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Exploring Arkansas June 2008

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Arkansas Oklahoma Astronomical Society, Kayaking Little Buffalo, Uno Cave
This episode begins by exploring the heavens with the Arkansas Oklahoma Astronomical Society at the Coleman Observatory northwest of Van Buren Then it's off to the east fork of the Little Buffalo for some whitewater kayaking adventure. Episode closes out with a wild cave venture into Uno Cave west of Fayetteville.

TRANSCRIPT

SOMEWHERE SOMETHING INCREDIBLE IS WAITING TO BE KNOWN. THAT'S ONE OF THE MORE NOTABLE QUOTES BY CARL SAGAN WHO OF COURSE SPENT A LIFETIME EXPLORING THE UNIVERSE ARE WHICH BRINGS US TO THE START OF THIS WEEK'S SHOW HERE AT THE COLEMAN OBSERVATORY NORTHWEST OF VAN VAN BUREN WITH THE ARKANSAS/OKLAHOMA ASTROLOGICAL SOCIETY AND THEN WE'LL GO TON A WHITE WATER KAYAKING ADVENTURE ON BUFFALO AND WE'LL EXPLORE, YOU KNOW, 0 CAVE IN THE NATIONAL FOREST. NOW, LET'S EXPLORE THE HEAVENS HERE AT THE COLEMAN OBSERVATORY.

I GOT INTO ASTRONOMY BACK IN THE EARLY 1960s. AND I WAS TEACHING SCHOOL, BASICALLY DOING A LOT SCIENCE TEACHING. ASTRONOMY JUST FIT IN SO WELL BECAUSE YOU COULD COVER SO MANY DIFFERENT AREAS WITH ASTRONOMY. IT TOOK IN ASPECTS OF MATH AND ALL THE OTHER ASPECTS THAT WENT WITH ASTRONOMY. AND I JUST GOT INTO IT MORE DEEPLY USING IT WITH TEACHING DOING IT WITH STUDENTS WHERE I'D TRY TO GET THEM HOOKED ON MORE INTERESTING LOOKING AT THINGS WONDERING WHAT'S OUT THERE. OF COURSE WE DIDN'T HAVE THE KNOWLEDGE WE HAVE TODAY ABOUT OUTER SPACE AND OF COURSE SPUTNIK WENT UP BACK IN THE EARLY DAYS OF MY TEACHING ANYWAY. AND I THOUGHT WOW, WHAT'S GOING ON UP HERE IN THE SKY?

THEY COME FROM ALL WALKS OF LIFE BUT WHEN THEY ALL COL -- COME TOGETHER, THEY'RE ASTRONOMERS, AMATEUR AS STOP%.

I BECAME INTERESTED IN ASTRONOMY AS A SMALL GIRL DUE LARGELY TO MY MOTHER'S INTEREST WHEN WE WERE GOING ACROSS COUNTRY WHEN I WAS A TEENAGER, SHE TOOK US BY THE METEOR CRATER AND WE WENT TO THE MOUNT PALOMAR OBSERVE TORE ANY CALIFORNIA. AND A FEW YEARS AGO, I SAW THE BEGINNING ASTRONOMY CLASS OFFERED IN THE PAPER BY BOB KUNNEY. MY MOTHER AND I TOOK THAT SIX WEEK CLASS TOGETHER AND AFTER THAT I JOINED THE CLUB. IT'S BEEN VERY BENEFICIAL TO ME. I'M PROOF THAT YOU DON'T HAVE TO KNOW A LOT ABOUT IT. YOU JUST HAVE TO LIKE IT. AND YOU CAN LEARN AS MUCH OR AS LITTLE AS YOU HAVE TIME TO DO.

WHEN YOU LOOK AT SATURN OR A STAR CLUSTER OR JUST A CONSTELLATION WITH BINOCULARS, YOU GET A SENSE OF AH OF HOW SMALL WE ARE. THERE'S SO MUCH THERE, YOU CAN LOOK ALL NIGHT AND NEVER SEE EVERYTHING. YOU CAN LOOK FOR A LIFETIME AND NEVER SEE ANYTHING. IT'S JUST AMAZING. WHEN I WAS  2 1/2 YEARS OLD MY PARENTS TOOK ME OUTSIDE ON A NICE CLEAR WINTER NIGHT AND WE WATCHED THE FIRST SATELLITE COME OVER AND I CAN REMEMBER BEING IN MOM'S ARMS AND DAD, AN UNCLE AND AUNT AND A COUPLE NEIGHBORS AND MY UNCLE SHOUTED "HERE IT COMES" AND I SAW SPUTNIK COMING OVER WHEN I WAS  2 1/2. THAT GOT MY INTEREST IN THE SKY. THERE WAS SOMETHING UP THERE. AND I STARTED WONDERING MORE ABOUT IT. WHEN I WAS 8 OR 9, 10 YEARS OLD, I NOTICED THERE WERE MORE METEORS IN AUGUST EVERY YEAR AND I USED TO PUT MY SLEEPING BAG DOWN IN THE GUARD THEN BETWEEN THE ROWS OF PEAS AND TRY TO COUP TO 100 BEFORE I'D FALL ASLEEP. SOMETIMES IT WAS HARD TO DO. BUT I LOOK FORE TO EVERY AUGUST JUST SO I CAN COUNT METEORS EACH NIGHT. AND ALWAYS WANTED TO KNOW MORE ABOUT ASTRONOMY BUT DIDN'T KNOW HOW TO GO ABOUT IT. AND OTHER THAN READING EVERY BOOK YOU CAN FIND ON THE SUBJECT, THE BEST WAY TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT ASTRONOMY IS TO GET WITH AN   ASTRONOMY CLUB. THIS CLUB WE STARTED IN JANUARY OF 1985. AND SINCE THEN WE'VE CONSERVATIVELY ESTIMATED THAT WE'VE BEEN COMING IN CONTACT WITH 75,000 PEOPLE IN THE 23 YEARS WE'VE BEEN TOGETHER. SO WE'VE BEEN A -- I DON'T KNOW IF YOU'D CALL IT A FORCE. MAYBE IT WOULD BE A FARCE IN THE AREA. BUT PEOPLE KNOW WE'RE HERE NOW AND WE USUALLY GET GOOD RESPONSE WHEN WE HAVE A STAR PARTY FOR SOMETHING SPECIAL LIKE AN ECLIPSE OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT. I DO ALL I CAN TO TRY TO HELP PEOPLE LEARN MORE ABOUT ASTRONOMY. TEACHING CLASSES OR TRYING TO MAKE SCHOOL PRESENTATIONS. EVERYTHING I CAN. KIDS HAVE GOT A NATURAL INTEREST IN ASTRONOMY. THEY WANT TO KNOW ABOUT SPACE. AND ANYBODY THAT CAN TALK TO THEM ABOUT SPACE FIRST THEY THINK YOU'RE AN ASTRONAUT. AND THEN THEY WANT TO KNOW AS MUCH AS THEY CAN ABOUT BLACK HOLES AND METEORS AND OTHER THINGS LIKE THAT. THEY'RE AS CURIOUS AS THEY COULD BE. AND WE TRY TO TAP INTO THAT CURIOSITY AND GET THEM INTERESTED IN SCIENCE THROUGH ASTRONOMY SO THAT THEY'LL HOPEFULLY DO BETTER IN MATH AND BIOLOGY, GEOLOGY. CHEMISTRY. PHYSICS. ALL OF THOSE ARE DEEPLY CONNECTED IN ASTRONOMY.

AMATEUR ASTRONOMERS ALSO WORK HAND IN HAND WITH NASA.

THERE'S A LOT OF WORK WITH NASA. THEY HAVE A LOT OF PROJECTS THAT THEY ASK US TO DO TO HELP THEM OUT. THERE'S A LOT OF THINGS WE CAN DO AT THIS OBSERVATORY HERE. SPECIAL LIKE VARIABLE STAR RESEARCH AND STUFF LIKE THAT THAT THEY DON'T HAVE THE TIME TO DO BUT IT'S NECESSARY RESEARCH THAT NEEDS TO BE DONE. SO IT'S A HOPY THAT, YOU KNOW HOBBY YOU CAN ACTUALLY CONTRIBUTE AND BE A PART OF SCIENCE.

SOMETIMES IT IS SOMETHING AS SIMPLE AS LOOKING AT SATURN FOR THE VERY FIRST TIME THAT WILL SPARK SOMEONE'S INTEREST IN ASTRONOMY.

SATURN'S RINGS, PEOPLE SEE HE THOSE RINGS FOR THE FIRST TIME AND AFTER THEY GASP, THEY SAY OH, IT'S JUST -- IT'S SO BEAUTIFUL BECAUSE IT'S A PERSONAL CONNECTION. YOU'RE SEEING THOSE RINGS, IT'S NOT A PICTURE, YOU'RE SEEING IT AS IT IS. AND IT'S A DEEP ALMOST SPIRITUAL CONNECTION WHEN YOU SEE SATURN AS WELL AS SEVERAL OTHER THINGS THROUGH A TELESCOPE. IT'S A FASCINATING HOBBY AND THERE'S LOTS TO SEE. THAT IS A VERY CRISP   VIEW AT SATURN, HAVE A LOOK AT THAT. SO DID YOU BRING THESE?

YEAH.

THE MOONS THAT YOU SEE AROUND IT, TITAN IS THAT STAR THAT LOOKS LIKE A STAR OFF TO ITS LEFT OF THE RINGS AND TO CLOSE TO THE RINGS YOU MIGHT SEE A COUPLE OTHER TINY TINY LITTLE STARS. IT'S OTHER MOONS THAT ARE IN ORE ORBIT AROUND SATURN.

THAT'S SOMETHING.

750 MILLION MILES AWAY. THE LIGHT THAT YOU'RE SEEING NOW TOOK ONE HOUR TO GET HERE. IT'S ROUGHLY AN HOUR OLD FROM SATURN.

WHAT HAS MADE ASTRONOMY MORE APPEALING RECENTLY IS THE SO-CALLED GO-TO TELESCOPE. IT WILL GO TO WHERE I TELL IT TO. IF I INPUT AN OBJECT SUCH AS MESSIER OBJECT 42.

WHY IS THAT?

M42 IS AN EMISSION NEBULA WHICH MEANS IT'S A STAR FORMING REGION. STARS ARE BEING FORMED IN THIS NEBULA FROM THE MATERIAL OF THE NEBULA ITSELF. THE NEBULA BLOWS BY WAY OF FLUORESCENCE, THE ENERGY YOUNG STARS IN THE CENTER OF THE NEBULA LITERALLY ENERGIZES IT AND MAKES THE GASSES FLOW JUST LIKE A FLUORESCENT LIGHT BULB IN YOUR HOME. THE GASSES IF THERE WE STUDY THEM WITH SPECTRA SCOABZ AND THINGS TO FIND OUT ALL OF THE CHEMICAL MAKEUP OF THE CLOUDS THEMSELVES. THE INTERESTINGLY ENOUGH, ASTRONOMERS IN THE LAST 12, 15 YEARS OR SO HAVE STARTED FINDING VERY COMPLEX CHANGE OF MOLECULES, AMINO ACIDS AND THINGS LIKE THAT AND INTER STELLAR CLOUDS. SO BECAUSE THEY'RE FINDING THESE THINGS COMMONLY IN OUR GALAXY, IT GREATLY STRENGTHENS THE IDEA THAT THE UNIVERSE IS PROBABLY FULL OF LIFE. WE'RE PROBABLY NOT THE ONLY ONES OUT THERE.

YOU CAN PUNCH IN MARS, PUNCH IN SATURN AND IT GOING TO IT.

EXACTLY. WE'LL GO CLEAR THAT AND TELL IT TO GO TO MARS. WE'LL JUST SLEW ON UP TO MARS.

TRAVEL THE UNIVERSE BY PUSHING BUTTONS.

EXACTLY. A LOT OF NEW TELESCOPES HAVE THIS CAPABILITY AND THEY'RE REALLY REVOLUTIONIZING AMATEUR ASTRONOMY. HOWEVER, SOME PEOPLE WILL ALLOW THEMSELVES TO GET TO FRUSTRATED WITH IT. AND MAY PUT IT UP. A LOT OF TELESCOPES WIND UP IN THE CLOSET AND THAT'S TOO BAD. THAT'S ANOTHER THING THAT WE DO AS A CLUB. WE TRY TO HELP PEOPLE TO UNDERSTAND HOW TO USE THEIR TELESCOPES BETTER, EVEN SMALL TELESCOPES SOMETIMES WILL HAVE A SMALL TELESCOPE WORKSHOP WITH ONE OF OUR MEETINGS OR OUTINGS DURING THE YEAR. BUT THESE GO-TO TELESCOPES ARE JUST GREAT. IF YOU KNOW A FEW STARS BY THEIR NAME, YOU CAN USE THESE SIMPLE HAND PADS AND FIND SUCH AS THIS ONE HAS 30 -- EXCUSE ME, 40,000 OBJECTS IN MEMORY. IN THIS HAND   BED RIGHT HERE. SO THAT WILL KEEP YOU BUSY FOR A FEW YEARS.

WHAT GOES ON IN THE UNIVERSE ALSO AFFECTS US JUST LIKE RIGHT NOW WITH THE SOLAR CHANGES IN THE -- IN OUR SUN, MAYBE AFFECTING OUR GLOBAL WARMING AND STUFF. NOT SO MUCH MAYBE MANKIND IS DOING IT BUT MAYBE THE SUN IS A VARIABLE STAR WARMING UP AND CAUSING SOME OF THIS GLOBAL WARMING. IT'S A NATURAL EFFECT OF THE EARTH. SO ASTRONOMY OFFERS EVERYTHING FROM CHEMTY TO PHYSICS TO GEOLOGY IT COVERS ALL THE BASES OF SCIENCES. SO, IF WE CAN GET TO THE YOUTH AND KIDS THAT ARE GROWING UP TO GET INTERESTED IN SCIENCE, IN THE SPACE, EXPLORATION, THINGS THAT MAY SAVE US IN THE FUTURE, YOU KNOW, IF WE LEARN ABOUT ASTRONOMY AND ALL THE SCIENCES THAT MAY HELP US IN THE FUTURE TO SURVIVE           .

DURING THE WET TIME OF THE YEAR IN ARKANSAS, TIME TO GRAB THE KAYAKS AND HEAD FOR THE WHITE WATER AND THE BEST PLACE IS WEST FORK OF THE LITTLE BUFFALO SMACK DAB IN THE 0 0 DARKS. THE EAST FORK. ON A GOOD YEAR IT'S RUN HALF AS TO TONE 10 TIMES PEOPLE GET ON THIS RIVER USUALLY JUST SMALL GROUPS SO NOT ONE OF THOSE -- THE MOST WELL KNOWN OR WELL TRAVELED RUNS IN THE STATE. IT'S GOT LOTS OF GREAT RAPIDS, ESPECIALLY STARTING FROM RIGHT HERE DOWN. REALLY CLASS 3 AND 4 RAPIDS, WHAT WE'D CALL MOSTLY ON THE CLASS THREE SIDE TODAY AT HIGHER WATER A LOT OF CLASS 4 DOWN IN HERE. AND THIS NEXT SECTION IS EXTREMELY STEEP. YOU GET -- IF YOU TAKE A LOOK DOWN FROM THE TOP, YOU CAN'T SEE ANYTHING ABOUT WHERE YOU'RE GOING. AND THAT MAKES IT QUITE CHALLENGING COMPARED TO A LOT OF THE RIVERS THAT ARE AROUND HERE. SO WE CALL THIS A STEEP CREEK VERSUS SOMETHING LIKE THE MULBERRY RIVER. AND IT LIVES UP   TO ITS NAME.

CHALLENGE OR CHALLENGES IS THE KEY WORD IN THE SPORT OF WHITE WATER KAYAKING.

DEFINITELY YOU DEAL WITH THINGS YOU PROBABLY WOULDN'T HAVE TO DEAL WITH AND IT'S NOT ON AS MUCH OF A LARGE SCALE BUT IT'S LIKE YOU GO THROUGH A BATTLE OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT AND YOU COME OUT THE OTHER SIDE AND THE PEOPLE YOU'RE WITH YOU FEEL CLOSER TO BECAUSE YOU'VE BEEN THROUGH SO MANY THINGS AND YOU LEARNED A LITTLE BIT MORE ABOUT THAT PERSON AND WHAT THEY'RE ALL ABOUT AND WHAT THEY CAN STAND UP TO.

ANYONE WHO'S DONE THIS FOR ANY LENGTH OF TIME WILL TELL YOU THEY'VE HAD THEIR FAIR SHARE OF CLOSE CALLS.

I'VE HAD A FEW MYSELF WHERE YOU'RE UPSIDE DOWN AND PUSHED UP AGAINST A WALL OR ROCK OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT. IT DOES GET VERY STRESSFUL VERY QUICK. THE GOOD THING IS WE TRAIN EVERY TIME WE GO OUT WE TRAIN FOR THOSE TYPE OF SITUATIONS, WE PRACTICE DIFFERENT SCENARIOS WHERE HE WE MIGHT HAVE TO HELP EACH OTHER OUT AND A LOT OF TIMES OUT HERE YOU JUST HAVE TO KNOW HOW TO HELP YOURSELF BECAUSE A LOT OF TIMES IT'S NOT ANYTHING ANYONE ELSE CAN DO FOR YOU.

I LIKE TO SAY IT'S AN ADVENTURE SPORT BECAUSE YOU CAN'T BREATHE WATER YET. SO YEAH, I'VE -- I'VE HAD A RUN-IN WITH A ROCK OR TWO OR A TREE OR TWO HERE AND THERE. AND THIS PARTICULAR RIVER RIGHT HERE NOT A LOT OF REALLY SERIOUS CLOSE CALLS BUT SOME PEOPLE DO END UP OUTSIDE OF THEIR KAYAK AND THAT'S NOT WHERE YOU WANT TO BE ON -- WHEN THERE'S THIS MANY ROCKS IN THE STREAM. HOPEFULLY, WE WON'T SEE A WHOLE LOT OF THAT TODAY WITH THE CREW WE'VE GOT. WE'VE GOT A GOOD HELMET FOR IT ANYWAY.

I'VE GOT A GREAT HELMET. OBVIOUSLY, WE SPEND A LOT OF MONEY AND INVESTMENT INTO EQUIPMENT. AND THIS HELMET I BOUGHT IT BECAUSE IT COVERS EVERYTHING IT CAN POSSIBLY COVER. I LOOK A LITTLE LIKE DARTH VADER OR SOMETHING MAYBE WITH IT. BUT I'M NOT WORRIED ABOUT BASHING OUT HERE. -- NOT WORRIED ABOUT FASHION OUT HERE. I'M WORRIED ABOUT KEEPING WHAT'S INSIDE MY HEAD INTACT. ALSO WEARING A GOOD PFD, THIS HAS GOT A RESCUE BELT, LOTS OF FEATURES YOU WOULDN'T NORMALLY SEE FROM A CANOE FLOAT DOWN THE BUFFALO RIVER AND I'M ALSO WEARING A DRY SUIT TODAY WHICH IS A HEAVY INVESTMENT BUT WE HAD AN AWFULLY COOL DAY OUT HERE. WE BOAT AT TIMES IT'S COMING DOWN SLEET, RAIN AND REALLY COLD WEATHER SO THIS IS A GREAT INVESTMENT. STEP OFF AT AT THE END OF I DAY OF RIVER AND YOU'RE DRY. ABOUT A THOUSAND THOUGH FOR THIS PARTICULAR GORTEX.

WELL, WORTH IT.

I ALWAYS SAY IF I GET OUT WITHOUT IT, I'D GIVE A THOUSAND DOLLARS IF I HAD IT. OF COURSE AS IN ANYTHING ELSE, A CERTAINLY LEVEL OF EXPERTISE DOESN'T COME OVERNIGHT. MORE LIKE YEARS TO BE ABLE TO HANDLE CLASS 3 AND 4 RAPIDS.

USUALLY IT VARIES FROM PERSON TO PERSON AND IT VARIES CERTAINLY ON HOW MUCH TIME YOU PUT INTO THE SPORT EACH YEAR. AROUND HERE THAT'S REALLY CONTROLLED BY HOW MUCH RAIN WE GET A LOT OF TIMES AND HOW MUCH FREE TIME YOU HAVE IF YOU CAN JUMP AND GO IN THE MIDDLE OF THE WEEK OR NOT. SO I WOULD SAY THOUGH ON AVERAGE PEOPLE ARE NOT READY FOR THIS FOR SEVERAL YEARS AFTER THEY START. AND THAT'S IF THEY'RE FAIRLY DEDICATED AND WANT TO DO THIS KIND OF THING. ALSO A BIG FACTOR IN THAT OF COURSE IS GETTING AROUND PEOPLE WHO YOU CAN GO DOWN THE RIVER WITH WHO CAN SHOW YOU THE ROPES AND TEACH YOU AND TAKING CLASSES THE CANOE CLUB FOR INSTANCE IN THIS AREA OFFERS GREAT CLASSES. I THINK THAT REALLY ACCELERATES PEOPLE FORWARD TO GO TAKE A CLASS IN WHITE WATER AND THEN GET AROUND THE PEOPLE WHO BATTLE THIS KIND OF WATER AND HOPEFULLY CAN ADVISE THEM ON WHAT THEY SHOULD AND SHOULDN'T DO.

THE BEST THING I LIKE ABOUT IT THE WORRIES OF EVERYDAY LIFE, YOU'RE SO FOLK FOCUSED ON WHAT YOU'RE DOING AT HAND, YOU DON'T EVEN THINK ABOUT, YOU KNOW, THE STRESSES OF EVERYDAY LIFE. AND THE RUSH THAT COMES ALONG WITH IT, I MEAN, IT'S JUST UNEXPLAINABLE. UNO CAVE WEST OF FAYETTEVILLE REALLY ISN'T THAT BIG. IT'S 600 OR SO FEET IN THERE. BUT WHAT YOU'LL FIND IN THERE IS RATHER INTERESTING. THE SALAMANDERS AND A STREAM. LEADING US IN WILL BE RHEA RILEY A WILDLIFE BIOLOGIST WITH THE U.S. FOREST SERVICE. THEY CALL HER THE BAD LADY. RHEA RYLEE. AFTER YOU. UNO CAVE IS LOCATED IN THE LAKE WEDDINGTON MANAGEMENT AREA ON HIGHWAY 16 WEST OF FAYETTEVILLE.

WELL, RIGHT NOW YOU'RE LOOKING AT THE EASTERN ONE OF THE MOST COMMON CAVE BATS YOU'LL FIND GENERALLY YEAR ROUND AND ONE OF THE SMALLEST BATS IN ARKANSAS. OVER HERE IN THIS WET AREA WE'VE GOT ONE OF PROBABLY ABOUT FIVE DIFFERENT SPECIES THAT LIKE CAVES, OR CAVE ENTRANCES, IT'S A CAVE SALAMANDER, THEY'RE FAIRLY COMMON. THEY LIKE REALLY WET AREAS. SO THIS IS ABOUT 675 FEET LONG. IT WAS FOUND IN 1988 BY THE AACS, THE ASSOCIATION FOR ARKANSAS CAVE STUDIES. THEY FOUND IT AND IT WAS MAPPED IN 2004 BY THREE INDIVIDUALS. AND WE WERE ACTUALLY OUT DOING INVENTORIES OF THIS AREA AND WE HAD NOTICED A LOT OF TRASH AROUND THE CAVE ENTRANCE AND WHEN WE CAME IN TO TAKE A LOOK AT IT. WE FOUND A LOT OF GRAFFITI, A LOT OF TRASH, REMNANTS OF A METHAMPHETAMINE LAB SO WE DECIDED TO SHUT THIS CAVE DOWN FOR A WHILE TO CLEAN IT UP AND GIVE IT A REST.

AS OF JUNE 2008, UNO CAVE HAS BEEN REOPENED ON A PERMIT BASIS AVAILABLE AT THE BOSTON MOUNTAIN RANGER DISTRICT OFFICE IN OZARK. PERMITS ARE OFFERED ONLY DURING JUNE, JULY AND AUGUST. RHEA RYLEE SHARED WITH US HOW SHE EVENTUALLY BECAME BAT WOMAN FOR THE U.S. FOREST SERVICE.

WELL, JUST STARTING OUT AS A STAY IN SCHOOL STUDENT WITH THE FOREST SERVICE I HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO GO WITH DIFFERENT BIOLOGISTS INTO CAVES AND I REALLY STARTING DOING A LITTLE MORE CAVING WORKING IN THE FILMORE DISTRICT BECAUSE THAT HAS MORE CAVES AND I WORK WITH THE AACS AND SOME OF THE GROTTOs AND THEY STARTED TEACHING ME A LITTLE BIT OF CAVING. I'M A FAIRLY NOVICE CAVER BUT I.E. RALLY ENJOY IT. THIS IS ONE OF THE FUNNEST PARTS OF MY JOB.

TOTALLY DIFFERENT WORLD DOWN HERE.

IT REALLY IS.

REALLY NEAT, REALLY INTERESTING. I SEE A SALAMANDER OVER THERE IN THE CORNER.

THERE'S SEVERAL OF THEM. LAST TIME I WAS IN HERE THERE WAS PROBABLY 18 CAVE SALAMANDERS AND THEY LIKE THE WET AREAS AND THIS HAS A PERENNIAL STREAM IN IT WHICH IS KIND OF UNUSUAL. ANOTHER REASON WE DID CLOSE THIS CAVE FOR A WHILE IS WE DID FIND A NEW SPECIES IN THE FISH AND THEY HAVEN'T IDENTIFIED IT YET. WE DECIDED IT NEEDED A REST FOR A WHILE AND WE'VE GOT IT CLEANED UP AND WE'RE HOPING WE COULD LET THE PUBLIC BACK IN HERE TO TAKE CARE OF IT. WELL THAT WAS A LOT OF FUN. I FEEL LIKE I JUST CRAWLED THROUGH A SEWER. NOW I KNOW WHAT A SEWER RAT FEELS LIKE. WHOSE IDEA WAS THIS ANYWAY?

IT WAS YOURS.

OKAY. ALL KIDDING ASIDE, WE DID HAVE FUN WILD CAVING WITH RHEA RYLEE, THE BAT LADY. SO, IF YOU'D LIKE TO EXPLORE FOR YOURSELF THE 2,000 SOMETHING WILD CAVES IN THE OZARKS, A GOOD WAY TO GO ABOUT AND DO THAT IS GET IN TOUCH WITH THE LOCAL GROTTO CLUB. IF YOU'D LIKE TO TAKE THAT WHITE WATER KAYAKING CHALLENGE, THE ARKANSAS CANOE CLUB IS THE WAY TO GO. DON'T FORGET TO EXPLORE THE HEAVENS WITH THE AACS OR WITH THE LOCAL ASTRONOMY CLUB. AND FOR MORE ON THESE DESTINATIONS OR THEIR WEBSITES OR TO ORDER A COPY OF AN EPISODE VISIT OUR WEBSITE AETN.ORG/"EXPLORING ARKANSAS" AND WE'LL SEE YOU NEXT TIME FOR ANOTHER EXCITING ADVENTURE ON "EXPLORING ARKANSAS".

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