Our philosophy is that we, as humans, sail the sea, fly the sky, and explore the universe, yet we don’t know what lies beneath our feet. Our team of explorers endeavors to discover, explore, and document caves and their resources (groundwater, biology, archeology, paleontology) throughout the world and to share the results to help make the subterranean world less mysterious. While our project areas extend from Montenegro and Slovenija in Europe, to Virginia and Wyoming in the USA, for 2023, we are continuing the exploration of newly discovered caves in the Kucka Korita area of Montenegro. This rugged, spectacular area in the Dinaric Alps is interesting because of its dry, hostile karst terrain, despite receiving some of Europe’s highest precipitation rates. This contradiction exists because all of that water is disappearing underground into the vast network of caves. To get there, we cross six countries and juggle six nationalities and cultures. The local communities still get their water from one small spring that supplies the whole area. For some families, this means several kilometers of travel on steep, rugged roads to resupply with this most basic necessity of life. Something many of us take for granted. Despite hardship, these people welcome us every year, allow us to camp on their land, and supply us with food, often without asking for anything in return. We hope that our exploration and study of the caves and karst of Kucka Korita will better our understanding and help protect the precious water resources of the region. We have surveyed and mapped more than 50 newly discovered caves and discovered new subterranean species. Our focus for 2023 will be to continue the exploration of two caves found in 2022. The results of these exciting discoveries will be presented in journals and at conferences and educational events in Europe and the USA. Most recently, in 2022, we presented our findings at the International Congress of Speleology in Savoie, France.
Funded by Awesome Without Borders (October 2023)