Members of the National  Speleological  Society working with The Nature Conservancy

28 May 2005

        The Nature Conservancy  (TNC) is the owner or manager of a significant number of important caves. Consequently, TNC can use the cave expertise and volunteer assistance of members of the NSS, and the NSS has interests in describing, inventorying, and studying the caves managed by TNC. To further these studies, a Memorandum of Understanding between the NSS and TNC  was adopted in 1992, which expresses the organizations' mutual interests and bases for cooperation on joint projects.

        NSS and TNC have cooperated for decades in the protection and management of caves. As long ago as the 1950's, NSS members assisted TNC when they leased Black Chasm Cave in California, TNC's first cave preserve (though the lease was subsequently canceled by the owner). In the late 1960's, it was TNC that loaned the NSS  the funds needed to purchase the then biologically diverse Shelta Cave in Huntsville, AL, including the land on which the NSS Office is now located.

        Hubbards Cave, TN, and Aiken Cave, PA, are but two of a number of caves where NSS members, statrting in the 1970's assisted TNC with fund raising and management - and TNC's support of the NSS is seen in the 1991 donation of Warren Cave Preserve to the NSS by TNC's Florida Chapter.

       NSS Grottos and others are currently actively assisting TNC in Tennessee with the study and  management of Hubbards and Yell Caves.  

       More recently the Indiana TNC has transferred ownership of the Orangeville Rise nature preserve (of the Lost River system) to the Indiana Karst Conservancy (IKC). TNC decided that the special interests of the IKC in karst features and karst education would provide better stewardship for this important spring.

        TNC's staff, through their liaison Heather Garland (Cave Program Coordinator for The Nature Conservancy of Tenessee) will work with the NSS through the NSS liaison Rane Curl (Michigan Interlakes Grotto and Michigan Karst Conservancy, and past NSS president) to promote cooperation, mutual understanding, and mutual support.

        NSS members are encouraged to write to Rane Curl if they seek assistance in contacting or working with chapters of TNC, while TNC chapter members should contact Heather Garland if they seek the assistance of experienced cave explorers, cartographers and photographers.