National Speleological Society Awards Volunteer Cavers


On July 23, 2016, the Conservation Division of the National Speleological Society (NSS), the largest organization in the world dedicated to protecting, conserving, exploring, and studying caves, presented the Birmingham Grotto with the 2016 Grotto Award for Conservation of Cave & Karst Resources for working with Annette F. Reynolds to conserve and protect Manitou Cave of Alabama.

Many cave explorers, scientists, and enthusiasts, including those from DeKalb County, are members of the Birmingham Grotto of the NSS. Some members were present at 75th Anniversary 2016 Convention in Ely, Nevada to receive this prestigious award for the 400+ hard working volunteer hours and on-going support for the protection, preservation, and conservation of Manitou Cave of Alabama.

The volunteer efforts include hand scraping, carrying and properly disposing of the slippery mud off all cave bridges, nailing down rolls of roofing paper to protect bridges for future visitors, transporting and hand carrying 3,000 pounds of steel to build the new cave gate, assisting with construction of the cave gate and cement threshold, installing camera and alarm, as well as clearing debris from land and building.

         Volunteers scrub mud and debris from old bridge

         Volunteers scrub mud and debris from old bridge

  Hauling steel up the slope

  Hauling steel up the slope

MCAL Founder & Steward, Annette F. Reynolds, who is a new member of the NSS and Birmingham Grotto, attended the Grotto’s August meeting to congratulate and thank its members. She told the members that because of their leadership, cave expertise and volunteer efforts, it was possible for the new cave to be built, thus protecting the cave, as well as the public.

hauling steel.jpg

Annette said that she was amazed with this group of dedicated, enthusiastic cavers.

“I felt like Snow White with her merry cavers, who whistled while
they worked.”

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