NSS Luminary Series

The National Speleological Society is pleased to present video talks featuring pioneering cave explorers, karst scientists, and other long-time NSS members. Three luminaries are selected each year to make presentations at the annual convention. These talks are designed to give young and old cavers alike the opportunity to learn from some of the true superstars in our Society. This program is the brainchild of AVP Geary Schindel and Dave Hughes; the videos are produced by Dave Socky and Alex Sproul. Recommendations for future speakers are encouraged.

Beam Me Up Scotty - Laura Sangaila
Beam Me Up Scotty - Laura Sangaila
Beam Me Up Scotty đź“· Laura Sangaila

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2023 Luminary Series – George Dasher

NSS 16643 /RL/FE/AL/OS George Dasher is a force to be reckoned with in the Virginia Region and across the NSS.…

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2023 NSS Luminary Series – Annette Engel

NSS #31319 RL, FE, JM, SC Annette’s scientific career has been guided by serendipity. At 12 years old, away at summer…

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2023 NSS Luminary Series – Dave Bunnell

NSS 14760/RL/FE/OS Dave got his start caving as an undergrad at the Univ. of Delaware, where the outing club offered…

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2022 Luminary Series – John Mylroie

NSS 12514/FE/SC Attendees at caving events, and those that read the speleological literature, will surely recognize Dr. John Mylroie (pronounced…

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2022 Luminary Series – John Scheltens

NSS 10886RL/FE/CM/OS Few cavers in the National Speleological Society have had the breadth of experiences enjoyed by John Scheltens. In…

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2022 Luminary Series – David Springhetti

A spelunker in his teenage years, Dave Springhetti began serious caving while a college student. Dave relocated to Texas after…

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2021 Luminary Series – Richard Breisch

Rich started rock climbing his first weekend of his freshman year at Pennsylvania State University. The following September, his younger…

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2021 Luminary Series – Ralph Ewers

Ralph Ewers got interested in rocks and minerals on a family trip to the Rocky Mountains. When he returned home,…

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2021 Luminary Series – Frank Binney

Tales of endless passages honeycombing the Mojave Desert mountains near his childhood home inspired Frank Binney from the time he…

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2020 Luminary Series – Bill Balfour

While visiting relatives in Kentucky as a 13-year-old youngster, Bill Balfour—with his dad and uncle—drove over to Mammoth Cave. Balfour…

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2020 Luminary Series – Bill Jones

After graduation from high school in Fairmont, West Virginia, Bill Jones and a buddy set out on a much-anticipated road…

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2020 Luminary Series – Phil Lucas

Phil LucasÂ’ underground exploits are legion and include extensive poking, prodding, digging, excavating, exploring, and surveying in the Water Sinks…

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2019 Luminary Series – Ric Finch

Ric Finch grew up in Georgetown, Texas, and spent a meaningful part of his youth crawling around in a few…

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2018 Luminary Series – Chris Howes

Chris HowesÂ’ first cave exploring trip was in 1968. Afterward, his dad—believing that caves were dangerous—emphasized to Chris that he…

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2018 Luminary Series – Michael McEachern

Mike McEachern happened upon Bill HallidayÂ’s book entitled Adventure is Underground and, in due course, was invited on a grotto…

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2017 Luminary Series – Carol Hill

An initial fascination with Mammoth Cave catalyzed Carol HillÂ’s passion for cave geology, along with the speleothems that decorate the…

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2017 Luminary Series – Charlie Gibbs

After a trip to Schoolhouse Cave, Charles Gibbs reasoned that some type of ascender activated by the legs instead of…

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2017 Luminary Series – Dale Pate

For more than 20 years, Dale Pate enjoyed explo- ring and surveying in Sis- tema PurificaciĂłn, and in many of…

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2015 Luminary Series – Bill Steele

If there is a single word to describe Bill Steele, that word would be “Explorer.” Since childhood, Bill’s path in…

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2015 Luminary Series – Forrest Wilson

While living in Washington, Forrest Wilson attended meetings of the D.C. Grotto, met Paul Stevens, and learned of the Organ…

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