Coronavirus Message from President, Geary Schindel

Release Date: March 25, 2020

Message from the President Regarding the Coronavirus

NSS Headquarters, Huntsville, AL — Folks, the Coronavirus is sweeping the country and will put a great strain on our medical resources including many of our members that work in the health care industry. Health care professionals indicate that we must flatten the curve of infections, so we have enough resources for everyone.

We’ve recommended that physical grotto meetings as well as regional events be canceled for the foreseeable future and everyone to practice social distancing. Hosting online grotto meetings is a way to stay connected and to allow us to check up on our members. The Bexar Grotto held an online meeting on Monday (March 23) which went very well. The online option also lends itself to inviting visitors from across the country to participate or even present a program. I would also point folks to our excellent webinar and luminary series presentations on the NSS website. They can be downloaded and viewed by members or as a grotto presentation. If you would like to host a webinar, please send me an email at and we’ll try and set it up.

We are asking folks to make sure they check up on their neighbors and friends and make sure everyone is staying healthy. The NSS is a membership organization but also a family. Please be kind and helpful during these trying times.

The Executive Committee is following the outbreak closely and we will make a recommendation to the board of governors soon regarding whether the NSS Convention in July will need to be cancelled or postponed.

Regarding caving during the pandemic. Please exercise caution related to social distancing and also special care related to taking risk. Remember, that cave lead will still be there in a few months. A cave accident may be difficult to respond to because of limited resources. Be careful out there. Of course, getting outdoors is a great way to help keep fit and get some fresh air.

For more information on the coronavirus, I would recommend the CDC website at There are also a number of other good websites out there related to the virus.

Remember, this too, shall pass.

Geary Schindel, President 
National Speleological Society

Coronavirus Information

No doubt you have been following the news regarding Coronavirus – also known as COVID-19.  I want to assure you that the National Speleological Society (NSS) and the 2020 NSS Convention Staff continue to closely monitor the situation and the potential effects to our members and events.  We are committed to keeping you safe as the health and well-being of all our members are top priorities.  

As of now the 2020 NSS Convention remains as scheduled: July 27–31, 2020.  Based on the uncertainties regarding COVID-19, the NSS Convention Staff has decided to change the Pre-Registration deadline to May 31, 2020.  We hope this doesn’t inconvenience our membership.

One thing we should all do is educate ourselves from a reliable scientific source:

As always, feel free to send any questions or concerns our way.  If scheduling changes need to be made, we will reach out again.  It is in challenging times like these that we see our core values in action.  Thank you for your commitment to each other and the NSS.

Keep Calm & Carry On

Katherine “Kat” Crispin, Ph.D.
NSS Administrative Vice President

Abstract Due Dates

This is a list of sessions that are likely to have formal presentations.  In addition to the session chair’s name and email address, it shows the date abstracts for the session are due.  Abstracts should be sent to the session chair and must be no longer than 250 words.  Please also say how much time you need for your presentation.

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Art and Music Salons

NSS Art & Music Salons encourage and recognize cave-related arts, artists, and musicians. NSS Salons are open to everyone; entrants need not be members of the NSS. Rules, entry forms, and deadlines are available on each Salon’s website. For more information navigate to:

The best of each Salon’s entries will be exhibited at the NSS Convention in Elkins, West Virginia, 2020. Each Salon’s top award and Caver’s Choice award (if applicable) is presented during the convention’s Thursday evening Salon program. After the convention, low-resolution representations of the top award winners for every Salon are placed in the NSS Salons web pages and, other than music, in the NSS News.

Read descriptions of the salons

New Travel Guide from Washington Dulles to Elkins

This guide is intended to help travelers unfamiliar with the routes from the DC area to Elkins, WV.  There are numerous shops, wineries, breweries, local eateries, hiking & biking trails, scenic overlooks, and countless other points of interest all along the way.  By no means are we trying to list them all or making any form of judgement by listing them or not.  A direct trip will be approx. 200 miles and take about 4 hours – however, should you find yourself with some time to spare, below are mentioned some of the more known stops along the way.

Read full travel guide

Historic Beverly

Welcome to Historic Beverly, West Virginia—the small town with big history!

Beverly Heritage CenterLocated between the TRA campsite and the NSS convention site, Beverly offers a variety of options for visitors to take in its long, rich history. The Beverly Heritage Center and the Randolph County Historical Society museums, located in the center of Beverly, show visitors examples of life in Beverly from the earliest settlers in the 1770s to more recent history.

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History of Elkins

Welcome to Elkins SignIncorporated in 1890 by Stephen B. Elkins and Henry Gassaway Davis, the City of Elkins is situated in the bend of the Tygart Valley River. Working together, Elkins and Davis developed a logging empire and built the WV Central and Pittsburg Railway to accommodate their need to transport the product.  This advancement provided the impetus for the growth and establishment of Elkins as a permanent community providing the necessary amenities for an expanding workforce.  

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NSS News – February 2020

NSS News Feb 2020A major attraction at every NSS Convention is the opportunity to visit the caves in a new area and the 2020 Convention in Elkins, West Virginia, is no exception. However, there is plenty of other activity during the day for those who want a break from caving. Most daytime activities will be at the Elkins High School where sessions, workshops, vertical activities, and specialized meetings will be held. These include the always popular U.S. and International Exploration sessions that feature updates on major projects throughout the U.S. and the world.

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