cave in Jackson County, Florida. This was necessary because the county was in the process of building hiking trails just downhill of the bluff line where the lower cave entrances are located. The gates were constructed to keep out vandals and to keep people from getting lost in the cave which contains 3400’ of surveyed passage. There are also rare cave fauna that need protection. Kristin Bobo designed the cave gates and provided her expertise in installation. Her Assistant, Uriah Pryor, cut the steel. The hauling group consisted of Allen Mosler, Bufford Pruitt, and Tevis Kouts. Tiffiny Kouts, Terrin Kouts, and D’Ann Mosler ran errands. Guy Yates helped return some of the equipment to Tallahassee. It took three days to build four gates. The gate at Entrance 1 (with lock) was located at the upper entrance and is 3’x8’ in size. The gates at Entrance 2 were located 70’ inside the entrance and are 3’x3’ and 6’x2.5’ at the flood plain level. Entrance Gates 3 & 4 were placed 30’ inside the cave and block three of the mid-bluff entrances. It took about a day and a half to build each gate. The process was Kristen would measure for the needed steel, Uriah would cut the steel, and someone would carry the steel to the gate and help Kristen with the installation. The gates were impressive being made from 6”x6”x3/8” and 4”x4”x3/8” angle iron. They look bullet-proof. In addition to the people above who provided their time and talent, I would like to thank the following grottos and cavers that made donations: Flint River Grotto, Florida Speleological Society, Middle Georgia Grotto, River City Grotto, Tamps Bay Area Grotto, Paul Aughey, Matt Fisher, Jerry Johnson, Kitty Markley, Roger Moore, Allen Mosler, Steve Nemeth, Ed Pratt, Larry Rueff, and Philip Walker. Donations of over $4000 were made that covered about 60% of the cost of building the gates. The extra steel was taken to Gainesville by Bufford Pruitt to be used in the reconstruction of Warrens Cave gate, a NSS Preserve. This hard-working and generous group of cavers made this project a success…thank you. Allen Mosler Property Manager, Hollow Ridge Cave Southeastern Cave Conservancy, Inc.
Southeastern Cave Conservancy, Inc is pleased to invite our members and their guests to the Frick's Cave Annual Open House. Throughout the year, Frick's Cave is closed to protect endangered bats and salamanders that live in the cave. On this ONE DAY ONLY, while the bachelor colony of bats is not present, the SCCi will open the cave to show our appreciation for your membership. After exploring the cave, please join us around the fire for hot food, a talk about the endangered bats, and announcement of the winners of the 1st SCCi Photo and Video Contest!
Date: February 28, 2015 9:00 AM - 6:00 PM Who: Open to current SCCi members and their guests. Schedule of Events -
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM: Cave open for visitation, assuming summer gray bat colony has not yet returned. Note: SCCi Clean Caving Procedures will be strictly enforced! Frick's is a stream cave, please dress accordingly.
12:00 PM - 4:00 PM: Hot food will be available until supplies run out. Don't forget to RSVP so we can plan!
1:00 PM: Trina Morris, a bat biologist from GA Dept of Natural Resources, will talk about the Frick's Cave gray bat colony.
Winners of the SCCi Photo and Video Contest will be announced after the bat talk.
As most of you probably are aware, in December, SCCi purchased a property containing Stephens Gap Cave, Pipeside Pit and three other known caves in Jackson County, Alabama. Unfortunately, working out an access agreement with the new owner of the land between the county road and SCCi's property boundary near Pipeside Pit is taking longer than anticipated. The trail to the cave goes through this neighbor's property, and he has asked that we not allow visitors to cross his property until an agreement is in place. We apologize for the delay in opening the preserve to visitation; however, we are hopeful that we will be able to come up with an access solution that works for all parties in the near future. We'll keep you posted here and at our website of any changes. Until then, please respect the property rights of our neighbor and postpone any planned visits to the Stephens Gap Cave Preserve for now. SCCi appreciates your patience as we work out these access issues.