To The Bat Cave!

Arianne Miller did some serious caving recently as part of a bat survey team she joined during her SCA Natural Resources Internship at Craters of the Moon National Monument. For more on the project, check out this fabulous profile on Idaho’s MagicValley.com. For Arianne’s personal take on a cave-crawling experience that might make your skin crawl, read our interview below.

What appealed to you most about this internship?

I was very interested in working with bats. I helped mist net bats in a previous internship and found myself wanting to do more work with bats. The fact that I would be in caves while surveying for bats made it even more desirable.  I am having a lot of fun here and having some amazing learning opportunities.
 

Is the job as physically and mentally challenging as it looks?

I knew I was physically ready for this internship. I am use to hiking long distances over rough terrain. However, I wasn’t sure if I was mentally ready for the cave environment. Some of the crawls we do are extremely tight and you can barely fit your body through them. It is important to have a plan before entering the cave and to always go over the cave map to become familiar with your route.
 

What is the coolest part about navigating your way through caves?

The best part is that every cave is different and you never know what you will find. You can crawl through a tiny hole and next thing you know you are in a huge room with 20ft high ceilings. Or one cave is hot and humid with moss growing and the next cave is freezing with beautiful ice formations. 
 

What is the most concerning part?

Caves here can be dangerous. There is ice, loose footing, and the lava can be very sharp. There is always a chance of someone getting injured in the cave environment. We are always very safety-conscious and stay in contact with base in case of an emergency.
 

What was it like having a journalist look over your shoulder all day?

I had a lot of fun with the reporter. It’s always exciting to have the opportunity to share the work we are doing. Looking for bats in a cave is like searching for hidden treasure and I was so happy that the reporter found some bats as well. 
 

Where do you go from here?

I have started studying for the GRE (Graduate Record Examination) and hope to take the test soon. I have been exploring different college’s masters programs. I plan to attend graduate school in the near future and I know that my work here will make me a more competitive candidate.
 
Photo: Arianne Millet (right) and seasonal interpretive ranger Jack Davisson