Outside Science (inside parks): Arkansas Cave Camp – Life Underground

Outside Science (inside parks): Arkansas Cave Camp – Life Underground


Hey guys it’s Weston with
Outside Science: Inside Parks In this episode we
get an insider’s look into Project C.A.V.E.S. A
cool cave camp in Arkansas that lets high school students
explore caves and learn about the importance
cave ecology. Check it out: This is Buffalo National River
we’re in northwest Arkansas. We’re here for Project
C.A.V.E.S. it’s a week-long course where we’re
teaching a series of geology and cave ecology for
students and they’re from all throughout
the state of Arkansas. It stands for Creative
Adventures and Valuable Experiences
in Spelunking. We’ll be taking the kids out and letting them actually
explore some wild caves, some guided wild caves and then
weÕll also be taking them to some commercial caves so
that they get a good overview of the different types of caves
that exist that are out there. We’ll also be taking the
kids on some geological hikes so that they understand
better how the geology of this area formed. A lot of the camps are kind of in a I would say
classroom setting a lot of PowerPoints that
kind of stuff. I wanted something
really hands on I wanted to get dirty I wanted to see how
it’s really done in Arkansas. Project C.A.V.E.S gets
you dirty and I like it. Science in a classroom
and science in a book is very different
from science in real life. We really want kids to
understand what goes into geological research,
what is that geologists do to understand how these caves
form and then also the biology of what’s in the cave not
just in a textbook sense but how this knowledge
is actually formed. Education like this
really gets information into people’s heads not only in
their heads but in their hearts and they will never forget
the experiences they have and the friendships
they make to the people that have interests like them. The classroom environment
is where you lay down the basic understanding
but when you come to a place like Buffalo River and
explore the wondrous caves and formations that we have
here, that environment brings out the classroom
education in a such a way that it provides
context and meaning. Part of it is social and
emotional connections with kids from across the state. A lot of it is science-based
academic enrichment and it’s about getting bright
kids together and having good learning
opportunities for them. Seeing the kids work
together is always an instantaneous highlight. I love seeing that that
comes out almost immediately. But long term I love seeing how
these camps affect their future decisions, they affect how
they think about science. I actually attended
Project C.A.V.E.S. about twenty something
years ago when I was a kid. It definitely changed my life and hopefully it
will these kids. The cave yesterday was kind of
hard but I liked the experience that it brought and
being gathered as a team so that was really cool. Getting to basically
just jump around in mud and get completely
covered was just super fun. The amount of freedom
we got in that cave to just explore was
really gratifying. There’s mud everywhere and
just slipping constantly and I was covered
in mud by the end and it was pretty great
that’s the highlight so far. It’s very important that
we make these new level of conservationists to where
they understand the natural world and why it’s important
to preserve that world for their own quality of living. Above and beyond
book learning — although there is a little
book learning involved. A lot more of it is practical
hands-on and sometime it’s hard to offer those kind
of opportunities in a school setting but not in
the summer at the National Park. Project C.A.V.E.S. And what
a great partnership it is with the National Parks. Thanks for watching Outside
Science: Inside Parks. Join us next month when we
travel to Alaska to check out how whales communicate.

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