East Tennessee Grotto


December 2016

The December 7th ETG meeting will be a potluck at 7:30pm at the Oak Ridge Civic Center.

November 2016

The November grotto meeting was attending by 21 members and guests. The guests were introduced and recent trips were reviewed. Members that volunteered at the Cherokee Caverns were mentioned with a detail of the success of this years event.

The Spring Hill Saltpeter Cave cleanup will be made on Saturday Nov 5. A vertical practice will be held.

Some members have gear that they want to sell and asked if other members may be interested. It was decided that the next meeting will include a Gear Sale and Swap. Members are encouraged to bring gear for trade or sale between attendees. NOTE: Per grotto standing rule #10 - approved items may be auctioned at a grotto meeting provided that 50% of the price is donated to the grotto. Please let one of the officers know if you wish to have any of your gear auctioned.

The highway cleanup will be Saturday Nov 12. It was mentioned that additional resources may be available for cleanups from the Service Learning Department of Pellissippi State.

Two well known cavers, Brian Ham and Ben Miller, are continuing their dye trace project to find the largest Karst Spring and are seeking funds to support the ongoing activities. They will be providing the grotto with additional details of their project before the next grotto meeting. Cheryl made a motion to provide a donation of $200 to the project. This was seconded by Mendy Thomas-Swain. The motion will be tabled until the additional information is received. The vote will be made at the next meeting.

The Gray Fossil Site has a Mastodon Skeleton show. Check website for details.

Matt Tomlinson of the Smokey Mountain Grotto provided an update for the search for the location of the 2017 SERA Cave Carnival.

Reminder: 2017 Grotto Dues can be paid now. Per bylaws The grotto dues are to be paid no later than the January general meeting.

The presentation was given by Mike Fischer on Comparing Cave Geology of Florida and Tennessee.

The next meeting will be Dec 7.

October 2016

Our October meeting presentation was given by Matt Lee on ridgewalking techniques. It was a great presentation, Matt!! Our next meeting will be November 2nd at Oak Ridge Civic Center. The presenter will be Matt Fisher on Tennessee Geology.

Discussion

Bat houses for PSTCC JD Burnette spoke again about doing a workshop to construct bat houses for the garden at Pellissippi State. If anyone is interested or wants more information please contact JD.

Owner of Ferris Pit Cheryl Pratt informed us that the owner of Ferris Pit has passed away.

Upcoming Events

ETG Cave Trip to Pine Hill This trip will be lead by Jeanie Trowbridge on October 22nd. If you are interested in this trip please contact Jeanie for details.

CRF Annual Meeting is October 28th- 29th in Harrison, Arkansas

NSS Board of Governors Meeting is October 28th-30th in Sewanne, Tennessee. If interested in the meeting please contact Kelly Smallwood.

Appalachain Cave Conservancy Meeting on November 5th at the Gray Fossil Site. If interested you can check out their facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/events/1594803217443996

ETG Springhill Saltpeter Cave Clean Up and Vertical Workshop will be on November 6th. We will meet (place TBD, since we will have to carpool to the cave) at 10AM. The cave is located in the Powell area. We will clean the cave, then have vertical practice for anyone interested in being on rope. There is a walk in entrance, a 40 foot pit entrance, and a 90 foot pit entrance. Please let me know if you are interested in coming so I can have an idea of attendees. Also, I need to know if anyone needs gear.

Grassy Cove Highway Clean Up is set for November 12th meeting at the 2nd Kemmer Store at 10AM EST. There will be a lead cave trip afterward, probably to Howards Well. If you have questions contact Cheryl Pratt. Anyone interested in camping afterward?

September 2016

The September meeting presentation was given by Matt Tomlinson on La Grieta section of Sistema Huautla.

Discussion

Bat houses for PSTCC

JD Burnette asked about ETG's interested in helping build bat houses for the Pellissippi State garden. If done, this would be conducted in the form of a workshop. If interested in doing or for more information contact JD at e_jdburnette@pstcc.edu Also, below is some information he sent regarding the proposal.. With my new position as an AmeriCorps VISTA serving at PSCC-Hardin Valley, I'd like to see if we might be able to forge a small partnership between ETG, Pellissippi state, and AmeriCorps VISTA to synergistically help each organizations with their mission and goals. I would like to invite East Tennessee Grotto in building, installing, and engaging PSCC students as volunteers during the process of creating bat habitat through service learning. I still have to get this proposal to my supervisor and she has to send it up the ladder for sponsoring site approval. However, I believe this will be beneficial for the garden's mission and it's poverty alleviation goals as organic pest management and organic on-site source of nutrients for compost additive. Idealy this helps ETG's community outreach, as well as perhaps qualify ETG to receive funding from grants for WNS awareness, building of bat habitat, etc. Let me know what you think and what kind of paperwork, proposals, etc are appropriate here.

Loan for Smoky Mountain Grotto
Matt Tomlinson inquired about the possibility of a loan to the Smoky Mountain Grotto in order to host SERA Cave Carnival. This was held to a vote in the monthly meeting and everyone agreed this could be arranged, if needed, if given a proposal with the pay back conditions. These conditions will later be discussed with the grotto and then ultimately decided.

Cave Clean Up and Vertical Training/Practice
A cave clean up at Springhill Saltpeter Cave was discussed. The cave is located in the Powell area of Knoxville. There is a possibility of us also having a vertical workshop in the cave. There are three entrances, a walk in, a 40 foot drop in, or a 90 foot drop in. Some work would have to be done to prepare for this, so please let me know if you are interested in the vertical aspect.

Upcoming Events
TAG Fall Cave In is October 6th-9th on Lookout Mountain in GA. I am wanting to set up an ETG camp. This has typically been done on Doo Dop Lane behind the bath house on the left side of the main area (where the fire is).

CRF Annual Meeting will be held October 28th & 29th in Harrison, Arkansas.

August 2016

The August 3rd ETG meeting will be a potluck at 7:30pm at Cherokee Caverns.

July 2016

The July ETG meeting opened with a recap of recent cave trips by members. And 2 visitors were introduced.

The grotto is taking suggestions for a cave clean up project. The possibility of Spring Hill Salt Peter Cave was suggested. The landowners miss us and this may be a good location for vertical workshops.

Smokey Mountain Grotto Chair Matt Tomlinson spoke about the SMG potentially hosting the 2017 SERA Cave Carnival. As the SMG and ETG have many of the same members it was asked if members would be interested in supporting the effort. A potential location has been identified with camping, caves, swimming holes, and owners that are very caver friendly and interested in the caving community.

Abby Harmon discussed digging out the entrance to China Cave. This was dug out last year and was a 4 hour endeavor. The landowners would be open to hearing ideas for how to prevent the cave from filling in.

The Grotto Campout will be held July 24 - 25 at Camps Gulf with a cave trip on Sunday July 25. See the facebook page for details.

Blue Springs Cave needs gravel for the entrance. The costs of the rock, delivery and spreading is being explored.

The meeting then focused on the presentation by Gareth Davies - How Old are Caves?

June 2016

The June meetingwill be held at Cherokee Caverns at 7:30. This meeting will be a potluck social gathering for the grotto. Bring your favorite food and beverage. Seating is limited and everyone is encouraged to bring their own chairs.

May 2016

The meeting was opened with Don Spong showing videos and recounting stories of his Cavern Diving in the Yucatan. The stories and video made for a wonderful presentation!

The meeting topics were brief and included a casual discussion of those going to the upcoming NSS convention in Ely NV. Jay will be going and Abby will be presenting on her research of Water Quality and Antropogenic Impacts on Animal Life.

Our normal meeting location is not available to us in June. So our next meeting will be held at Cherokee Caverns at 7:30. This meeting will be a potluck social gathering for the grotto. Bring your favorite food and beverage. Seating is limited and everyone is encouraged to bring their own chairs.

Reminder that the 65th SERA Cave Carnival is June 2 - 5. This years host is the Nashville Grotto and held at Pigeon Mountain. Contact Larry E Matthews for more information at nss6792@bellsouth.net

April 2016

Our meeting opened with the distribution of the latest SpeleoType followed by a recap of recent trips by members. Visitors were introduced.

Everyone was reminded that Grotto dues are paid on a calendar year and were due in Jan. Individual dues are $12 and Family is $15. (Thanks to everyone who paid at the meeting!)

The Grotto officers recently had a business meeting. The topic of Grotto Bling was discussed for items such as T-Shirts, Car Stickers, Coozies, etc. Prices will be gathered and presented for consideration and ordering at a future meeting.

A Summer Grotto Trip was proposed with a few locations being suggested. Fall Creek Falls seems to be a good choice. A date needs to be set. Permits for Camps Gulf will be available after May 15 .

The date for the June meeting is reserved for another group at ORCC. Alternative locations were discussed including having a potluck at SERA or a Grotto Social at Cherokee Caverns. If held at Cherokee Caverns, everyone would bring a dish and a chair.

The 2016 NSS Membership Book was issued. Notably, our esteemed Matt Tomlinson provided the cover photo.

It was noted that Stan has the Grotto Flags.

And lastly - the question was posed - Why is there a Bowling Ball with names on it at a grotto meeting? Al brought this and since Jeannie's name was on the bowling ball, he deferred to her for an answer. She pointed out her name is on it twice! The Bowling Ball is an humorous warm-hearted award given for Bone-Headed caving. It began when a rope bag was "Rocked" with a Bowling Ball and went unnoticed the entire trip. Notable Awards include Arriving at a vertical cave with no vertical gear, loosing a shoe down a crack in cave, and many others. Nominations for Bowling Ball Award winners will be accepted at each meeting.

The April Presentation was given by Kathleen Holter - Dark Thoughts From TN to Thailand.

March 2016

Dr. Kathleen Affholter of Pellissippi State Community College will be giving the ETG April presentation on Wednesday night entitled "From Tennessee to Thailand, Dark Thoughts".

Wednesday April 6th @7:30pm
Oak Ridge Civic Center

The March Grotto meeting welcomed several visiting members from Florida and Savannah, GA.

Recent Grotto activities were recapped. The most notable was the SKTF with a total of 36 people from area grottoes that helped to remove 80 ties and 4 tons of trash!

Several members visited the SCCI Appreciation day at Fricks Cave. A good time was had by all!

Candice announced that the upcoming SERA WBM would include a vote on an amendment to the bylays. This amendment would allow that any adjoining state to the original SCCI states could be admitted to the SCCI upon request. Each grotto would have one vote. After discussion a vote of grotto members determined the ETG vote would be Yes.

The June meeting must be relocated. Consideration will be given to a potluck or restaurant for the location. This will be the weekend before SERA Cave Carnival. It was also discussed having the meeting there. No decision was reached.

Cave trips for the WBM weekend were discussed. Cheryl offered to lead a trip to High School Pit. Jay offered to lead a trip to Keller Bend Cave and Blow Hole.

Sid Jones presented "The Plumbing Under the City of Cookeville"

February 2016

The grotto welcomes 3 new members in February! Extend your cavers hospitality to Jonea Mohn, Amanda Barton, and Matt Fischer. Amanda and Jonea are both from West Knoxville and are experienced cavers that need more local contacts. Matt joins us as a transplant from the area of the River City Grotto in Florida.

The meeting had visitors including Alka Singh who is interested in beginning caving and Professor Nancy Fuller from Pellissippi State. Professor Fuller is working to get students involved with visits to Cherokee Caverns.

Saturday Feb 6 Cheryl is planning a trip to Blue Spring to the Cathedral Room.

Matt is considering a future trip to Jewett 2 in the future. Date to be determined based on interest.

The presentation was an NSS video: TAG - You're it!

Upcoming Events:
Feb 20 - SKTF Clean up at Run to the Mill. Other TN grottos and TN Green will be joining the effort. As this may bring non-cavers to the event, the effort will be referred to as cleanup at the Head of the Sequatchie.

Feb 27 - SERA appreciation day at Fricks Cave! This is a special event for members only. Fricks Cave is open only ONE day a year! You must be a member or a direct guest of a member to attend. Registration is closed for this year. However, Al and Mendy may have room for additional guests on their reservation. See http://www.scci.org/2016-fricks-cave-member-appreciation-day/ for more information.

March 5 - 6 and again June 11, 12 - HCRU will have SRT training. For more info visit: http://www.hcru.org/srt

March 12 - SERA Winter Business Meeting. Hosted by the Smokey Mountain Grotto. The event will be at the TN Valley Unitarian Universalist Church. There will be many cavers traveling from out of town and may need a place to stay. If you have space available, please let Abby or Mendy know. For additional info and updates - visit: https://www.facebook.com/events/550892231734507/

March 18 - 19 FL Cave Crawl For more info check out FlintRiverGrotto.org.

May 7 - 14 - NCRC Level 1 - Level 2 training at the Cave Rescue Operations and Management Seminar will be held at Camp Skyline, in Mentone, Alabama. Visit https://www.regonline.com/builder/site/Default.aspx?EventID=1749133 for more info.

May 27 – 30 SpeleoFest will be held at Lonestar Preserve, Boonieville, KY - Visit http://louisville.caves.org/. for more info.

June 2 - 5 SERA Cave Carnival will be hosted by the Nashville Grotto and held at Pigeon Mountain.
Contact Emily Davis at emilydavis33@gmail.com for more information.

January 2016

The new Chairman of the grotto Abby Harmon opened the meeting by thanking the past offices with special thanks to Alan England for his work as chairman for the last 3 years.

The other 2016 officers were announced:
Vice Chairmen: Stan White and Natalie Pheasant
Secretary: Mendy Swain
Treasurer: Bill Devan
Quartermaster: Al Swain

A new member joined the grotto - Welcome Matt Entler to the group! He is a grad student at UT and is fairly new to caving.

Upcoming Events:
Feb 20 - SKTF Clean up at Run to the Mill. TN Green will be joining the effort. As this may bring non-cavers to the event, TN will refer to this as cleanup at the Head of the Sequatchie.

March 5 - 6 and again June 11, 12 - HCRU will have SRT training. For more info visit: http://www.hcru.org/srt

March 12 - SERA Winter Business Meeting. Hosted by the Smokey Mountain Grotto. The event will be at the TN Valley Unitarian Universalist Church. There will be many cavers traveling from out of town and may need a place to stay. If you have space available, please let Abby or Mendy know. For additional info and updates - visit: https://www.facebook.com/events/550892231734507/

March 18 - 19 FL Cave Crawl For more info check out FlintRiverGrotto.org.

May 7 - 14 - NCRC Level 1 - Level 2 training at the Cave Rescue Operations and Management Seminar will be held at Camp Skyline, in Mentone, Alabama. Visit https://www.regonline.com/builder/site/Default.aspx?EventID=1749133 for more info.

May 27 – 30 SpeleoFest will be held at Lonestar Preserve, Boonieville, KY - Visit http://louisville.caves.org/. for more info.

June 2 - 5 SERA Cave Carnival will be hosted by the Nashville Grotto and held at Pigeon Mountain.
Contact Emily Davis at emilydavis33@gmail.com for more information.

It is planned to have at least one grotto trip per month. A list was circulated for everyone to note the caves they would like to visit and trips that they would be willing to lead.

Cheryl Pratt plans a trip for Jan 9 to Blue Spring.
Mendy and Al will lead a trip to Iron Hoop on Jan 16.

Suggestions are being requested for presentation topics. A suggestion was made to view NSS videos or another meeting to practice knots.

Gareth Davies gave a colorful presentation on his trip to the Goufre Berger in France.

The next meeting will be Feb 3 at the ORCC at 7:30.