Field Trips and Professional Short-Courses

Beginning in 1968 the Ozark Underground Laboratory, and more recently the Tumbling Creek Cave Foundation, have conducted day-long (and sometimes longer) field trips and professional short-courses that have included Tumbling Creek Cave and associated lands. The programs are primarily for college groups, but have also included professional short courses for biologists, hydrologists, geologists, and engineers. A number of short-courses have been conducted for Missouri Department of Transportation personnel to better familiarize them with actions that can protect cave and karst resources. The typical field trip for college groups spends half a day on the surface discussing how the surface relates to caves and the karst groundwater system. The second half of the day is spent in the cave.


On the surface we typically visit sinkholes, losing streams, springs, and the Bear Cave entrance to the cave system. In the cave we walk along 2,100 feet of hard-surface cave trail and then retrace our route back to the shaft entrance. Two stops on the typical cave trip are at vertical shafts that receive recharge water from a sinkhole that is visited on the surface trip. Three stops are along the cave stream to discuss cave fauna and the water quality monitoring program that has been in operation since August 2002. The highly diverse cave fauna and actions to protect it are the focus of several stops on the cave trip. Depending upon the interests of the group a number of species living in the cave are pointed out as we travel the trail. This is a highly decorated cave and many interesting and beautiful speleothems (cave formations) are found along the trail.

Surface field trip from Missouri State University.

A highly decorated wall in the Big Room.

Stalagmites in the East Passage.

Cave formations along the East Passage trail.

Field trip in the East Passage.

Old springhouse.

Columns along the trail in the East Passage.

A stalagmite in the East Passage that has been heavily re-dissolved.

More Cave formations along the East Passage trail.

Stalagmites in the East Passage.

Above Photos courtesy of Michael Carter

Many field trip groups must travel a substantial distance so we built a Field House and Bunkhouse. The Field House is a meeting and eating room heated with a fireplace. It contains a stove, refrigerator, bathroom, shower, and three bunks (without bedding). The Bunkhouse contains 18 bunks (without bedding) and an attached study room; heat is from a wood stove.

Field House.


All field trips are by appointment and charges are made for the tours and the use of facilities.


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