Extraordinary Women Leaders in Speleology © 2017

Phone: 971-533-6435

Leadership In Action

Extraordinary Women Leaders in Speleology

2014 - EWLS Begins a Case Study: We distributed a marketing poll  to help us better understand and serve women in the caving community. It reached over 16% of all women cavers in the NSS. Our 2014 annual event was also hosted by Idaho's Silver Sage Grotto. It was the biggest event yet and applicants for our 2014 publication included people from all over the world including USA, the UK, and Australia. Our publication also morphed to include a guidebook. The book was so popular that is was reprinted and used as a Northwest Regional (NCA) Guidebook for the event hosted by the Silver Sage Grotto that year. It completely sold out!


2015 - EWLS EXPANDS: This year was very exciting for growth. We again had international participants in the 2015 annual magazine and a very large group attend the 2015 All-Grrs-Cave-Trip in Trout Lake, Washington but we also added two more officers and several online sources including Pinterest, Instagram, and LinkedIn. We also got pretty tech-savvy with online registration forms and PayPal to help with the workload involved with managing your awesome support. Tabitha Rossman joined the team as our Photography Blogger and Adriana Sanchez became the representative for Canada and Mexico. We also had a photography contest with world-wide participation. The winner, Christine Grosart also allowed Lisa Bauman to use her photo as inspiration for our highly-popular shirt design that year.

2016 - EWLS Continues to Grow: This year we added a Facebook Group page so that those who support us have a voice to share their thoughts, needs, and encouraging stories. Karla Zajac joined the team to be an editor for our publication too. The 2016 event is being held in Cougar, Washington and the 2016 publication included women from all over the US and one woman from Portugal. It featured work from over 40 photographers too. We were really excited and honored to have four sponsors this year including real estate agent Chris Wiley, Potions Salon, Lone Fir Resort, and Georgia Girl Guides. Our 2016 shirts have almost completely sold out as the design by Tabitha Rossman and Lisa Bauman has been very popular. EWLS also hosted the NSS Junior Speleological Society at the NSS Convention in Ely, NV to support youth cavers. 


2017 - EWLS IS A FAMILY: This has been a year of building relationships in the caving community. Carolina Shrewsbury, NSS Arts and Letters Chairman, created an amazing annual shirt for EWLS and for the first time the annual event was rescheduled but it was for happy reasons. Lisa Bauman, EWLS President and Khalvin Cook, EWLS VP got married after celebrating 5 years together building a community that supports women cavers. The AGCT event is being held on October 13, 2017 in Trout Lake, WA. Stay posted for an update!


Whats Next? We haven't seen a stop in growth and are finding new ways to manage overwhelming support. We see the next step for EWLS is to become a membership organization that can be financially and physically backed to provide the services that are needed to support our mission such as caving and educational scholarships, paid positions to support growth and create local services for women in caving and STEM sciences, and more regular publications. If you are interested in contributing, please let us know by email or check out our Opportunities page.

2013 - An Explosion of support: Overwhelming participation and interest created a need for our organization to become an official non-profit on Feb. 21, 2014. Our 2013 event, held in Cougar, Washington, included our first annual publication, Extraordinary Women Cavers, where women leaders were highlighted and this is when we discovered a strong following in the UK. Our Facebook page exploded in popularity from 30 to nearly 700 likes and we began a blog! Our first Women’s News Reporter, Carole Devillers joined the team to help serve our online followers with interesting content. 
2012 - Community: Our second year was a year of growth. The 2012 event, also held in Bend, Oregon, had about 10 attendees of both men and women. We formed some great traditions. The first day women and men caved separately so that women could preform in all the leadership roles alone on their trip. We had a vertical training and wonderful entertainment ranging from accordion, guitar, and fire dancing. Today we still carry on these traditions of community sharing and fun and have included a few more such as silly awards and a guacamole contest.

The History of Extraordinary


2010 & 2011 - ActionAlthough the organization didn't officially exist yet, the spirit of it did. In 2010 the planning for our first-annual leadership event now called the All-Grrs-Cave-Trip was in full motion by leaders from the Oregon High Desert Grotto (OHDG) and Willamette Valley Grotto (WVG). This event, in Bend, Oregon, had six women attendees who traveled from several different organizations in the northwest. Although they were not permitted to attend, more than half of the volunteers planning and organizing for the event were men. It was clear that men cared about encouraging and supporting women to leadership in caving. This is when our vision morphed to include men too. We believe that since men care about women and they also encompass ¾ of all cavers in the National Speleological Society (NSS), our mission and vision included and required the support of our male counterparts. This is why we now invite and welcome both men and women to all leadership roles in our organization.

Our History