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WKU hosting international karst conference June 8-10

Scientists from 14 countries will attend the 2011 International Conference on Karst Hydrogeology and Ecosystems June 8-10 at WKU.

WKU’s Hoffman Environmental Research Institute, the National Cave and Karst Research Institute (NCKRI) and the International Association of Hydrogeologists (IAH) will host the meeting.

With its location on one of the world’s great karst landscapes and its history of karst scientific research, WKU has hosted a series of international karst conferences over the last several decades including the 8th International Congress of Speleology in 1981 and joint conferences of international karst commissions in 1998, 2003 and 2007.

This year’s conference will convene the annual 2011 business meetings of the International Association of Hydrogeologists Karst Commission, the International Union of Speleology (UIS) Speleogenesis Commission and the newly approved UNESCO/IUGS IGCP/SIDA Project 598: “Environmental Change and Sustainability in Karst Systems: Relations to Climate Change and Anthropogenic Activities.”

“We are very pleased to be hosting scientists from around the world at this meeting,” said Dr. Jason Polk of WKU’s Hoffman Environmental Research Institute, who is leading the organizational activities. “With support from WKU’s Office of Research and Applied Research and Technology Program, WKU students will be able to interact with top karst scientists from China, Brazil, Netherlands, Indonesia, Slovenia, and many other countries.”

The conference will begin June 8 with technical presentations during the day at WKU followed by a welcome party that evening at Lost River Cave. On June 9, a series of field trips will be conducted at the Mammoth Cave National Park area followed by a cookout at the Hamilton Valley Field Station. Technical sessions resume on June 10 at WKU with the conference concluding at a poster session and banquet at the Kentucky Museum.

In addition to the 2011 international conference, two other events are planned.

*A preconference four-day regional field trip will be conducted June 4-7 along the East Fork of the Obey River, a tributary of the Cumberland River in Tennessee. The field trip will be based out of Dale Hollow Lake Resort State Park.

*The 2011 Karst Field Studies summer program, featuring three courses, will begin June 13. For the past 30 years, WKU in conjunction with Mammoth Cave National Park has offered the series of weeklong field classes focusing on cave and karst science.

Contact: Chris Groves, (270) 745-5974.

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