Certificate of Merit

Past Recipients

This list is compiled from past issues of the NSS News and Section 6 of the Board of Governor's Manual.  Some discrepancies between the NSS News and Section 6 listings were discovered while compiling this list and every effort was made to correct the discrepancies. Not all issues of the NSS News stated what the recipient(s) had done to receive the award. Special thanks to Bill Mixon for researching past issues of the NSS News to compile this list.

1950J Harlen BretzContributions to the knowledge of cave origins.
William DaviesDescription cave geology, especially state-wide cave surveys of West Virginia and Maryland.
Ruben GarciaOrganizing speleological congress in Monterrey, Mexico.
Betty YoeService as NSS News mailer and NSS memberhip maintenance.
1951Leroy FooteService as NSS treasurer for past 8 years.
John PetrieService as an NSS officer for 10 years.
Betty YoeRetiring as financial secretary of the NSS.
1952Eugenio de Bellard PietriHelping arrange expedition to Venezuela and studies of the caves there.
Chrissy MansfieldService as recording secretary for several years.
1953Tex HelmPhotography in Carlsbad Caverns, especially the famous color photograph of the Big Room.
Robert LewisService for 5 years as business manager of the NSS News.
Western Maryland RailAssistance in investigation of the deposits in Cumberland Bone Cave.
1954Robert HattBook Faunal and Archeological Researches in Yucatan Caves.
1955Burton FaustService as an officer of the NSS.
William HillService as editor of the NSS News.
Jerome LudlowService as editor of NSS Bulletins 11-16.
George MooreContributions to Speleology.
Bernard SmeltzerContributions to Bulletin 15, Caves of Pennsylvania.
1956Loren Woods & Robert IngerStudies of North American cave fishes
John W. Twente, Jr.Dissertation on bats in gypsum caves.
Roger Brucker and members of the Flint Ridge ProjectSurveys showing cave development in flat-bedded limestone.
Albert Skira, George Baittelle, Hans Hinz and Claudio ElmerBook Lascaux or the Birth of Art.
1957Alfred BogliExploration and mapping of Holloch Cave.
Huntley IngallsPhoto-documentation of Cass Cave.
Dorothy RevilleEditing the NSS News.
1958Philip LivingstonPublisher of the last ten issues of the NSS Bulletin.
Philip SmithApplying speleological techniques to arctic crevasses.
William White, Robert Dunn, Russell Howard and other members of the Pittsburgh GrottoThe Speleo Digest.
Burton FaustExtraordinary service to the NSS in many capacities.
Antonio Nunez-JimenezExploration and study of Cuban caves.
1959Marjorie SweetingGeological study of caves in England and Jamaica.
Jean CorbelMonograph Les karsts de nord-ouest de l'Europe and other studies.
Orlando ParkStudies of cave beetles of family Pselaphidae.
1960William HallidayBook Adventure is Underground.
Tom HarrisonArchaeological work in the caves of Borneo.
Joseph Lawrence, Jr.Organizing the 1954 Crystal Cave Expedition.
Brian O'BrienDescribing caves in Australia and founding the Australian Speleological Foundation.
Clay PerryBooks on the caves of New York and New England.
1961Thomas Barr, Jr.Studies on evolution and ecology of cave animals.
George Deike IIIThesis on cave development in Burnsville Cove.
Oscar Hawksley, Frank Dahlgren and Jerry VineyardMissouri Speleological Survey.
1962Samual DavisBusiness manager of the NSS News.
Aola RichardsCave Biology of Australia and New Zealand.
1963Richard AndersonNSS Cave Files Committee.
Masuzo UenoCave Fauna of Japan and surrounding islands.
Dwight Deal, Herb Conn and Jan ConnSurvey of Jewel Cave.
1964James ReddellTexas Speleological Survey.
Hubert TrimmelInternationale Bibliographie fur Spelaologie.
1965Henry DouglasCaves of Virginia.
Arthur Lange and Raymond deSaussureCave Research Association, Cave Notes.
1966John GuildayPaleontology at New Paris sinkholes.
Allen McCradySpeleo Digest editing.
Hermine ZotterWater tracing in West Virginia.
1967Lewis BickingFriars Hole Cave System.
Donald CournoyerYears of service as NSS officer.
Russell GurneeRio Camuy Cave Project.
Victor SchmidtEfforts in cave conservation.
1968Ralph Ewers and Cincinnati Museum of Natural History Board of DirectorsCave exhibits at Cincinnati Museum of Natural History.
John Fish, Terry Raines and William RussellMexican caves, Caves of the Inter-American Highway.
Theodore SchadFinancial work for the NSS and National Speleological Foundation.
1969John Cooper, Tom Johnson and the Huntsville GrottoShelta Cave Project.
John CarmanLegal advice to the NSS.
1970John HolsingerDissertation on amphipod genus Stygonectes.
Robert MitchellDissertation on carabid beetle Rhadine subterranea.
Arthur PalmerDissertation on Indiana karst hydrology.
George Deike, IIIDissertation on cave development in Mammoth Cave region.
1971George BenjaminExploration of underwater caves in the Caribbean.
Derek FordContributions to cave geology, leading the Macmaster University karst research team.
Victor SchmidtContributions of cave conservation.
1972Douglas Medville and Hazel MedvilleBook Caves of Randolph County.
Richard Franz and Dennis SliferBook Caves of Maryland.
Larry E. MatthewsBook Descriptions of Tennessee Caves.
1973Charles BrownDissertation on karst in the Canadian Rockies.
Cave Research FoundationFlint-Mammoth connection.
Pete LindsleyGuadalupe Cave Survey.
William VarnedoeAlabama Cave Survey.
1974Joseph JenningsResearch on karst throughout the world.
Watson MonroeStudy of Puerto Rican karst, glossary of karst.
Henry RauchDissertation research in the Appalachians, karst research center at West Virginia University.
Roger BaroodyCaving in the Virginias, West Virginia Speleological Survey.
Betty MayoEstablishing a functional NSS office in Huntsville, AL.
1975Robert StittEfforts on cave conservation.
Tom PoulsonStudies of aquatic cave animals.
Stewart PeckChairing the Stone Research Grant Committee.
Patty Jo WatsonBook Archeology of the Mammoth Cave Area.
1976Ray Mansfield and Tony OldhamCurrent Titles in Speleology.
Peter Thompson and Russell HarmonPioneering efforts in radioactive dating and climate interpretation.
Richard PowellDissertation on Indiana karst.
1977Stewart PeckOutstanding papers in biospeleology.
John StokesComputerizing the NSS membership.
1978Neil MontgomeryBook Single Rope Techniques.
Carol HillBook Cave Minerals.
David CulverStudies of ecology of acquatic cave animals.
Sara CorrieGood fellowship and enthusiasm in vertical caving.
1979Albert HawkinsMammoth Cave National Park master plan.
Mark Grady and Mike McEachernCave inventory and evaluation in New Melones area.
1980Daniel SmithFounding the National Cave Rescue Commission.
John MeenehanPreserving the Culverwell drawings.
1981Albert MuellerService to the National Speleological Foundation.
Bernard GezeDistinguished foreign contributions to speleology.
Ivan GamsDistinguished foreign contributions to speleology.
19828th ICSOrganizing Committee of the Eighth International Congress of Speleology.
Roger Brucker and Richard MurrayBook Trapped!
Sarah BishopWork on designation of Mammoth Cave as a World Heritage Site.
1983Lynn Miller and Jane MillerIndiana cave protection bill.
Fred GradyTrout Rocks caves acquisition.
1984Nicholas CrawfordKarst studies program at Mammoth Cave.
Kenrick DayConservation of Onyx Cave.
Percy DoughertyCave Creek Cave Wilderness Study Area.
1985James HedgesEditing the NSS Bulletin.
James JohnstonManaging NSS office and Shelta Cave.
Jerry ThorntonMemorandum of Understanding with Bureau of Land Management.
1986Frank HowarthStudies of cave fauna of lava tubes.
Fred StoneStudies of Australian cave fauna.
1987The Bighorn Cave Research ProjectCave exploration and study.
Mike DyasWriting the "Dyas Digest" in the NSS News.
Michael DiTontoKarst research in Jamaica.
1988Allen Padgett and Bruce SmithBook On Rope.
The Huautla ProjectCave exploration and mapping.
John ClarkLegal work.
1989Allen McCrady and Harold HamiltonPaleontology field laboratory at New Paris sinkholes.
John Scheltens and Janet ThorneFederal Cave Resource Protection Act.
Organ Cave System ProjectBook Caves of the Organ Cave Plateau.
1990Wakulla Springs ProjectExploration of Wakulla Springs and book.
Gary Tennen and Randy TuftsExploration and protection of Kartchner Caverns.
Peter Bosted and Karen LindsleyBook Atlas of the Great Caves of the World.
Philip LucasComputerization of Virginia Speleological Survey cave files.
1991Judy Stack and Pennsylvania Cave Law Task ForcePassage of state cave protection act.
Proyecto PapaloExploration of Sistema Cuicateco (now Cheve).
1992Colorado Grotto and Management of Cave of the WindsManagement of Silent Splendor in Cave of the Winds.
Spring Mill ProjectExploration and mapping of caves in Spring Mill State Park, Indiana.
50-Year History CommitteeNSS history book Caving in America.
1993Karlin Meyers, Ernie Garza and Proyecto Cerro RabonExploration project in southern Mexico.
Dave Belski and Steve PeermanNew Mexico Gypsum Karst Project (GYPKAP).
David Culver and Horton Hobbs, IIIPopular education in biospeleology.
Scott Hollow ProjectStudy of West Virginia cave.
1994William BalfourDatabases on West Virginia caves.
John SutterCavers' e-mail list.
Nicholas Crawford and Western Kentucky University Center for Cave and Karst StudiesSummer speleology courses at Mammoth Cave.
1995George DasherBooks On Station and The Caves and Karst of the Buckeye Creek Basin.
Trevor FordEditing British journal Cave and Karst Science.
Donald PaquetteLeadership in National Cave Rescue Commission.
Tom ReaNSS membership database program.
1996The Lint Pickers ProjectConservation work in Carlsbad Caverns National Park.
Keith Dunlap and the Indiana Karst ConservancyKarst protection during Indiana highway project.
1997Joshua AbdullaDevelopment of the NSS web home page.
George Veni and Daniel ChessOrganizing AAAS Symposium.
1998Southeastern Cave ConservancyPurchase of Neversink Pit.
Ira SasowskyIndexes to NSS Bulletin and Speleo Digest.
John HempelPreservation of Chestnut Ridge karst area.
1999Great Saltpetre Cave Preserve CommitteeCave management and protection of the Great Saltpetre Cave Preserve.
Rod HorrocksCoordination of volunteers at Timpanogos Cave National Monument.
Roswell Jones and Bruce BannermanAudio-visual support to NSS Photo Salon and Awards Banquet.
2000Christopher RichardCave exhibit at Oakland Museum.
Front Royal GrottoProtection of Riverside Karst Area, Virginia.
Mid-Atlantic Karst ConservancyPurchase of Billy Clay Pit, West Virginia.
2001Scott FeeBringing the Speleo Digest series current.
VPI GrottoStudy for protection of karst resources in Skydusky Hollow, Virginia.
Randall BlackwoodVideo Caves, Critters, and Speleology.
2002Eric Hendrickson and Melissa HendricksonPassage of the Maine Cave Protection Law.
Jim NepstadCave management program at Wind Cave National Park.
Paul Stevens and Lee StevensLeadership of the NSS Salon Committee.
2003Peter BostedCartographic innovation at Lilburn Cave.
Annette Long and Mark LongProtection of Manatee Spring Cave.
Nashville GrottoProtection of Spencer Mountain caves.
2004Robert Burnett and Orion KnoxCave Restoration Project at Gruta del Palmito, Mexico.
Kevin Allred, Carlene Allred and Bob RichardsPublishing Kazamura Cave Atlas.
Guadalupe Area of Cave Research FoundationConservation and restoration projects at Carlsbad Caverns National Park.
2005David Culver and William WhitePublishing Encyclopedia of Caves.
Kelly DeemNSS Fundraising auctions at conventions.
Rocky ParsonWest Virginia Quarry Law.
2006Virginia RegionContinuing support of Grand Caverns in Grottoes. Virginia.
Germany Valley Karst Survey and Gordon BraceReestablishing land owner relationships and involving many cavers in the continued exploration of this historic karst area.
2007Jim C. Werker & Val Hildreth-WerkerPublication of Cave Conservation and Restoration
2008Woodville Karst Plain ProjectConnection of Wakulla Spring Cave to the Leon Sinks Cave System in northern Florida
Marcus Gary and Bill StoneResearch at the deep water-filled, limestone sinks at Rancho La Azufrosa, Tamaulipas, Mexico
Steve Bogaerts and Robbie SchmittnerConnection of Sistema Sac Actun to Sistema Nohoch Nah Chich in Quintana Roo, Mexico
2009John J. Corcoran IIIInitiation and continued management of the Fort Stanton Cave Study Project
Rick and Faye BowersoxOutstanding service with the Junior Speleological Society
David W. Everton, William J. Baus, and the Richard Blenz Nature ConservancyConservation and Restoration of Buckner Cave, Indiana
2010George R. PhillipsRapid response to a major threat to Sharps Cave and the Elk River karst in West Virginia
Peter YoungbaerWork on behalf of the NSS concerning the White Nose Syndrome epidemic in bats
15th ICS Organizing CommitteeWork on the 2009 International Congress of Speleology
2011Dr. Doug BoyerProfessional assistance to others and long-term studies of the effects of land-use and agricultural practices on the quality of water in caves and springs
Paul BurgerWork to protect and document park caves at Carlsbad Caverns National Park
2012Sewanee Mountain GrottoContinuous conservation efforts directly impacting the Orme Mountain Road area of the Russell Cave National Monument Watershed
Aida and Robert MothesLong-term management of the Friars Hole Cave System (WV)
2013Jody BaileyDesign and production of a Lava Tube Caves poster displayed at NASA Lunar and Planetary Research Conference in Houston in 2012
2014Maureen HandlerRepresenting the numerous volunteers who renovated the NSS Headquarters and Conference Center
Edd SorensonAt the risk of his own life, saved four people in 2012 in three separate cave diving incidents
Bill MixonPut more than 3,000 maps of Mexican Caves on the Association for Mexican Cave Studies web site
2015Bexar GrottoFor the organizing of the First Texas Hydro-Geo Workshop in 2014
Philip Lucas & Nathan FarrarFor the writing and preparation of the book Caves of the Water Sinks Area
Oregon High Desert GrottoFor its lead role in the Sandy Glacier Caves project
2015Bexar GrottoFor the organizing of the First Texas Hydro-Geo Workshop in 2014
Philip Lucas & Nathan FarrarFor the writing and preparation of the book Caves of the Water Sinks Area
Oregon High Desert GrottoFor its lead role in the Sandy Glacier Caves project
2016Peter Johnson/Derek BristolFor Completion of the bolt climb up of Perseverence Dome in HellHole Cave
Ron Delano/Donal DavisFor the publication of the Lechuguilla Triology
Dr. Ronald J. LipinskiFor the development of the Fort Stanton Cave simulation program.
2017Birmingham GrottoFor service to the society by renovating two pavilions at the NSS Headquarters and Conference Center in 2013 and 2014
Bruce RogersFor his work leading to the MoU between the Western Cave Conservancy and the Peninsula Open Space Trust
Earl and Cheryl SuitorFor leading the effort to open and manage Sites Cave and Cave Rat Cave in West Virginia
2018Butler Cave Conservation SocietyFor the compilation of the book: The Caves of Burnsville Cove, Virginia
Fort Stanton Cave Study Project - editors Pete Lindsley and Lee SkinnerFor the publication of the book: 12 Miles from Daylight: Fort Stanton Cave and the Snowy River Discovery.
2019Michael and Donna FrazierFor their January 2018 purchase of Colorado’s historic Cave of the Clouds.
2020Patti CummingsFor leadership of the Richard Blenz Nature Conservancy
Ray GartonFor serving as treasurer and the publication-distribution person for the West Virginia Speleological Survey for almost 50 years