Project Underground Inc., a non profit organization was created by the Richmond Area Speleological Society. The purpose of Project Underground Inc. is to create and build awareness and responsible attitudes toward karst and cave resources and their management needs among future decision-makers, particularly through the education of the public in school grades K through 12.
Project Underground is an environmental education program designed to promote a better understanding of caves and karstlands; including their geological, hydrological, biological, and historical values. It is designed as a supplemental program for use by educators of kindergarten through high school age students. The program provides activity guides consisting of student participatory games, projects, and science based lesson plans for classroom use.
Participants in these activities will gain an understanding of how the underground environment is an integral and important part of the total environment. These students and teachers will learn that our cave and karst resources are very fragile and that we should respect, conserve and protect these fragile resources.
Project Underground activities are in the Natural Resource Education Guide. It is designed by teachers and educators, experts in the various disciplines of speleology, experienced cavers, and other natural resource management professionals. The activities were designed in writing workshops and reviewed in various class settings. They are interdisciplinary and level-correlated. The Guide is divided into subject areas with background information provided in each section. Examples are:
Cave Critters – Cave Critters explains about the different animals found in a cave and describes the special environments these cave dwelling animals inhabit. Activities in this section have names like Bat Echoes and Troglobite.
Rocks and Water – Rocks and Water explains about the Geology and Hydrology of caves and how these interact in karst areas. Activities in this section have names like Dripping Crystals and Fossil Footprints.
Use of Caves – Use of Caves describes some the historical uses of caves by man and animals. Most books don’t talk about the study and exploration of caves. Activities in this section have names like Ancient Cave Art and Belly-Crawl Mapping.
Project Underground materials are available through attendance at a workshop held in your area. Certified workshop leaders introduce educators to the Project Underground education guide, resources, and activities during a 6-hour workshop. During the workshop attendees will participate in hands-on activities, learn more about caves and karst ecology, and expand your knowledge and teaching skills. You will also meet and share ideas, information, and resources with other professionals.
Karst – A land area that includes sinkholes, springs, sinking streams, and caves. This landscape features underground streams and aquifers that supply the wells and springs that communities use for their drinking water.
Project Underground is based on the Training the Trainer model. Interested educators are trained to be certified workshops leaders, called facilitators. A facilitator serves as a guide, helping educators gain a better understanding about Project Underground and its karst awareness program. You receive more in-depth information on caves and karst and the community issues surrounding them.
For more information on Project Underground or to host a workshop in your area please contact:
Project Underground Inc.
620 McDaniel Dr.
Christiansburg, Va. 24073