Ukrainian Speleological Association

Main tasks and activities

The main objective of the Association is promotion and development of speleological activities undertaken by clubs, sections and individual members.

The main objectives and activities of the UkrSA are:

Scientific, methodical and informational support of speleological activities

With a public asset of the most competent experts in all aspects of caving, UkrSA can fulfill both domestic needs and carry out the examination and projects for other organizations on all cave related issues. This work is carried out through commissions and sections, scientific and methodological development and publishing. Printed publications by the UrkSA provide information to members on various caving topics.

Registration and documentation of cave resources in Ukraine

In many countries caves are considered as natural resources of high value. UkrSA together with the Institute of Speleology conducts a registration and documentation of caves program by the means of members and staff of the Institute.

Promotion of knowledge about the caves and their conservation

Factors of uniqueness, value and vulnerability of natural caves are little known to the tourist and general public visiting the caves, as well as to officials responsible for the protection of nature and the adoption of management and economic decisions. Educational activities of the UkrSA is conducted through their own publications and the use of media. However, the Association does not seek to promote a broad and massive speleological activity because of the isolation and vulnerability of caves, not able to bear the high recreational load.

Expedition activity

Exploration and primary research is the basis of speleology. Most expeditions are prepared at the club level (particularly for clubs located directly in the Karst areas, such as Ternopil, Chortkiv, Crimea, etc.). However, many serious caving expedition need effort of cavers from different cities and recently with the help of the UkrSA, stable teams were established for the joint research of complex caves. Under the auspices of the UkrSA several major research expeditions are carried out annually.

Training and qualification activities

Even simple caves exploring, not mentioning study and first passing of difficult caves, often require skills and knowledge, so training is an important task of the Association. Through its special committee, the UkrSA is developing a system of training, programs and curricula at various levels and areas, conducting training sessions and workshops. A separate area is the training of professional cave rescuers and issuance of appropriate certificates.

Information and publishing activity of the UkrSA

This activity is crucial for cross-cutting and efficient operation of the Association. Speleological Association is the publisher of the “SVET” (“The Light”) magazine (2 issues per year), which contains news on speleological activities in CIS countries, descriptive, theoretical and methodological articles on the results of research and development conducted by cavers. The magazine is distributed by subscription. Every two years, “The directory of the UkrSA” is published. It is a guide to the structure of the organization, addresses and telephone numbers of all the units and individual members. Using both own and other organizations’ capabilities, the Association prepares and publishes methodological materials for practical caving, scientific publications, nature-conservative, educational and other materials.

Caves conservation

Natural caves are unique natural objects. In many countries, the newly discovered caves become legally and practically protected objects. In Ukraine, only few caves are in the state of nature-reserve fund, but their security is not guaranteed in practice. UkrSA is actively developing scientific foundations of the caves conservation, recommendations for executive agencies, educational work, and carrying out practical actions to protect the caves.

Work with children and youth

Introduction to caving, traveling, expeditions, is an effective mean of educating children and youth. Through the appropriate commission UkrSA coordinates speleological clubs and groups at tourism and local history stations, palaces for children and youth. Moreover, UkrSA provides joint seminars, expeditions and camps for children.

Competitions

UkrSA does not consider possibility to hold the competitions in the caves because of their high vulnerability. However, UkrSA practices and supports competition in open landfills, considering them an effective means of improving sports and technical skills and expertise. UkrSA holds annual championships in speleo techniques and rescue operations, competitions in surveying.

UkrSA congresses

Congresses are held annually. Gatherings allow exchange of the experience and research results from expeditions, discussion of common and thematic issues of the development of speleology. Furthermore, presentations, exhibitions, competitions, organizational and formal procedures are being carried out during congresses. Such actions allow wide companionship for cavers from different cities and countries.