Procedures and Criteria
Group Conservation Award
Conservation and Management
Section of the National Speleological Society
The Conservation and Management Section of the National Speleological
Society presents the Group Conservation Award annually. It is given to group
affiliated with the NSS that has made a
significant contribution towards conservation or management of cave or karst
resources with the intent to recognize the best and most effective conservation
group in the NSS. This award is
for contemporary group operation and achievement. The award consists of a
certificate, $100 check, and the groupís name on the Group Conservation Award
plaque in the NSS office.
The Chair of the Conservation and Management Section of the NSS shall annually
appoint the Awards Committee Chair with the approval of the members at the
Section Annual Meeting. If the section does not act to appoint an awards
committee chair at the annual meeting, the Awards Committee Chair shall serve
until resignation or a successor is appointed. If a vacancy occurs between
annual meetings, the Section Chair may appoint a section member to serve as
Awards Committee Chair to fill the vacancy with the approval of the Section
The Chair of the Awards Committee shall appoint a committee of at least
three and not more than five judges. The Chair may be one of the judges. The
Chair should appoint judges who are deemed wise, fair, and impartial.
Candidates for judges are persons whose strong conservation work has been noted
by recognition from the NSS, or by
exceptional service and dedication to cave and karst conservation within the NSS or affiliated
Some examples of the types of accomplishments or recognition that qualify a
person to serve as a judge are:
- Receiving the
Individual Conservation Award,
- Receiving a
significant award from the NSS that was
granted at least in part for cave conservation work, (Some of the awards
that often meet
this standard are the Outstanding Service Award, the Honorary Member
Award, and the Certificate of Merit Award.)
- Being a
leader who was instrumental in a group's conservation work that led to an
organization receiving the Group Conservation Award,
- Doing exceptional
cave and karst related conservation work.
The committee may conduct all of its business by electronic or other
means of communication. In person meetings are not required.
The Chair of the Section Awards Committee shall coordinate the selection
and presentation process with the NSS Awards Committee
Chair and the NSS Administrative
Vice President. This coordination could include having the Chair of the Section
Awards Committee participate in some way in the NSS Awards Committee.
The Group Conservation Award shall be presented at the NSS Convention awards
banquet by the Section Award Committee Chair or the Chairmanís designee.† An appropriate representative of the
recipient organization shall be notified prior to the convention to encourage a
representative to be present to receive the award. The NSS Awards Committee
Chair shall also be notified for presentation format purposes. The Awards
Committee Chair may choose to have this award be a surprise for the audience.
All NSS internal
organizations, NSS committees, and
other groups affiliated with the NSS are eligible to
be nominated for this award.
Nominations may be made by anyone. Self nominations are acceptable.
Nominations shall be made in writing and sent electronically to the Award
Committee Chair. The Chair shall set a deadline for nominations sufficiently
prior to the NSS Convention to
allow adequate time for proper consideration of all nominees. This
deadline shall be coordinated with the NSS
Awards Committee deadline. A call for nominations shall be maintained at appropriate places on the
NSS Internet site and the NSS News shall be
asked to publish a call for nominations annually. All NSS groups are
encouraged to provide additional promotion of the award.
The potential award recipient should have institutionalized accepted
cave conservation and cave management practices within its activities.† Cave activities, projects, meetings, and
other events should be conducted in a manner that reflects a strong
conservation ethic and contemporary cave management methodology. Its leaders
and members should be proactive cave conservationists. The potential award
recipient should be an exemplary model for all NSS internal organizations
and committees to emulate.
Consideration is also given for specific cave conservation and
management projects. Some examples are listed below; this list should not be
and restoring karst and cave habit for troglobites and cave adapted life,
gating, fencing, and posting of caves and cave properties,
- Repairing and
maintaining of gates and helping other organizations to do the same,
- Conducting or
supporting cave restoration such as removing graffiti and trash, repairing
and reattaching broken speleothems, damaged cave floors, removing
inappropriate artificial fill, and cleaning speleothems or other cave
- Doing karst
land cleanups such as removing debris and trash from sinkholes and
cave protection laws and assisting authorities with the apprehension and
prosecution of cave vandals,
- Working to
establish and strengthen laws and regulations that protect and conserve
caves and karst lands,
- Actively working to decrease the sale
public officials to appropriate land use in karst areas,
inappropriate land use in karst areas,
and supporting cave conservancies and preserves,
wealth and resources for cave conservation and management,
landowners with the protection and conservation of karst resources,
cavers to become proactive conservationists,
educational outreach such as cave conservation presentations and publications
aimed at the general public,
- Encouraging show cave owners and
managers to take every practical opportunity to aid the public in
understanding caves and the importance of their conservation,
- Assisting private cave owners by
providing historical and biological knowledge about their cave and helping
them protect it and the surrounding property from damage during cave
visits and from inappropriate land use,
The judges shall devise a system to assign value to the various
components of the nomineeís activities. The system may use points or some other
means to weigh the accomplishments and activities by year.† The following example describes the weighting
required to be given to activities by year for each nominee.
- All points
for conservation merit and activities earned in the last year are
evaluated at full value.
- All points
for conservation merit and activities earned in the period of one to two
years prior to the award are evaluated at 75% of full value.
- All points
for conservation merit and activities earned prior to two years and not
more than five years are evaluated at 50%.
consideration is to be given to any accomplishments or other activities
more than five years in the past.
consideration is to be given to any accomplishments or other activities of
previous award recipients prior to the date the group previously received
- The judges
may give some consideration, at their discretion, to the size and wealth
of the group. For example, favorable consideration may be given to a small
group that makes extraordinary efforts and considerable sacrifices versus
a large group with a similar level of cave conservation accomplishments
that required little sacrifice.
Nominations for the Group Conservation Award should be sent to:
John M. Wilson
Awards Committee Chair, Conservation and Management Section
The deadline for the award is 1 June of the year of the award.