Archives for October 2015

2015 John Van Swearingen IV Stewardship Award

MarkOThe SCCi, in cooperation with the Huntsville Grotto, is proud to announce Mark Ostrander as the 2015 John Van Swearingen IV Stewardship Award!

Mark is known for his service to the sport of caving and conservation of cave preserves. He has served as the SCCi Kennamer Cave Preserve manager for six years. From maintaining the parking area to marking preserve boundaries, Mark’s service knows no season. Mark is a truly an ambassador for the Kennamer Cave Preserve working with caving groups to make the most of their trips. He is currently working with first responders to use Kennamer Cave for a mock cave rescue while ensuring the preserve is protected from any lasting damage. Also, Mark has led and attended  cave cleanup projects over the years including Kennamer Cave, Devil’s Den and Cathedral Caverns.

The John Van Swearingen Stewardship Award was conceived by the Huntsville Grotto in honor of long-time member, conservationist, cave steward, and SCCi Director, JV, who passed away in 2001. It is presented annually at the TAG Fall Cave In. JV served for many years as the Fern Cave Access Coordinator, providing stewardship of the Fern Cave system and preserve for both the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the SCCi.

The purpose of the award is to meaningfully recognize the stewardship efforts of an individual, a group of individuals, or an organization that has provided significant stewardship activities for one or more caves, cave preserves, or karst properties, personally conducted over an extended period of time. The award, sponsored by the Huntsville Grotto and the SCCi, is also intended to promote long-term cave conservation and stewardship activities, and to encourage and thank those individuals and organizations who perform them.

SCCi Partners with Georgia-Alabama Land Trust to Create New Cave Preserve

 GALT Logo        Little Nicka Cave          SCCi Logo

The Georgia-Alabama Land Trust (GALT) and Southeastern Cave Conservancy, Inc. (SCCi) are partnering to create the largest cave preserve in Georgia. The Charles B. Henson Cave Preserve at Rising Fawn will include approximately 1,300 acres of land that has been acquired by Georgia-Alabama Land Trust over a three year period in the failed subdivision known as the Preserve at Rising Fawn in Dade County.  The “Preserve“ is located in the unique and threatened landscape of Johnson’s Crook, a deep horseshoe-shaped cove with high bluffs in the Lookout Mountain ridge.

Many of the slopes of Johnson’s Crook are underlain by limestone bedrock, in which more than 30 known caves have formed. These caves are important habitat for many types of cave-dwelling species, and also have in the past been popular among recreational caving enthusiasts for their varied challenges and remarkable beauty.

According to GALT Executive Director Katherine Eddins, “Partnering with SCCi is a natural fit for this property given its extensive cave system.”

Ron Miller, SCCi Chair, adds: “We are very excited to work with GALT in managing one of Georgia’s most significant cave areas.  We are also honored that this cave preserve is being named in memory of longtime SCCi member and benefactor Chuck Henson. Johnson’s Crook and its many caves held a special place in Chuck’s heart, and he worked tirelessly in the last years of his life to save this exceptional landscape. “

The Georgia-Alabama Land Trust, accredited by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission, is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, founded in 1994 by conservation-minded individuals in response to rapid development and encroachment of natural areas, farms and woodlands. It is now the largest private lands conservation organization in the Southeast, protecting over 268,000 acres of land with 775 voluntary conservation easements.

The Southeastern Cave Conservancy, Inc. (SCCi) is a 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization founded in 1991 that protects cave and karst resources in the southeastern U.S. through management, conservation and education. The largest nonprofit in the U.S. dedicated to cave conservation, SCCi owns and/or manages 30 preserves containing over 140 caves in six southeastern states.

For more information, visit http://www.scci.org/preserves/johnsons-crook-cave/