WON Landing Page OCT 2022

Caver Jo Schaper wins presitigous Lester B. Dill Award

On October 3, Jo Schaper was given the Lester B. Dill Award by the Mississippi Valley-Ozark Region of the National Speleological Society. The award was established in 1972 by Lester B. Dill, the Ozark entrepreneur who took Saltpeter Cave in Franklin County, and turned it into a major tourist attraction called Meramec Caverns in 1930.

Jonohatsm1It has been given 28 times since then to a caver from a six state Midwestern region (Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Kansas) for “contributions to speleology” — which many consist of science, administration, public education, cave survey, or some mix of all of them. The award is a chromed brass carbide miner’s light on a walnut base. A carbide light is unique in that it is a source of both light and heat. (Many cavers still carry one as a backup, though their primary lights are more likely LEDs these days.)

Schaper’s accomplishments include original research at Tufa Creek, a travertine-depositing stream on Ozark Riverways and Pioneer Forest, cave and springs research, establishing and maintaining a website on Missouri geology, springs and caves for 15 years, karst mapping, administrative service to three Missouri grottos (caver clubs), the Missouri Speleological Survey, Missouri Caves and Karst Conservancy as an officer and publication editor. She has written many many gratis articles for MVOR guidebooks, is a long-time DNR State Parks volunteer, and provides volunteer assistance to various federal agencies on the topic of springs and caves. She is a fellow of the National Speleological Society, and current president of Middle Mississippi Valley Grotto in St. Louis.

The presentation was made at Keener Spring Resort near Williamsville during the semi-annual MVOR caver campout. While many organizations will tell the recipient ahead of time to ensure his or her attendance, the MVOR committee instead asked Schaper attend in order to lead the customary geology field trip, which she willingly did, only to be totally surprised at the end of a long day.

Schaper has worked in printing and publishing her entire career. She is currently assistant editor for the Traveler, events editor for The Kaleidoscope Weekly Online as well as freelancing for both and other publications.

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    The Women's Outdoor News, aka The WON, features news, reviews and stories about women who are shooting, hunting, fishing and actively engaging in outdoor adventure. This publication is for women, by women.