NSS Convention ~ July 25-30, 2021

NSS 1951 Emblem
LABE Geology Trip

About the NSS

The National Speleological Society is the largest organization in the world dedicated to the study and exploration of caves. We're a non-profit society affiliated with the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Our 8,000 members endorse a strong ethic of conservation and preservation of America's underground environments.


An Introduction

There has been a secretive underground organization lurking around in the bowels of the earth for over 75 years.

Members of the National Speleological Society are passionate about the exploration, study, and conservation of caves – our out of sight and out of mind subsurface resources.

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Every summer, the NSS hosts a convention where our members gather from around the world to collaborate and share information about trends in speleological science, art, literature, safety and techniques.

This fusion of science, art and social events is the highlight of our annual calendar.

This summer, over one thousand cavers from across the country and around the world will gather in Weed, California for the annual convention of the National Speleological Society.

Nestled in a pine forest in extreme northern California, 14-thousand foot Mount Shasta Volcano stands guard over the rugged City of Weed. Named after her founder, Abner Weed, this historic lumber town rests at the intersection of California's mountainous limestone ridges and mysterious lava tubes. Hundreds of caves in the nearby hills will provide challenges for a lifetime of explorers.

We hope you can join us!



Explore. Study. Protect.

Learn More

Download some of our free brochures to learn more about the National Speleological Society.

Learn about the society's diverse programs, activities, and aspects of speleology in which our members are involved. Understand the benefits of membership in the society, and the value of membership to caves, caving, and speleology.

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This booklet discusses caves and the many elements of the sport of caving. Exploring caves is becoming increasingly popular in all areas of the world, and caving responsibly is more important now than ever. Discussions include safety, training, and learning to reduce the detrimental effect cavers can have on caves and cave owner relations.

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Caves are the world's most remote and fragile wilderness. They provide irreplaceable habitats for rare plants and animals - some of which spend their entire lives in complete darkness. On its way to our drinking supply, water often travels through caves into wells, springs, and aquifers (the source of most of our drinking water). A cave's intricate passageways and dramatic formations offer exquisite scenery and fascinating opportunities for research and mapping. Many cave also preserve fragile prehistoric and historic records for millennia.

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Lava tubes play important roles in our ecosystem, our history, and our culture. Caves formed in lava are found where volcanoes have produced certain types of flowing lava. These mostly occur in the western United States, Canary Islands, Italy, Japan, Korea, Kenya, Australia, Pacific Ocean islands, and other volcanic hot spots.

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Bats are among the most beneficial, yet misunderstood mammals. They control insect populations, pollinate cacti and tropical fruit trees, and are important to medical and scientific advances. More than 1,100 bat species have been identified - a fifth of all known species of mammals. Sadly, bat colonies throughout the world are declining drastically due to human activities and disease.

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Members of our Landowner Relations Network Committee (LRNC) endeavor to establish a relationship with cave land-owners that see frequent visitors. Their mission is to reach out to land-owners of closed or limited-access caves to bring goodwill from the NSS. The NSS LRNC also works with grottos and internal organizations of the NSS to provide support for questions and inquiries that private landowners have about their caves.

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White-Nose Syndrome is a disease that is killing populations of bats in the U.S. and Canada as they hibernate in caves and mines. The disease has spread rapidly since it was first discovered in a single cave in New York in 2006. As of April 2016, bats with WNS have been found in more than 29 states and five Canadian provinces. The disease continues to spread across these countries.

Bats are an essential part of our environment. The loss of our bats could cause a ripple effect with potentially far-reaching consequences.

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Overview of Caving

Caves are the world's most remote and fragile wilderness, and they need your help to endure. They offer irreplaceable habitats for rare plants and animals, many of which spend their entire lives in complete darkness. Often extending for miles, a cave’s intricate passageways contain crystalline formations that may have taken many thousands of years to form.

Many caves also preserve fragile prehistoric and historic relics. Moreover, much of our drinking water travels through caves before reaching wells, springs, and aquifers.