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Keynote Speaker

2019 Conference Keynote Address

"Lights in the Darkness: Stories from the Underground"

Dr. Johanna Kovarik

Saturday, March 23, 2019  /  10:00-11:15 am  /  DSU 3020  /  Free and open to the public

Image of Dr. Johanna Kovarik


Presentation Description

Beneath layers of rock, caves and karst systems hide away some of the most productive groundwater on earth and are an amazing repository of fossils, archaeological artifacts, and unique minerals. A growing number of scientists are heading underground to study caves, and it all begins by letting the geology of the cave speak to us through mapping these hidden environments. As the data hidden away in caves have the power to impact science across the board, so do the unique stories and perspectives other people have to share. To truly understand others and to work collaboratively, we must leave space for their story to emerge without influencing it with our bias. Equally important is defining our own narrative, even when people would define it for us. Learn more about what caves can teach us and travel around the subterranean world with Dr. Johanna Kovarik as she brings her own research story to light through images of these fantastic places.



Dr. Johanna Kovarik has studied caves and karst watersheds since she got her first job with the National Park Service in New Mexico in 2003. She earned her Master's degree in Geoscience from Western Kentucky University and her Ph.D. from the University of South Florida. Her research work is primarily in land use and watershed dynamics, groundwater vulnerability, and natural resource management; she has joined grant-funded cave expeditions around the world as a geoscientist. Dr. Kovarik served for the past seven years as the National Cave and Karst Program Lead for the U.S. Forest Service, moving into this role from her work as a geologist and hydrologist on the Tongass National Forest in southeast Alaska. In 2015 she was awarded the National Rise to the Future: Friend of Fish and Watershed Award from the U.S. Forest Service for her national and international work with karst watersheds, and is a Fellow of the National Speleological Society.

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 Last Modified 11/18/22