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Speleo-Ed 2009
March 20-22, at Rainbow Basin, Barstow, CA

The Western Region of the National Speleological Society is pleased to present Speleo-Ed 2009 at Rainbow Basin near Barstow, California from March 20 to 22. This year's offerings explore the extreme environment of the Mojave Desert in all its diversity. With many new speakers and lots of field trips, this seminar should offer something for everyone. We hope you can join us!


Speleo-Ed 2009 is presented with the cooperation and assistance of:

Death Valley National Park, the Bureau of Land Management, the Western Cave Conservancy, the US Geological Survey, LSA & Associates, Mojave River Valley Museum, Barstow Community College and the Executive Board of the Western Region of the National Speleological Society

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 states. With the gracious assistance of many volunteers and organizations, we have worked together to deliver a great spring weekend to kick off your summer caving season.

Rainbow Basin Natural Area, Barstow, CA
Rainbow Basin is located 8 miles north of Barstow, California. It is designated as an Area of Critical Environmental Concern due to landscape features and paleontological resources in the area. Many visitors come to see exciting multicolored rock formations and walk the scenic canyons. A variety of desert wildlife is found here, including the protected desert tortoise. The area features a soil pipe cave within walking distance of the campground.

Camping and Accommodations
With the gracious assistance of the Barstow District of the BLM, we have reserved a loop of the Owl Canyon Campground at Rainbow Basin for Speleo-Ed events. Each campsite has a table and multiple campfire pits in place. There is ample space at each site, so cavers may be asked to share sites depending on attendance. A water tank and pit toilets are located in the campground, but no shower facilities. All camping fees are included in your registration. We have arranged for an extra 500-gallon tank to be brought to the area, but it would be a good idea to bring your own supplies as well. Seating will be in short supply, so please bring a folding camp chair if you can. If possible, please carpool to save space and energy. There is no electrical power at the campground. Day use rates are available but do not include camping, Sunday's field trips or evening activities. The town of Barstow is only 20 minutes away for anyone wishing to stay in a hotel.
 All campers must be registered participants in the Speleo-Ed seminar. 

Speleo-Ed Sessions Workshops

From speleology to entomology to paleontology, Speleo-Ed 2009 promises to offer something for everyone! Several new presenters will share information from two national parks, the US Geological Survey, the Bureau of Land Management and more.

All sessions will be based right at the Owl Canyon Campground. Several field trips will explore the general area in the afternoon.

Our sessions this year include:

  • The Caves of Death Valley,
    Jay Snow, Interpretation Division, Death Valley NP
  • Titus Canyon & Devil's Hole II Caves,
    David Ek, Resource Manager, Death Valley National Park
  • Recognizing Cave Arthropods,
    Rolf Aalbu, Entomologist, Mother Lode Grotto, Western Cave Conservancy
  • The Endangered Pupfish of Devil's Hole Cave,
    Kevin Wilson, Aquatic Ecologist, Death Valley National Park
  • Great Basin NP Cave Bioinventory, Gretchen Baker, Ecologist, Great Basin National Park

Several field trips and workshops are also available this year. They include:

  • "Captured on Canvas"
    Learn how to paint or draw a desert landscape in watercolor or pen & ink.
    Barstow Community College Art Department
  • "Afton Canyoneering"
    Located 37 miles northeast of Barstow, Afton Canyon is one of few places where the Mojave River flows above ground. Bring your camera and binoculars! The area is ideal for hiking, nature study and rock hounding. This trip offers a diverse landscape of hills, multicolored rock walls, narrow canyons and deep washes.
  • Rainbow Basin & Hidden Canyon Cave Trips
    Soil Pipe Cave Trip, led by Bruce Rogers, USGS
  • Black Mountain Rock Art District
    Jim Shearer, BLM Archaeologist
  • Rainbow Basin Geological Loop Tour
    Field trip led by Jamie Livingood, BLM Geologist
  • Paleontology Records in the Rainbow Basin Syncline
    Field trip led by Bob Reynolds, LSA & Associates and Bob Hilburn, Mojave River Valley Museum
  • "Happy Snappers: An Introduction to Cave Photography"
    This is a repeat of John Woods' tremendously popular session from Speleo-Ed 2007
  • Night Life in the Mojave!
    Join entomologist Rolf Aalbu as he surveys the Mojave Desert's night insects. But don't forget to look up... There will be very little moonlight this evening & the stars should be amazing!
  • Private Tour of the Goldstone Deep Space Tracking Center
    Although not cave-related, one of the interesting trips we have arranged is a private tour of the Goldstone Deep Space Tracking Center at Fort Irwin. The Deep Space Network currently consists of three deep-space communication facilities placed approximately 120 degrees apart around the world: at the Goldstone complex on Fort Irwin; near Madrid, Spain; and near Canberra, Australia. This strategic placement permits constant observation of spacecraft as the Earth rotates, and helps to make the DSN the largest and most sensitive scientific telecommunications system in the world.

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

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