NSS 75th Anniversary Convention

NSS Affiliate Organizations


To help accomplish its goals and extend the reach of its members' expertise and capabilities, the NSS seeks to foster affiliations with select conservation, scientific, and educational organizations, and federal agencies. Often our relationship is formalized with memoranda of understanding (MOU). Each affiliation is served by an NSS liaison to promote ways the society and the external organization can work together and benefit from each other's activities, and to be a conduit of information between the two organizations.

We're proud to be affiliated with the following organizations and agencies.


American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), is an international non-profit organization dedicated to advancing science around the world by serving as an educator, leader, spokesperson and professional association.



American Cave Conservation Association (ACCA)

ACCA is a nonprofit membership organization whose activities and proceeds are dedicated to the conservation of caves and related resources across the nation and around the world. It operates the American Cave and Karst Center (also known as the American Cave Museum), which includes Hidden River Cave, in the town of Horse Cave, KY.



American Geological Institute (AGI)

The American Geological Institute is a nonprofit federation of 44 geoscientific and professional associations that represents more than 100,000 geologists, geophysicists, and other earth scientists. Founded in 1948, AGI provides information services to geoscientists, serves as a voice of shared interests in our profession, plays a major role in strengthening geoscience education, and strives to increase public awareness of the vital role the geosciences play in society's use of resources and interaction with the environment.



Bat Conservation International (BCI)

BCI's mission is to teach people the value of bats, to protect and conserve critical bat habitats, and to advance scientific knowledge through research. All this while using a win-win beneficial solution that will benefit both bats and people.



Bureau of Land Management

The Bureau of Land Management manages nearly 800 caves in the eleven western states. A memorandum of understanding to develop cooperative management and volunteer agreements between the BLM, the NSS, and the Cave Research Foundation resulted from the Federal Cave Resource Protection Act proposed by the NSS and enacted by the U.S. Congress in 1988.



Caving News

Caving News is a website whose goal is to be the best source of cave-related news in English from around the world. The site's main audience is cavers and those with an understanding of caves and karst. The NSS has a cooperative agreement to assist in providing news stories.



Union Internationale de Spéléologie (UIS)

The UIS is essentially the United Nations of speleological organizations. It is composed of over 60 member nations, each represented by the nation's national organization. The NSS represents the USA. The UIS serves to foster and promote cave exploration, science, education, management, and fellowship at an international level. Its governing General Assembly, made up of national delegates, meets every four years at the International Congress of Speleology and elects a bureau which meets annually and conducts the organization's daily business. As the NSS has sections focused on various aspects of speleology, the UIS has departments, commissions, and working groups that specialize in many topics and often hold their own conferences and publish proceedings, newsletters, and websites. While individuals are not direct members of the UIS, members of organizations that represent their nation (like NSS members) are thus considered UIS members and are welcome to participate.



Karst Information Portal (KIP)

The goal of this organization is to provide a worldwide information network linking scientists, managers, and explorers, in order to inform research, to enhance collaboration, and to address policy decisions in karst environments.



Karst Waters Institute (KWI)

The Karst Waters Institute is a non-profit institution whose mission is to improve the fundamental understanding of karst water systems through sound scientific research and the education of professionals and the public. The NSS and KWI have a mutual interest in the study of karst waters and the effective management of water resources.



National Cave and Karst Management Symposium (NCKMS)

The biennial National Cave and Karst Management Symposiums have been important forums for promoting, advancing, and sharing concepts in effective management of cave and karst resources for over thirty years. The NCKMS Steering Committee, composed of organizations and agencies who are involved in cave and karst management, is primarily responsible for ensuring the symposium continues to take place. The NSS NCKMS Coordinator chairs the steering committee.



National Cave and Karst Research Institute (NCKRI)

The National Cave and Karst Research Institute was formed by the U.S. Congress in 1998. The purposes of the institute include advancing cave and karst science and research; promoting and conducting cave and karst educational programs; and developing and promoting environmentally sound and sustainable cave and karst management practices.



National Caves Association (NCA)

The NCA is the organization of commercial (show) cave operators. Each year at the NSS Convention, the NCA presents to an NSS member an award for the best paper on a show cave.



National Park Service (NPS)

Caves and karst features occur in 120 parks in all regions of the National Park Service (81 contain caves and an additional 39 contain karst). Over 3,900 caves are currently known throughout the system. The National Park Service has a memorandum of understanding with the National Speleological Society. This MOU is designed to secure assistance with inventories, surveys, monitoring, and exploration of caves and with the investigation and preservation of bat habitat. The MOU resulted from the Federal Cave Resource Protection Act proposed by the NSS and enacted by the U.S. Congress in 1988.



Project Underground (PU)

A national educational program on caves and karst awareness, Project Underground is a source of interdisciplinary instructional activities, and its staff conducts workshops and in-service training programs. These materials and workshops are designed for classroom teachers, cavern, park, museum, and nature center staff, or any youth-oriented group leaders.



The Nature Conservancy (TNC)

The Nature Conservancy is a non-profit conservation organization dedicated to the preservation of biological diversity globally, and devoted to the protection of areas important to the survival or rare plant and animal species and natural communities. Many caves and areas of karst and pseudokarst topography contain delicate ecosystems frequently supporting uncommon, rare, and endangered species which are vulnerable to impact by some human activities, and also contain other delicate and fragile geological, archaeological, paleontological, historical, and other features which are similarly vulnerable.



United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS)

The USFWS is "Working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife and plants and their habitat for the continuing benefit of the American people." In 1992, the NSS established a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the USFWS.



United States Forest Service (USFS)

A memorandum of understanding between the U.S. Forest Service and the NSS resulted from the Federal Cave Resource Protection Act proposed by the NSS and enacted by the U.S. Congress in 1988.