The District of Columbia Grotto (DCG), a local chapter of the National Speleological Society (NSS), is an organization dedicated to the exploration, study and conservation of caves. The Grotto brings together persons interested in all aspects of caving. With a history going back to 1939, it is one of the oldest caving organizations in existence. Some of our original members were founders of the NSS.
As a chapter, DCG is bound by the constitution and bylaws of the NSS. In addition, DCG has more specific guidelines for membership, officers, and various activities, documented in its Bylaws.
At any given time, DCG is involved in a variety of caving projects. We have trips for novice cavers and an on-going training program for more experienced people. The latter includes classes in vertical caving techniques, on-the-job training in cave mapping and occasional cave rescue workshops. We also maintain the closed cave list for the Virginia Area Region and are involved in other regional activities.
The on-line caving calendar has a list of area caving projects and upcoming activities. When you go to the calendar just enter Userid: calend and Password: gocave, when prompted.
Our newsletter, the DC Speleograph, is a bi-monthly publication.
Our membership includes people of all ages and walks of life. Interests include cave exploration, speleology, photography, mapping and quiet enjoyment of caves. Activities range from hardcore exploration to armchair caving. If you have an interest in caves, there's a place for you in DCG.
The Grotto meets each month on the third Thursday of the month. Meetings alternate between a formal meeting with some sort of program in odd-numbered months, and an informal dinner meeting at a local restuarant in even-numbered months. Guests are always welcome at any of the meetings.
Of course, the main reason for joining the Grotto is to meet other cavers and go on trips. In addition, Grotto members receive the DC Speleograph and access to the Grotto's library of caving literature and extensive collection of exchange newsletters. Training in vertical caving, surveying, cave rescue and other aspects of caving is provided on an occasional basis, depending on the level of interest. The newsletter offers opportunities to exercise your talents in writing, printing layout, and artwork.
We don't have any entrance requirements except a commitment to safe caving and cave conservation. You do not have to be a member of the National Speleological Society to join the DC Grotto (although there are many benefits to NSS membership).
Your best option is to come to the next meeting, meet some of the local cavers and sign up. If you can't wait, membership information is available on-line.