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Cave Education is all about communicating the values of caves and their unique ecosystems. When people understand how caves and their inhabitants help them, then they will take care of these unique places themselves.

Here's five big reasons to take care of your local caves.

1. Water - Many people do not realize that caves are often direct conduits to local watertables. So if you throw your trash into a cave or sinkhole, contaminents migrate directly into your local water supply. This is the same water that you drink! There is a 300 foot deep pit some miles away from Cathedral Cave that has been used as a dump for many years. Cavers have cleaned out this pit many times. Recently some signage and fencing have been installed to educate people about not dumping their trash into the pit. Don't mess up our water!

2. Bad Bugs - Bats eat mosquitos, tons of mosquitos. Some bats will eat half their body weight in bugs in a single night. Mosquitos can carry bad viruses that you do not want to experience. Many bats depend on caves as their homes, so support the caves and you help get rid of problem bugs.

3. Pollination - In Arizona the Long-Tongued bat is the major pollinator of the Saguaro Cactus. They also eat the fruit and disperse the seeds for new cacti growth. If you want these cacti then take care of bats and their cave habitats.

4. History - Many caves are time-capsules of everything from animal bones to indian artifacts. By supporting caves you support the researchers who study our past. Many of the bones and artifacts you see in museums were found in caves. This is especially true in Arizona where we have a rich history and excellent dry conditions to preserve archeological and paleontological resources.

5. Medicine - Some new cave research has ultimately resulted in preliminary cancer killing medicines. Here's how it works; deep inside a cave there is very limited food sources. There are microbes that live in caves that have to compete for this limited food. They are very adept at killing off other life so they can monopolize the food source. The chemicals they use to do this turn out to be useful in killing off some types of cancer cells and not human cells.



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