Contact Louise Hose at (505) 234-5561, Fax (505) 887-3051

Carlsbad, N.M., April 12, 2004 —The Carlsbad based National Cave and Karst Research Institute has taken another major step forward in its development with the addition of a new Visiting Chief Scientist. Dr. Thomas Strong, Ph.D. joins the Institute, bringing expertise in cave science research, biology and resource management.

“Tom is a terrific addition to the Institute,” said Louise Hose, the Institute Director. “He brings skills and expertise that that will help us grow the institute, facilitate research, and attract new partners.” She explained the Visiting Chief Scientist’s main role will be in program development. He will conduct research on cave and karst issues, act as a resource to land managers, and assist in the Institute’s outreach and education programs.

Dr. Strong holds a Ph.D. in Biology from the University of Colorado, Boulder. He also earned an M.S. and a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Arizona, Tucson. He most recently worked as a project biologist with the Environmental Planning Group in Tucson, AZ. There he was responsible for preparing biological assessments for endangered species and environmental documents for energy production and transmission projects.

“My interest in the world of speleology and cave and karst sciences goes back a long way,” noted Dr. Strong. “I’ve been involved in the exploration, mapping, and study of caves since 1965, primarily in the western United States. This job is a great opportunity for me to blend my biological and caving backgrounds into a position that can benefit the National Cave and Karst Institute and all its partners.”

Currently the Institute is housed in the Carlsbad Environmental Monitoring and Research Center located on the New Mexico State University’s Carlsbad Campus. A $4.2 million dollar headquarters building is in design and groundbreaking for the two-story, 24,000 square foot building is anticipated this summer. The facility will be located in the City of Carlsbad’s Cascades project located between downtown and the Pecos River.

The City of Carlsbad, the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology (New Mexico Tech) and the National Park Service (NPS) signed a Memorandum of Understanding in January 2003 that provides coordination among the three entities to facilitate the development and management of the National Cave and Karst Research Institute. The NPS has the leading role in establishing the Institute and provides nearly half of the funding and most of the current staff support. The NPS also offers internationally recognized expertise in cave and karst stewardship policies and needs.

The City of Carlsbad has provided advocacy and secured funding for NCKRI. They are responsible for managing the design and construction of the Institute’s headquarters building in consultation with the other primary partners. New Mexico Tech supplies the academic and research foundation for NCKRI. The State of New Mexico contributes NCKRI operating funds through New Mexico Tech. Currently, New Mexico Tech provides two full-time staff positions to the Institute, including Dr. Strong.

The National Cave and Karst Research Institute was created by an Act of Congress in 1998 to further the research, education, and wise management of cave/karst formations throughout the United States and around the world. While the National Park Service was designated as the lead agency for establishing the organization, the Institute is a diverse entity comprised of a broad base of partners from academia, the caving community and federal land management agencies.

For more information, please contact, Louise Hose at (505) 234-5561 or Thomas Strong at (505) 234-5553.