Tourist Info
Save the Caves


Speleo-Ed 2006
May 12-14, at Calaveras Big Trees State Park

About the Seminar
Speleo-Ed seminars are an outstanding way to learn more about cave exploration and science while enjoying a fun and social weekend with friends from across the Western Region. Building on last year's popular seminar, we have arranged an even broader collection of interesting topics for 2006. With the gracious assistance of numerous speakers and organizations, we have worked together to design what should be an outstanding spring weekend! From ghostly campfire tales to current trends in cave research, there is sure to be something for everyone. We hope you can join us!


Speleo-Ed 2006 is presented with the cooperation and assistance of:

Calaveras Big Trees State Park, the Western Cave Conservancy, California State University Sacramento, California Native Bat Conservancy, Modesto Junior College, the Cave Research Foundation, Applied Earthworks, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, Live-Art International - USA, SierraNaturePrints.com and the Executive Board of the Western Region of the National Speleological Society

The 2006 Speleo-Ed Seminar offers 3 distinct tracks of sessions and workshops designed to interest cavers of all skills and experience. On Saturday evening, the Western Cave Conservancy will offer an optional fund-raising dinner followed by a short business meeting of the Western Region. Of course, the entire weekend offers ample opportunities for socializing with cavers from across the region!

Biology and Geology Track
This year's morning sessions are designed to be of significant interest to cavers of all abilities. From live bats to aerial photographic tours of the sierra foothills, these sessions are sure to be extremely fun and informative. Special equipment will even be on hand to listen to the ultrasonic sounds bats make while hunting for insects.

Human Sciences Track
Focusing on human interaction with caves, these sessions primarily explore historical and prehistorical cave use across multiple cultures. Rounding out the sessions will be some current exploration reports and caving methods in the Western Region.

SEKI Invertebrate Monitoring Track
For the hard-core troglodyte, Joel Despain from Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks will lead two half-day sessions on the park's new invertebrate monitoring project. Following a 3-year study, the park recently announced the discovery of 27 new species of cave animals. To monitor these creatures, the park is seeking volunteers to conduct long-term study projects. Joel will explain the methods and provide examples of this effort.

Calaveras Big Trees State Park
Three miles north of Arnold off Highway 4, the colossal trees of Calaveras Big Trees State Park stand in quiet testimony to a time when giants ruled the earth. These massive relics, which can reach a height of 325 feet and a diameter of 33 feet, are survivors from the Mesozoic Era, a time when dinosaurs roamed the earth, and birds, mammals and flowering plants began to appear. Some of these trees are thought to be as much as 2,000 years old.

Located at the mid-elevation level of the western Sierra Nevada, Calaveras Big Trees State Park is a prime example of a mixed conifer forest in the yellow pine belt. Giant sequoias dominate ponderosa pines, sugar pines, incense cedars and white fir. The Pacific dogwood displays white blossoms in the spring, and wildflowers along the Lava Bluffs Trail include leopard lily, Hartweg's iris, crimson columbine, monkey-flowers, harvest brodiaea, wild hyacinth and lupine.

Group Camping
The Western Region has reserved all group camping spaces at Calaveras Big Trees for the seminar weekend. Capacity at this site is approximately 100 people - about the same as we had at last year's seminar. The group area provides running water, flush toilets and coin showers. All campers must be registered participants in the Speleo-Ed Seminar. Day use rates are available but do not include camping, field trips or evening activities. Due to parking constraints, we encourage all cavers to carpool as much as possible. The recreation hall is scheduled to have WiFi Internet service. With the exception of the WCC fund-raising dinner on Saturday evening, all meals are the responsibility of the participants. RV hookups are not available in the group camping area, but may be reserved in the main campground at your own expense. Pets are allowed, but the park has specific leash laws we will be expected to follow. Camping and park entrance fees are included in your registration. Many hotels are available in Arnold or Murphys for those not wishing to stay at the campground. Bear boxes are available in the camping areas for food storage.

Speleo-Ed Event Schedule

Friday, May 12

7:00 PM

Registration Open - Please come to the group camping area.
On arrival, please come to the group camping area. The turn-off is approximately 200 yards east of the main park entrance on Highway 4. The exit is to the left (north) side of the highway (look for a small staircase on the side of the road). Follow the road around the curve to the group camping area. If you arrive Saturday after 9:00 AM, please come to the main park entrance and ask for directions to Jack Knight Hall.

9:00 PM

Special Screening: Cave of the Glowing Skulls     (Shown at the group campfire area)
This one hour documentary follows archaeologists through a four-year process of discovering and excavating the remains of a previously unknown society in central Honduras. Carbon dating shows the remains to be over 3000 years old. Many of the discoveries occur right on camera, providing the viewer the opportunity to witness them as they happen. The first remains were found in a cave. Calcite deposits, which had built up on the skulls and bones, caused them to actually glow in the dark.

Saturday Biology & Geology Sessions

9:00-9:30 AM

Welcome to Calaveras Big Trees State Park


Mending Broken Bats: Rehabilitation & Release
    [Dharma Webber / California Native Bat Conservancy]



Geology of Table Mountain [Garry Hayes / Modesto Junior College]


Singing For Your Supper: Echolocation for Navigation and Prey Detection by Bats
    [Dr. Winston Lancaster / CSU Sacramento]


12:00-12:30 PM

- - - - - - - - - - - - Lunch - - - - - - - - - - - -


Saturday Human Sciences Track SEKI Biology Track


The Care & Feeding of Bolts: Placement & Inspection
    [Mark Scott / SFBC]
Session held at group picnic area.

Invertebrate Monitoring Project in
Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Park Caves
    [Joel Despain, NPS/CRF/NSS]

    Course includes in-cave field trip on Sunday to
learn the mechanics of these
study methods.



Prehistoric Mortuary Caves of the Central Sierra
    [Dr. Mike Moratto / Applied Earthworks]



Speleo-History Methods & Sources [Dan Snyder / MLG]


Caves of the Mojave Desert     [Bern Szukalski / SoCal]


The Role of Pinnacle Point Cave in California Prehistory
    [Dr. Jerry Johnson / CSU Sacramento / MLG]



Under Ben Lomond Mountain     [Bruce Rogers & Dan Snyder]


Happy Social Hour
Plan your summertime multi-grotto cave trips!



- - - - - - - - - - - - Western Cave Conservancy Dinner - - - - - - - - - - - -
Come celebrate WCC's recent aquisition of Rippled Cave!



Western Region Business Meeting


Sunday Human Sciences Session Biology Field Trip Cave Trips & Hikes

9:30 AM

Introduction to Dowsing for Caves
    [Ralph Squire / Columbia Grotto]

Session meets at the group camping area.

In-Cave Biological Monitoring Workshop
    [Joel Despain / NPS]

Field trip element of Saturday's SEKI Invertebrate Session
Cave TBD

North Grove Big Trees Hike [Bill Papke]

Photography Workshop to Natural Bridges & Cathedral Cave [Dave Bunnell]

Various New Melones Caves

Sign-up sheets available at camp area.

For more information, please download the registration flyer by clicking here

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