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WKU graduate to lead science/resource management area at Mammoth Cave

Superintendent Patrick Reed announced that WKU graduate Bobby Carson has been selected as the Chief of the Science and Resource Management Division of Mammoth Cave National Park. Carson is a 35-year veteran of the National Park Service, with most of his years at Mammoth Cave.

Bobby Carson

“Bobby steps into this job with a wealth of experience, a strong academic background and a deep passion to protect and preserve the natural, historic and cultural resource at Mammoth Cave,” said Reed.  “Bobby and his staff monitor and study the park’s plants and animals, caves, rivers and air, as well as the historic and prehistoric resources found in the cave and on the surface.”

Carson says his interest in nature and natural forces dates back through several generations of his family.  “Some of my earliest memories are following my grandfather out to the weather station on his Ohio County farm to record daily weather observations,” said Carson.  “My grandfather and great-grandfather were local observers for the National Weather Service for a total of 65 years.”

Carson attended WKU, earning a bachelor of science in geography (1976), with a minor in earth sciences and a concentration in meteorology.  His first job was working swing-shift for the National Weather Service in Louisville, but he soon took a day-shift position at Mammoth Cave monitoring radon gas inside the cave.  Carson married Vickie (nee Thompson) in 1979, who also works for the National Park Service (NPS).

In 1989, Carson transferred to the NPS Air Resource Division in Denver, Colo., a network of 42 monitoring stations in park units across the country, including Grand Canyon, Hawaiian Volcanoes, Yosemite, Yellowstone, Acadia, Everglades, Denali, and Mammoth Cave.

Carson returned to Kentucky in 1994 and served as an air quality coordinator for NPS parks in the Southeast Region until 1997, when he was hired as the air quality specialist at Mammoth Cave.  He has served as the acting chief of the division for almost two years.

The Science and Resource Management Division is supported by 11 staff, plus summer college students through the Student Conservation Association, and volunteers who donate 25,000 hours per year.  Together they manage 29 projects, such as water quality, cave restoration, endangered species habitat protection, air quality, exotic species control, archival management, research permits with universities and sister agencies, and citizen science through the Mammoth Cave International Center for Science and Learning.

Contact: Vickie Carson, (270) 758-2192.

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