For the more information about the geologic resources of the National Park Service, please visit

Cave & Karst Education

group learning abour lava tudes i Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Visitors learn about lava tubes in Thurston Lava Tube, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. (NPS Photo by Dale Pate)

Education and outreach are vital in our efforts to promote good stewardship, better understanding of the places we manage, and buy-in as to the values these resources hold for the American public. This is even more important in the understanding of cave and karst areas because they are generally underground and out of sight. These resources are quite often complex and cannot always be studied first-hand. The education of a park's staff including park management is a critical first step in promoting good stewardship. This should be followed by education and outreach to all visitors and potential visitors including school groups from kindergarten through college-aged students. Some excellent resources for teachers including curricula and general-interest learning are provided below:

Junior Cave Scientist Program

Junior Cave Scientist badge

The Junior Cave Scientist Activity Book engages young people in learning activities to help them discover cave and karst resources, and introduces wide-range of cave experiences. The book is a fun-filled way to learn about the National Park System and become a steward of cave conservation. Learn more...

Caves of the National Parks Poster

visitor inside a lava tube

Caves are diverse, fascinating, and rich in resources and a valuable part of our geologic heritage. This classroom poster helps students learn about Caves of the National Parks and why caves are important. Download PDF...

Growing Speleothems

Soda Straws

In this activity students will grow their own speleothems, learn about the process of mineral formation, and record observations at the end of each day. Learn more...

Park Education Highlights

cave restoration in Wind Cave

Some cave parks in the National Park Service have developed webpages with educators in mind. These pages can assist teachers in planning a field trip and some provide curriculum material.
Learn more...

Webinars and Presentations

Cavers safely traverse above a vertical pit.

On-line presentations related to the topics of caves and karst are starting to become more and more available on the internet. This webpage lists some that are available. Learn more...

Karst Topography Paper Model

Topography Paper Model

In this activity, students will construct a 3-D paper model that shows how water moves through karst and cave systems. Peering into the model's cave opening reveals a miniature diorama with many cave features. Learn more...

Cave & Karst Views

ice formations

Views of the National Parks (Views) is a multimedia education program that presents the natural, historical, and cultural wonders associated with national parks and provides opportunities for all Americans to discover why national parks are special places. The link provided takes you directly to the section to learn about cave & karst basics such as types of caves, how they form, what can be found in them, why they are important and what threats exist. Lesson plans are provided. Learn more...

Making a Cave

illustration of cave formation activity

After making clay models of caves students will learn about weathering processes and be able to conceptualize how water creates caves and cave formations. Learn more...

Park Education Highlights

Buffalo National River, Arkansas
Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico
Great Basin National Park, Nevada
Jewel Cave National Monument, South Dakota
Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky
Oregon Caves National Monument, Oregon
Ozark National Scenic Riverways, Missouri
Wind Cave National Park, South Dakota

Webinars and Presentations

There are a growing number of sources for webinars and presentations related to caves and karst. Here are some that we know of:

  • The National Parks Service Biologic Resources Division provides the following page with presentations related to WNS and bats in buildings. Learn more...
  • A coalition of US government agencies offer the following website with multiple videos and webinars on the topic of WNS. Learn more...
  • BatsLIVE - A Distance Learning Adventure Learn more...
    • Cave and Karst - The World Beneath our Feet (held on October 11, 2012)
    • Bat Basics (held on April 18, 2012)
    • Bat Education in Your Class and in the Field (held May 3, 2012)
  • White-Nose
  • National Speleological Society Webinars Learn more...

Additional Resources

NSS logo

NSS Education Highlights

In their own words "...the National Speleological Society does more than any other organization to study, explore, and conserve cave and karst resources; protect access to caves; encourage responsible management of caves and their unique environments; and promote responsible caving." This organization has an Education Committee that has provided links to interesting information sources about caves and karst and Project underground. Project Underground in a non-profit organization that provides curriculum and workshops to educators.
Learn more...

Related Links



Last Updated: April 23, 2015