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Earth Day Under Ground!
by Stormy on April 22, 2007

Green is good, but Earth Day goes a lot further than planting trees. Our planet is in trouble from trash and pollution! What can a marmot do to help?

Believe it or not, there is a specialty that goes with being a marmot! We're experts at eating all summer and sleeping all winter. Don't kid yourself. This is hard work. A plump marmot in September is very skinny come March. You have to be a professional eater to make it though the winter. There is a second specialty that all marmots have - underground burrows. On Earth Day 2007 I wasn't qualified to work with glaciers, or reduce emissions (I hear sheep produce a lot of emissions), but I am somewhat of an expert when it comes to burrows (and caves). The Colorado Grotto and the Front Range Grotto, both Denver area chapters of the National Speleological Society, joined forces to clean up Fault Cave. This is a pretty significant Earth Day project as the cave is in Jefferson County's Open Space and is available for visitation by anyone who wants to explore a fault line granite cave. Problem is that these folks may come with good intentions or with bad ones and it's not unusual to find beer cans, broken bottles, a ton of graffiti and some unmentionable icky stuff littering the corners of this cave. There was a great turn out for the event and over the course of the afternoon we covered Fault Cave and Fault Cave II and hauled out a ton of trash. When the Jefferson County Open Space ranger came by to check on our progress at the end of the day, we managed to fill the bed of his truck with bags of trash. It was a job well done! The only downside was that we did not get to address the graffiti that was left all over the place, but that's a mission we will save for another day. After the clean-up we had a pot-luck dinner and watched the BBC cave special on the Discovery Channel. It was a great way to spend Earth Day!

Stormy pauses at Clear Creek before getting to work.
(taken by Max on April 22, 2007)
It's a marmot in a cave! Note the graffiti on the wall. This, sadly, was a relatively clean area.
(taken by Max on April 22, 2007)
At the top of a steep climb. It can be slow going in places.
(taken by Max on April 22, 2007)
Really sucks when your helmet covers your eyes!
(taken by Max on April 22, 2007)
Out for lunch. It's sure bright out!
(taken by Max on April 22, 2007)
The views of the canyon are nothing short of amazing!
(taken by Max on April 22, 2007)
A lot of trash was hauled out. The project was a success, but a lot more work can be done here.
(taken by Jennifer on April 22, 2007)
Cavers take a break during the clean-up.
(taken by Jennifer on April 22, 2007)
Evaluating progress at the end of the day.
(taken by Jennifer on April 22, 2007)
Stormy on the Jefferson County Open Space car while the ranger is briefed on the day's work.
(taken by Max on April 22, 2007)


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