Jim Kennedy is our Conservation Director.
Jim “Crash” Kennedy began caving in 1973 as a Boy Scout, and soon learned about vertical caving, cave conservation, cave rescue, and cave mapping as a member of the Nittany Grotto in central Pennsylvania. After graduating with degrees in Biology and Environmental Education, he moved to Texas in 1995 to take a position with Bat Conservation International (BCI). Jim worked at BCI for 18 years as Cave Resources Specialist, studying and protecting caves across the US and other countries. In 2013 he left to start his own small consulting firm, Kennedy Above/Under Ground, LLC, doing business as CaveGators.com. He currently specializes in the design and construction of particularly large and difficult cave and mine gating projects across the United States. His background and experience in cave microclimates and the restoration of cave ecosystems altered by human actions makes him one of the top cave conservationists in the country.
In Texas, Jim quickly became involved with all the different local caving organizations. He is on the Board of the Texas Speleological Survey (the state cave archives), has served in various officer roles in the Texas Speleological Association, and currently is the Chief Organizer and Head Cat Herder for the annual Texas Cavers Reunion. Jim is the Vice President of the Texas Cave Management Association (a land trust), and is on the Advisory Board of the Association for Mexican Cave Studies. He also leads expeditions to the northern mountains of Mexico several times a year, finding and documenting new caves (see LagunaCaves.com for more information on this).
Nationally, Jim is a Fellow and Life Member of the National Speleological Society (NSS), and is the former Bat Conservation Liaison for the NSS. Currently, he is the NSS representative and Chair of the Steering Committee for the National Cave and Karst Management Symposium. He recently chaired the 2021 NCKMS Symposium in San Marcos, Texas. Jim has contributed a chapter to the excellent NSS book, Cave Conservation and Restoration, and has written numerous other articles throughout the years.
Jim’s caving philosophy is that identification and protection of the cave resources require good data and careful planning. You can’t protect what you don’t know. And people don’t care about things they don’t understand. He enjoys surveying and is more than happy to take new cavers along to teach them the tricks. Jim eats, sleeps, and breathes caves, much to the chagrin of his wife. Caves are truly in his blood, and conservation is always on his mind.
Jim is a long-time supporter of ACCA and brings with him a wealth of knowledge and a passion for cave conservation. He is looking forward to sharing his skills and inspiring others through upcoming cave gating projects and training workshops. If you have a project suggestion, please email him.
The American Cave Conservation Association (ACCA) is a National 501 (c) 3 Nonprofit Organization.
Donations and Memberships are Deductible to the Fullest Extent Allowed by Law.