When I was working on my masters in geology at UW-Milwaukee I started an informal organization called the Geology Culture Club. I grew up in the Milwaukee area and I knew about all the great museums, music, and theater in the city. Those of you who haven't been to Milwaukee and think it a provincial backwater will be pleasantly surprised if you are ever lucky enough to visit the city. It feels much more like a European city than many other American cities and it has a very rich culture and nightlife. When I started the Geology Culture Club, it was my goal to turn on my fellow graduate students, many of whom were from outside of Wisconsin, to the cool stuff in Milwaukee.
Many organizations start in the same way. They are trying to share their knowledge or expertise with the world. They have distinct experience that draws together individuals to promote shared interests. Today's post highlights several karst organizations in the U.S. in order to provide a sampling of the kinds of initiatives underway in our country. I am sure that I will forget some important organizations in my haste. If I do, please forgive me and I would be grateful if you would post a description of the organization in the comments.
1. The National Cave and Karst Research Institute. Since I am the Chair of the Board of this organization, I have to list it first, even though it is one of the youngest groups I'll mention. This organization has been around for 20 years and seeks to promote research and education on cave and karst issues at the national level.
|One of the goals of the NSS is to promote safety and|
develop skills of cavers. This is a photo of some
rope training at an NSS Convention.
Click for photo credit.
What also is important about the NSS is that the organization has about 250 local chapters, called grottos, that amplify tremendous local knowledge of cave and karst to the national level. Guest blogger, Geary Schindel, wrote an excellent piece about the NSS on this site and it is worth a read here.
3. Karst Waters Institute. The Karst Waters Institute has been around since 1991 and is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. Obviously the focus of the institute is on water in karst areas. However, the Institute has been running quality conferences and publishing important pieces on a variety of karst issues since its inception.
|Bats are in trouble in the U.S. That's why Bat Conservation International|
is so important. Click for photo credit.
5. The U.S. Geological Survey. The USGS has a group that focuses on national karst issues. They conduct research, produce reports, and publish the U.S. karst map.
6. The Geological Society of America Karst Division. The GSA, the professional organization of geologists, has a new division, the Karst Division, that serves professionals involved in karst research.
7. The National Park Service. The National Park Service manages many caves and karst landscapes. Thus, it is not a surprise that they have an office that is focused on sound cave and karst management.
8. The U.S. Forest Service. Like the National Park Service, the U.S. Forest Service also has a team involved with cave and karst management.
9. Bat Conservation International. While many of us are familiar with the plight of bees as a result of their worldwide decline, fewer are familiar with the significant conservation issues associated with bats. One group, Bat Conservation International works hard to stop the loss of habitat for these important creatures.
There are of course dozens of state or regional organizations that you can find in your own local areas. If I forgot any major group, again, my apologies. Please post a note about them in the comments on this blog.
Day 6 of my series on the 10 Days of Karst will feature important karst journals.
Previous 10 Days of Karst Posts: