John JV Van Swearingen IV Stewardship Award
JV Van Swearingen IV

Nominate cave stewards for the JV Van Swearingen IV Stewardship Award!
The SCCi, in cooperation with the Huntsville Grotto, is proud to announce that nominations are open for the John Van Swearingen IV Stewardship Award!
The 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.
We are accepting nominations until September 15, 2014. Please fill out the Award Nomination Form and return your nomination to the award committee at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Please recognize deserving individuals or organizations! Feel free to re-post and/or print for your Grotto and fellow cavers. If you have any questions, please contact the committee at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
Past winners of the JV Van Swearingen IV Stewardship Award:
2013: Chuck Henson, Rossville, GA
2012: Nathan Williams, Huntsville, AL
2011: SERA Karst Task Force (SKTF), TAG Region
2010: Tom Moltz, Byron, GA
2009: Jay Clark, Birmingham, AL
2008: Buddy Lane, Signal Mountain, TN
2007: Bill Overton, Pegram, TN
2006: Bill Birdsall, Ocala, FL
2005: Steve Pitts, Ardmore, TN
2004: Lonnie Carr, Sparta, TN
2003: Bruce Brewer, Tallahassee, FL
2002: William Oldacre, Gainesville, FL
 
 
 
 

Cavers may have heard that it's been a challenge to access the Horse Skull/Jack's Hole Cave Preserve lately due to lots of downed trees on the property and some issues with parking. Our great property manager Andy Zellner coordinated cutting and flagging a new trail that leads from the paved road, through the beaver swamp, across the power line cut, and through the woods. Details on the parking area are still being worked out, so please contact Andy Zellner at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. before you visit the cave to make sure you have the most up to date information. Cavers should not use the neighbor's driveway at this time.
Jacks Hole Preserve
The SCCi is pleased to announce a new lease agreement of Varnedoe Cave. This fine cave is located within the city limits of Huntsville, Alabama and is one of the more popular multi-drop caves in the southeast. Both entrances to Varnedoe Cave can be rigged all the way to the Fox Skeleton Room where the register is located. Entrance 1 has a pit series of 73’, 15’, 41’, 72’ and Entrance 2 has a pit series of 115’, 12’, and 69’ with the latter entrance route dropping near the waterfall in the Fox Skeleton Room. Beyond the Fox Skeleton Room are meandering passages that lead to tall dome complexes and a formation area. Access to Varnedoe Cave requires a permit. Contact the Varnedoe Cave Access Coordinator Julie Schenck Brown at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. at least three days before you would like to visit the cave.
Varnedoe Cave with Elliot Stahl and Joy Palmer (Photo by Alan Grosse)
Varnedoe Cave with Elliot Stahl and Joy Palmer (Photo by Alan Grosse)
Varnedoe Cave is located within the city limits of Huntsville, Alabama and is one of the more popular multi-drop caves in the southeast. SCCi  currently leases the cave through an agreement with the landowner. Both entrances to Varnedoe Cave can be rigged all the way to the Fox Skeleton Room where the register is located. Entrance 1 has a pit series of 73’, 15’, 41’, 72’ and Entrance 2 has a pit series of 115’, 12’, and 69’ with the latter entrance route dropping near the waterfall in the Fox Skeleton Room. Beyond the Fox Skeleton Room are meandering passages that lead to tall dome complexes and a formation area. Access to Varnedoe Cave requires a permit.
Varnedoe Cave with Elliot Stahl and Joy Palmer (Photo by Alan Grosse)
Varnedoe Cave with Elliot Stahl and Joy Palmer (Photo by Alan Grosse)

Preserve Information: Acreage: Lease/management agreement in Madison County, Alabama.
Preserve Management Team: Julie Schenck Brown (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)
Access:To request a permit, visit http://permits.scci.org
Jack Fischer at the entrance of Varnedoe Cave (Photo by Matthew Setchfield)
Jack Fischer at the entrance of Varnedoe Cave (Photo by Matthew Setchfield)

Below is a brief timeline of SCCi Cave Preserve purchases, donations, leases, and management agreements:

2017

Elroy and Marilyn Daleo Cave Preserve, KY
Goshen Hollow, AL
Howards Waterfall Second Entrance, GA

2014

Varnedoe Cave Preserve, AL (leased)
Stephens Gap Callahan Cave Preserve, AL

2013

Run To The Mill Cave Preserve, TN

2012

Lost Canyon Cave Preserve, GA

2011

John T. Dolberry Tumbling Rock Cave Preserve, AL

2009

Kay Hill Deen Fern Cave Preserve (Fern Sink aka Surprise Pit entrance), AL
Kennamer Cave (Orgy entrance) and Secret Pit (additions to Kennamer Cave Preserve), AL

2008

Steward Spring Cave Preserve, AL

2007

Anderson Cave Preserve, AL (management agreement)

2006

Hollow Ridge Cave Preserve, FL (donated)

2005

Byers Cave, GA (addition to Fox Mountain Cave Preserve)

2003

Frenchman Knob Cave Preserve, KY
Limrock Blowing Cave Preserve, AL

2002

Rattling Cave Preserve, TN (leased)
Wolf River Cave Preserve, TN
Snail Shell Cave Preserve, TN 
Valhalla Cave Preserve, AL

2001

Hound Dog Drop (Holly Creek Cave Preserve), TN
Sinking Cove Cave Preserve (includes 73 caves), TN (leased)
Custard Hollow Cave Preserve, TN

1998

Lobelia Saltpeter Cave Preserve, WV (donated)
Jennings Cave Preserve, FL

1997

Fox Mountain Cave Preserve (including Cemetery Pit and Rustys Cave), GA
Logsdon Cave Preserve, KY (leased)
Fricks Cave Preserve, GA
Gourdneck Cave Preserve, TN (leased)
Kennamer Cave Preserve, AL
South Pittsburg Pit Preserve, TN
Horse Skull Cave Preserve, AL 

1995

Neversink Preserve, AL
Glove Pit Preserve, AL (donated)

1991

Howard's Waterfall Cave Preserve, GA (donated)

Thank you for your interest in the Southeastern Cave Conservancy, Inc. (“SCCi”, "we" or "us"), and for visiting our website (the "Site"). We are committed to protecting the personal privacy of the users of our Site, who may submit personal information or financial information to us. As used herein, the term "Information" refers to personally identifiable information that visitors submit on the Site, including, without limitation, your name, address, email address and phone number. Through our activities, Information may be collected. Our success depends on your trust. To better protect your privacy, we have established this Privacy Policy to inform you of our practices with respect to how we collect and use your information.

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Contact
If you have any questions, concerns, or suggestions regarding this privacy policy, please send us an email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; call us at (423)771-9671; or write us at:

Southeastern Cave Conservancy, Inc.
PO Box 250
Signal Mountain, TN 37377

This month, the Southeastern Cave Conservancy has taken a huge step forward in our efforts to expand our cave acquisition capacity! As we have reported previously, in early 2013 the SCCi board of directors approved a strategic plan for 2013-2015. The strategic plan set an ambitious goal  – to double and eventually triple the number of caves that SCCi protects each year. In order to achieve that goal, the board recognized that SCCi must ramp up our game with respect to the plans, policies, and procedures that foundations and other major conservation donors expect, and also do a better job serving our growing membership. After much discussion, the board concluded that a key step in our ability to successfully implement the plan was to obtain professional administrative support services for SCCi. At our March 2014 board meeting, we welcomed Sage Morgan to fill this part-time contracted position.
We are confident that Sage has the right skills to help SCCi move forward with our strategic plan. Not only is she already assisting with SCCi's day-to-day operations by doing things like dramatically improving our ability to keep current with the recurring credit-card donations from our nearly 500 sustaining members, she is also assisting each of SCCi's volunteer-based committees in completing the many tasks that they are charged with as part of implementing our strategic plan.
Please join me and the SCCi board in welcoming Sage to SCCi. If you would like to contact her, she may be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
Ron Miller
Chair
The following is a message from Sage:
Hello! I would like to take a moment to express how honored I am to be a part of the growth of this truly grassroots organization. I am inspired by the ability of this "For Cavers, By Cavers" group of volunteers to drive this organization for the past 20+ years. I look forward to helping SCCi move to the next level. My virtual door is always open. Please feel free to call or email at any time. Thank you!
Sage:)
Don't forget that the Frick's Cave open house is Saturday, February 15! Several people have asked us what the cave is like. It's a large horizontal stream cave and will be very cold and very wet this time of year. Be sure to wear plenty of warm layers if you go inside the cave and be sure to bring a change of clothes! Others have asked if they can visit the cave another day if they miss the open house. The cave is only open one day a year, so if you want to see it, be sure to join us Saturday!
If you would like to go into the cave, you will be required to use gear and clothing that’s been cleaned and disinfected according to the SCCi Cave Visitation Policy. In addition, white-nose syndrome was found inside the cave last winter so please also clean and disinfect your gear after the trip.
Stream passage in Frick's Cave. Photo by JV Van Swearingen IV
Stream passage in Frick's Cave. Photo by JV Van Swearingen IV

Right now the weather is looking great for Saturday! Hopefully that won't change! We're planning to cook burgers and hot dogs between noon and 4 PM. We'll also have a fire so everyone can warm up. Please join us around the fire to visit with friends, eat some great food, and meet new friends.
The address for the open house parking area is 1536 Fricks Gap Rd., Chickamauga, GA. Directions from the intersection of GA 136 and GA 193 (between LaFayette and Trenton): Go south 2.1 miles to Harold Stephens Road. Turn right. Continue until you dead end into Fricks Gap Road. Turn left. Follow this road to the signs for the open house parking.
We hope you can join us for this once-a-year opportunity. We look forward to seeing you!
Formation area in Frick's Cave. Photo by JV Van Swearingen IV.
Formation area in Frick's Cave. Photo by JV Van Swearingen IV.

Large Room in Frick's Cave. Photo by JV Van Swearingen IV.
Large Room in Frick's Cave. Photo by JV Van Swearingen IV.

 
 
 
 
We are excited to announce that SCCi will be exhibiting at the upcoming Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour, coming to Atlanta (at the Georgia Tech Ferst Center again!) on March 17! Check out this year's thrilling Banff World Tour trailer here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=gCzgqIm_Ofg
The event begins at 7 PM; doors open at 6 PM. Films shown during the three hour event (including an intermission with a great raffle!) are among the best films from the annual Banff Mountain Film Festival. As the REI event blurb states: "This year's tour features a collection of the most inspiring and though-provoking action, environmental, and adventure mountain films. Traveling from remote landscapes and cultures to up close and personal with adrenaline-packed action sports, the 2013/2014 World Tour is an exhilarating and provocative exploration of the mountain world."
From the film "Down the line"
From the film "Down the line"

We are able once again to get group-discounted tickets for just $12 (adults or children). Also this year, both SCCi and DCG (Dogwood City Grotto) will be exhibiting at the event, so we'll also need a few volunteers to help staff our tables. If you're interested in helping out with that, please contact Nancy Aulenbach (see contact info at the bottom of this note). As part of the agreement to exhibit, we've committed to trying to sell at least 50 group tickets, so we really need to have a great turnout from cavers! If we sell enough tickets, we may also be able to convince them to reserve us a block of good seats (which they almost never do, but they did for us the year we sold 54 tickets!)
A few years ago, we had a great "festival before the festival" dinner and social hour at the nearby Gordon Biersch restaurant. If there's sufficient interest, we'll try to do that again - let Dianne know if you're interested, as we'll probably need reservations for a decent sized group.
Please contact Dianne Guthrie (her contact info is at the bottom of this note) if you want tickets, and how many. Group tix are all the same price - $12 (vs. regular price of $15 adults, $13 students, seniors and children), and anyone 4 or older needs a ticket. Once she has purchased your tickets, you're on the hook for those tickets! Dianne hopes to be able to hand the out at the DCG meetings in February and March. If you won't be attending these meetings, not to worry - we'll mail them to you!
• Date: 3/17/2014
• Event Location: Ferst Center
• Event Fee: See event details
• Time: 6:00 - 10:00 PM EDT
• Leader: Banff

Description: REI once again hosts the only Atlanta stop on the Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour! This year's tour features a collection of the most inspiring and though-provoking action, environmental, and adventure mountain films. Traveling from remote landscapes and cultures to up close and personal with adrenaline-packed action sports, the 2013/2014 World Tour is an exhilarating and provocative exploration of the mountain world. $15 General Admission, $13 Students/Seniors. All proceeds go to support the Georgia Conservancy's Heartland Rivers of Georgia Paddle Series. Monday, March 17th at the Ferst Center at Georgia Tech. Doors open at 6pm, show starts at 7pm. For more information or group ticket sales of 10 or more, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 404.633.6508x203. Buy your tickets at any REI store. Georgia Conservancy's Heartland Rivers of GA Paddle Series: http://www.georgiaconservancy.org/heartland.html
We look forward to seeing you at Banff!
Contact info:
Dianne Guthrie
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
404-545-9961
Nancy Aulenbach
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 
 
 
Steve Hudson
Steve Hudson

I sadly announce that Steve Hudson, longtime friend and avid supporter of the Southeastern Cave Conservancy, unexpectedly passed away while vacationing with his wife Diane Cousineau in Puerto Rico on December 19th, 2013.
Steve was SCCi Charter Member #16. He exemplified the backbone of the Conservancy through his Sustaining Membership. He whole heartedly participated in the sustaining program by making a significant monthly contribution every month since the program’s inception more than 16 years ago. Steve’s sustaining membership substantially contributed to the generation of the required monthly operating capital for preserve acquisitions and stewardship.
Additionally, Steve graciously gave preserve-specific donations for nearly all SCCi acquisitions. I recall how excited he was when the Conservancy acquired Neversink, Valhalla, and Byers. His most recent preserve specific donation was toward our Run To The Mill Cave Preserve. As an explorer, Steve was the first to dive the borehole’s upstream sump. He pioneered the dive route for those divers that followed. This occurred years before the preserve was acquired in 2013.Steve’s name appears on the preserve map at the dive site for his generous donation to the Run To The Mill Preserve acquisition.
Steve endorsed the SCCi’s concept of cave protection and stewardship. He believed in its organization and executing administrators. He confirmed his beliefs through his continued contributions and years of support.
Steve made possible the donation of thousands of feet of PMI rope and equipment for all of the raffles held by the Conservancy. The money raised by these raffles provided precious dollars for cave acquisition and preserve stewardship.Throughout the years, he participated as a “matching contributor” on numerous matching donor fund raising challenges.
Steve was seen frequently at the SCCi booth during the TAG Fall Cave-In. Sometimes just kidding around with staff or visitors, assisting with our booth setup, consuming an adult beverage, and other times making serious contributions to our latest acquisition or fund raising program.
Steve’s support and presence will be greatly missed by the Conservancy and its friends.You can honor his memory and legacy by making a donation to the Conservancy in his name today.
Sincerely,
Kris Green SCCi Co-Founder, Sustaining Member #8, Vice Chairman, Director