Besides our biennial meetings, conservation activities comprise most of the Region's organized activity. We organize and participate in:
Acquisitions - We encourage our members to support the plethora of Cave Conservancies, who buy and/or manage caves in order to conserve them.
Biological Inventories - We survey caves to find out what creatures live where
Cave Bucks - an easy way to generate funds to buy caves.
Cave Gates - we have designed, built, or helped with the construction of gates on Allen's Cave, Baker Quarry Cave, Donaldson's Cave, Front Royal Caverns, Mt. Aetna Cave, Rapp's Cave, Siler's Cave, and many more
Sinkhole Cleanup Projects - Sinkholes are direct conduits from the earth's surface into underground aquifers. For too many years it was customary to throw trash, junk, old cars, and the occasional dead cow into the nearest sinkhole. The water leaching through the sinkhole goes directly into the water supply for nearby families. The Region has organized and assisted with many projects to remove old junk and debris from sinkholes, often partnering with government agencies for debris removal, directly improving the quality of water in local wells
Formation Repair and Vandalism Abatement: For caves where damage, either natural or by means of unacceptable human activity, we have the tools and techniques needed to repair formations to their former glory. Over the past 30 years, the VAR has been at work in Fountain Cave, where the damage is mostly natural, restoring over 500 formations over the years. Caves with easy access, like having a big entrance right next to a road (i.e. Island Ford) unfortunately suffer at the hands of less ethical visitors. We have frequent trips to clean up their trash, grafitti, and whatever else they have left behind or damaged.
Historical Documentation - A number of caves in the Region were visited by Civil War soldiers and prominent civilians alike, many of whom followed the (now banned) custom of signing their name on the cavern walls. Grand Caverns (Weyer's Cave) and Melrose Caverns are two prime examples. VAR cavers help document the signatures of these individuals and research the history of the caves and their visitors.
Landowner support projects - we support the landowners who support us. For example, New River Grotto helped a long-supportive farmer install a fence and gate around a sinkhole to keep his cows out.
Spring Mapping Project - The Region supports local efforts to map springs, which lets us understand where local water supplies come from, potential pollutants the water passes under, and occasionally even find the cave or conduit the water passes through.