March 2009 Meeting Minutes

Howard Holgate opened the meeting with introductions: Diana Gietl, Mike Broome, Lisa Lorenzin, John Plyler, Howard Holgate, Ken Walsh, Melanie McCullough, Pete Hertl, Warren Pusak, and two Venture scouts (Kevin P. and Madeline C.).

Howard instructed members to check the Secretary blog for minutes from the Officers Meeting. He also shared the statement from the officers about the April WNS collection:
“Along with the April presentation the TriTrogs will begin their matching collection for the NSS White Nose Syndrome Rapid Response Fund. The TriTrog officers have agreed to match up to $200 of the donations from individuals. The collection will run from the April meeting through the May meeting. This plan resulted after discussion about our budget, charitable donations from the grotto, and matching gifts from corporations. The officers decided to hold off on further helmet and lamp purchases because several members have volunteered their extra gear.”

Mike indicated that the Web site transition has been on the agenda since last year [Ed: actually I found it on the May 2006 agenda]. Mike began transitioning to Tiger Technologies as the new server with more space and room for the photo gallery. The mailing list will be moving to the new hosting site (@tritrogs domain) over the next month. Mike plans to introduce all the cool new things in April, and some are posted in the officers meeting minutes.

Lisa and Mike talked about their trip digging in a sinkhole. One wall was frozen gravel, similar to concrete. They dug down ten feet, and it was still frozen gravel. They dug down twelve feet, and the hole needs some shoring. They are digging at the hole not based on air flow but based on the location relative to other caves. The theory is that they got below the frost line where frozen gravel should have stopped, but the cave was still elusive.

John Plyler agreed to host a vertical training/pot luck on April 11 in Raleigh to celebrate the end of hibernation season. More details to follow.

Howard listed the upcoming trips, and others are expected when hibernation season ends:
Easter Grand Caverns Conservation Weekend—April 11-12
Spring VAR—April 24-26 at Grand Caverns
NSS Convention and International Congress of Speleology in Kerrville, TX– July 19-26
Boones Cave wrap up—contact Dave Duguid for dates
Grotto trip—September 19-20

Ken shared photos from the photography trip that Mark Little, Ericka Hoffmann, and he took to Fountain Cave and Grand Caverns. He shared some of his fuzzy shots and explained that his focusing skills improved tremendously when he removed the polarizing lens from the camera. He’ll share the photos on the photo gallery when it re-opens.

Prompted by questions from the Venture Crew, members responded to queries about cave clothing, helmets, lamps, food, and other gear.

After the break, Diana Gietl shared the Exploris presentation she gave several years back that includes a good number of her amazing cave photographs. It covers concepts like why we study caves, why we protect caves, and where we find them. Howard described how gunpowder is made from guano with a detailed description of saltpeter processing.

We then entertained suggestions about how to set up a program to share with outside groups:
1) put the pits at the end because the caves should get harder as you go through the presentation
2) include the web site in the slides at the beginning and end
3) explain how some of the formations grow
4) show the words beside some formations
5) include cave fauna (Pete Hertl may have some photos to share)
6) describe activities like digging, surveying, and conservation
7) include more photos from regional caves
8) share photos of a properly clad caver, before and after a trip (maybe even at the car wash)