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Brad Barcom

The Indiana Cave Survey was formed about 1986 when some cavers in Indiana saw the need for a specialized organization dedicated to cataloging all cave and karst features in the state.

As part of this effort several tasks for the Indiana Cave Survey were identified. One was to maintain a database of all caves as well as other karst features such as springs, sinks and swallowholes, and even openings which do not currently meet the Survey's definition of a cave, usually because the passage is found to be too short.



Initially, a member in Bloomington, Indiana, had maintained an extensive database on a main frame computer. This became the foundation of the Survey's database which was moved to a "flat file" database in an IBM PC format application.

The task of organizing information to be included in the master database falls on several ICS County Directors. A County Director is responsible for updating the data files for one or more counties. All Cave Report Forms are sent to the appropriate County Director who enters the electronic data and gathers other related information into a paper file. A copy of the paper file is then sent to The Archivist. Once a year, the County Directors send their electronic files to the Master Database Custodian and the master database is updated.

In 1996, the old "flat-file" application was abandoned and the database was moved to a more modern, relational database. This allows for better access of the information through increased sort and printing options as well as portability to other database applications.

The Indiana Cave Survey also encourages survey activity, drafting of accurate cave maps, publication of cave descriptions, and exploration to contribute to the general knowledge and understanding of caves and karst.

As part of this effort several tasks for the Indiana Cave Survey were identified. One was to maintain a database of all caves as well as other karst features such as springs, sinks and swallowholes, and even openings which do not currently meet the Survey's definition of a cave, usually because the passage is found to be too short.

ICS Members Survey A Cave Passage Throughout it's history the Survey has cooperated with other organizations including the Hoosier National Forest's Karst Analysis Research Survey Team (K.A.R.S.T.) project, a cave resource committee, also with the HNF, sponsorship of the annual Indiana Cave Symposium with the Indiana Karst Conservancy, and most recently with The Nature Conservancy on their Blue River Project. From time-to-time, the Survey is asked to supply information on karst features in a particular area as preparation for housing or industrial development, well drilling, or road construction. The ICS has affiliated with the The National Speleological Society and is listed as a Survey of the Society.

The governing body of the Indiana Cave Survey consists of six elected Officers: President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, and two Board Members. Elections are held at the December meeting and terms run for one calendar year.

There are a number of positions that are appointed by the President with membership approval. These include the County Directors, the Archivist, the Master Database Custodian, and the Editor of the newsletter, The Indiana Cave Survey Notebook. The newsletter is published before each quarterly meeting, and serves as a meeting notice to the membership. The President's Message, previous meeting minutes, and a current membership roster are regular features of the newsletter.

The Indiana Cave Survey, Inc is a not-for-profit corporation registered in the state of Indiana. For more detailed information about the structure and organization of The Indiana Cave Survey, please read The ICS Constitution and Bylaws


The name of the organization shall be The Indiana Cave Survey, Inc.

The purpose of the organization shall be the same as The National Speleological Society, with the additional purpose to collect and maintain data on all caves and related features within the State of Indiana.

A. The organization shall be managed by a Board of Directors consisting of the Officers and enough Board Members at Large to make a total of six people. The officers shall be PRESIDENT, VICE PRESIDENT, SECRETARY, and TREASURER.

B. All Board members will be elected annually at the last regularly scheduled membership meeting of the year by vote of a plurality of the ICS members present. Terms shall run from 1 January through 31 December.

C. Any Board member may be removed from office for cause by a 2/3 vote of all ICS members. The vote must take place at a meeting of the membership with at least one week's notice to the membership that the action is on the agenda. Absentee ballots will be accepted.

D. Vacancies on the Board shall be filled by vote of a plurality of the ICS members present at the membership meeting at which the matter is considered.

A. There shall be three categories of membership in the ICS:

  1. Associate
  2. Regular
  3. Contributing

B. Full membership as a Regular or Contributing member is limited to members of the National Speleological Society.

C. Only Regular and Contributing members shall have the right to vote at membership meetings.

D. Offices and directorships provided for under the ICS Constitution or By-Laws shall be held only by Regular and Contributing members.

E. Qualifications and conditions of each membership category, and method of termination of membership shall be further specified in the By-Laws.

There shall be regular meetings of the membership at times and dates determined by the By-Laws. Special meetings of the membership may be called by the Board of Directors. The Board of Directors may hold meetings of the Board when called by the President or by any three directors.

The Constitution and By-Laws of the National Speleological Society shall be binding on the Indiana Cave Survey. Any action inconsistent therewith shall be null and void.

Any NSS property in the possession of the Indiana Cave Survey in the event of dissolution shall revert to the NSS.

A. This constitution may be amended by a favorable vote by 2/3 of all ICS members.

B. Prior to any meeting concerning amendments, all members must be given notice for purposes of casting absentee ballots.

IX. DEFINITIONS (Constitution and Bylaws):
A. "Notice" means actual notice or mailing notice to the most recent address given by the member to the ICS Treasurer.

B. Whenever the term "member(s)" is used without further qualification in the ICS Constitution or Bylaws it refers to Regular and Contributing members.

C. Any use of a masculine or feminine pronoun in the ICS Constitution, Bylaws, and policies will be construed to include the opposite gender.

Amended and approved, August 3, 1997; James Adams, Secretary


Regular meetings shall be held once each quarter, preferably during the months of March, June, September, and December. The place and date of each meeting shall be decided at the previous meeting. Notice shall be given to all members.

A. Dues shall be set at $5.00 per calendar year for all categories of membership.

B. The initial dues of a new member shall be pro-rated based on the remaining proportion of the calendar year at the time of joining. Thereafter, all dues shall paid at the start of each calendar year.

The membership categories are an attempt to balance the competing objectives of easy access to ICS information and protection of that information. They accomplish this by relating access of information to the demonstrated contributions of each member.

1. ASSOCIATE. This membership category is open to anyone who supports the purposes of the ICS and pays dues. No screening or vote of the membership is required. This category provides a means for someone to support our organization even if he does not qualify for (or does not wish to apply for) the higher categories of membership. Associate Members may attend all ICS meetings and may participate in discussions, but may not vote. They will receive the newsletter and other publications on the same basis as other members, and have limited access to “member-only” areas of the ICS website(s), but will not have direct access to specific cave information. If someone contacts a County Director or ICS Officer with a request for locations or other information about specific caves, the County Director or officer will consider the fact that the requester is an Associate Member to be a significant factor in favor of granting the request.

2. REGULAR. Those who apply for this status must be an Associate Member in good standing and submit a completed application form at least 30-day prior to a general ICS meeting at which the upgrade is to be considered. The upgrade requirements are:

   A) Submit five properly completed ICS Cave Location Report Forms and have been a member of the ICS for at least two years; or

   B) Submit five properly completed ICS Cave Location Report Forms and have three sponsors, who are Regular or Contributing members, who themselves have been ICS members for at least two years. The sponsors should personally know the applicant and attest to the applicant's character, reliability, and have knowledge of the applicant’s ability to contribute to the goals of the ICS; or

   C) Request a waiver from the Executive Board for one or more of the above requirements clearly stating why the requirement(s) cannot be met. Waivers will generally only be considered and granted under extraordinary situations.

   D) The voting members present at the general meeting at which the upgrade is to be considered shall review the applicant's qualifications and determine by majority vote whether or not to accept the applicant into Regular Membership (the membership may also vote to defer the application). The applicant is encouraged to be present to speak, but this is not required. Regular Members are entitled to be present at all ICS meetings and to vote at all general meetings on motions, resolutions, membership applications, and in the election of officers. They shall be entitled to full access to the ICS’s on-line cave database.

3. CONTRIBUTING. This category is restricted to persons who have a record of significant contributions to the ICS. In order to be selected as a Contributing Member, a person must have been a Regular Member for at least one year immediately preceding being considered and must submit a resume justifying the change in membership status. In order to be considered for Contributing Membership, a person must be nominated in writing by three Contributing Members, Board Members, or County Directors, who know him personally, and can attest to the nominee's character, reliability, and past record of contributions. After considering each nominee, the Board will vote by secret ballot. To become a Contributing Member, a nominee must receive the votes of two thirds of all ICS Board Members. Factors to be considered are membership in the NSS and one or more grottoes; membership in other caving organizations; a record of significant contributions to the work of the ICS; a substantial record of participation in finding, opening, mapping, and otherwise documenting caves; involvement in scientific research involving caves, cave fauna, or karst geology and hydrology. Contributing Members may have access to additional querying tools and the ability to generate special reports. Contributing Members shall continue to have all rights and responsibilities of regular members.


A. President

  1. Preside over meetings.
  2. Appoint committees and committee chairman.
  3. Serve on all committees at his option.
  4. Call special meetings of the Board.
  5. Be an active spokesman for the ICS.

B. Vice President

  1. Perform all the duties of the President in his absence.
  2. Assist the other members of the Board as needed.

C. Secretary

  1. Record minutes of all membership and Board meetings.
  2. Handle correspondence and other paperwork.

D. Treasurer

  1. Receive all money and pay out the same as authorized by vote of the membership or Board.
  2. Pay out legitimate claims of under $50.00 which occur in the ordinary course of business, without the need to obtain specific board or membership approval.
  3. Keep an accurate account of receipts and disbursements and report at each meeting.
  4. Assist the Secretary in making required reports.
  5. Maintain a current membership roster.

E. Board Members at Large

  1. To serve and assist in decisions of the Board.
  2. To assist other members of the Board as needed.

A. Committees and other offices may be appointed by the President in accordance with the vote of the membership or Board.

B. All committees shall expedite the orders of the President, Board, and membership, and shall prepare regular reports of their activities/findings which shall be read at ICS meetings.

C. Committees may be dissolved by the President in accordance with the vote of the membership or Board.

D. Appointed offices include Archivist, Master Database Custodian, and Editor. These must be filled with ICS members. Others positions may be appointed as needed.

A member may be appointed County Director of one or more counties by plurality vote of the membership present at the meeting at which the matter is considered. The following factors shall be considered when selecting a county director:
Interest in and familiarity with the region. Time and ability to perform the work. Accessibility to the region.

County Directors' duties are as follows:

  1. Receive report forms for caves in their counties.
  2. Ensure that the forms are complete and accurate.
  3. Assign new ICS cave numbers.
  4. Forward report forms and other records to the archivist and data entry persons as appropriate.
  5. Coordinate efforts of members working in their counties.
  6. Review requests for lists of caves within their counties and provide such lists if the request is justified.
  7. County Directors may be removed by a majority vote of the members present at a general membership meeting. When a County Director resigns or is removed, he shall promptly forward all cave files and other ICS property related to his position as County Director to his successor or to the ICS President.

A. The ICS may publish newsletters, bulletins, guidelines, handbooks, scientific studies, cave lists, maps, and other publications as appropriate.

B. The price, if any, of each publication shall be determined by the membership or Board.

A. The ICS will maintain a complete database of cave information, including maps, for caves and related features in the State of Indiana.

B. Distribution of material and the recall of distributed materials will be determined by vote of the membership or the Board in accordance with the Constitution and By-Laws.

A. This section applies to all categories of membership, including Associate.

B. Members may be dropped or expelled from the ICS for the following reasons:

  1. Non-payment of dues.
  2. Willful misuse of ICS equipment/property.
  3. Conduct detrimental to the ICS.
  4. Unauthorized distribution of cave lists or other restricted ICS information.

C. Procedure: Termination of membership for non-payment of dues is automatic. Membership will be automatically reinstated at the previous level if the terminated member pays all back dues owed. Any Board Member may recommend that an ICS member be expelled for cause. The member must be given a hearing before the board with at least one week notice. If the board recommends expulsion, the matter will be presented for a majority vote of the membership present at the next membership meeting, with the member threatened with expulsion having at least one week notice. The member has the right to present his case in person or by representative at both hearings.

A. Upon the dissolution of the Survey, the Board shall, after paying or making provision for the payment of all liabilities of the Survey, dispose of all assets of the Survey exclusively for the purposes of the Survey in such a manner, or to such organization or organizations organized and operated exclusively for charitable, educational, or scientific purposes or for the purpose of conservation of caves and karst features, as shall at the time qualify as an exempt organization under Sec. 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954 (or the corresponding provision of any future United States Internal Revenue Law), as the Board shall determine.

B. Any such assets not so disposed of shall be disposed of by an Indiana court of general jurisdiction, exclusively for such charitable, educational, or scientific purposes or for the purpose of conservation of caves and karst features, or to such organization or organizations, as the court shall determine, which are organized and operated exclusively for such purposes.

Amendments to the By-Laws may be made by a majority vote of the voting membership. Absentee ballots will be accepted.

Amended and approved; Revision 2012-12