Posts Tagged ‘tourism’

Employee Spotlight: Kathy Kontio

Summer is the busiest season at Lost River Cave, and we can’t say thank you enough to the staff for their hard work. Lost River Cave recognizes wonderful individuals who keep us afloat, from tour guides to cashiers to maintenance.

Kathy Kontio is originally from Bowling Green and graduated from Michigan Tech with a Bachelor’s in Ecology. After college, she had bird field jobs in various states. Kathy has worked with endangered birds like the California Condor and the Piping Plover. She was in AmeriCorps for two years in New York State where she started working in environmental education. Kathy started working as a tour guide for Lost River Cave this summer.   

Q & A with Kathy

What originally brought you to Lost River Cave?  Well, I’m from Bowling Green, and I saw a job opening and it’s the perfect place; are you kidding me?!

How is Lost River Cave different from any other employer you’ve ever had?  Well I get to drive a boat in a cave, and that’s pretty sweet.

Have your thoughts on caves or nature changed at all since you’ve been here? It has strengthened my realization that I want to stay in the Ecology field for a career.  

Have you had any memorable visitors during your time working here? I had someone from Holland on my tour, but no famous people or anything as far as I know.  

What do you think the WORST corny cave joke is? “Oh I see you left some people at the dam for me to pick up.” (One boat driver says to the other boat driver in the cave.)

Have you had much opportunity to travel, if so where to? Or, where would you like to go? I’ve travelled a lot to go to different places for work in the United States.  I’d like to go to New Zealand and Europe.

For visitors reading this, do you have any recommendation for where to tour/eat/explore in the Bowling Green area or all of Kentucky?  I did the zip-lining at Mega Caverns in Louisville; it’s the only underground zip line in the world. It’s totally worth it.   

Any last words of wisdom for your visitors reading this? We’ll get to the cave eventually.

Employee Spotlight: Blake Garrison

Summer is the busiest season at Lost River Cave, and we can’t say thank you enough to the staff for their hard work. Lost River Cave recognizes wonderful individuals who keep us afloat, from tour guides to cashiers to maintenance.

Blake Garrison is originally from right here in Bowling Green.  He is a film major at Western Kentucky University, and he will be graduating next spring.  He started working as a tour guide at Lost River Cave this summer.

Q &A with Blake

What originally brought you to Lost River Cave? Well I heard about the job opportunity as a tour guide, and it just sounded like an exciting interesting thing to do over the summer. I could meet a lot of interesting people in the tour industry and teach them something.

 How is Lost River Cave different from any other employer you’ve ever had? Where to begin? Well it’s enjoyable first of all. When I’m here it doesn’t really feel like a job most of the time. It’s a fun job with fun people.

 
Have your thoughts on caves or nature changed at all since you’ve been here? I’ve definitely learned a lot more about caves and cave systems. As far as my thoughts on nature in general, it’s always been my opinion that people should learn about it and enjoy it.

 
Have you had any memorable visitors during your time working here?
There was a mother and son from Lithuania, and they were memorable because I was able to relate to them because I visited Lithuania last summer. It was a “small world” situation.

What do you think the WORST corny cave joke is? I heard a joke during my interview, I’ve never told it, but it’s the pillars joke. “Stalactites hold tight to the ceiling, stalagmites might grow up and touch the ceiling. A stalactite and stalagmites grow together they form a column or a pillar, but you know we are in Kentucky, so we call them columns because we all sleep on our pillars.”  

Have you had much opportunity to travel, if so where to? Or, where would you like to go? I have had an opportunity to travel. Last summer I took a driving trip from Beijing, China across Asia and Europe all the way to Paris, France. It was a lot more intense than I thought it would be going into it, but it was a great experience. I think everyone should try to travel more. I’ve always wanted to go to Australia and New Zealand. 

For visitors reading this, do you have any recommendation for where to tour/eat/explore in the Bowling Green area or all of Kentucky? I’ll start with Bowling Green: my food recommendations in Bowling Green would either be Mellow Mushroom or Buckhead Café. One of my favorite places to go which is close to Bowling Green is Land Between The Lakes. If you’re down for a trip, you can just get all your gear and just camp out right on the side of the lake. It’s amazing.  

Any last words of wisdom for your visitors reading this? Enjoy yourself.

Employee Spotlight: Jessica Williams

Summer is the busiest season at Lost River Cave, and we can’t say thank you enough to the staff for their hard work. Lost River Cave recognizes wonderful individuals who keep us afloat, from tour guides to cashiers to maintenance.

This week Lost River Cave spotlights cashier, Jessica Williams. Jessica is originally from Campbellsville Kentucky. She came to Bowling Green to attend Western Kentucky University, and she will be student teaching next semester and graduating in May.

 Q & A with Jessica

What originally brought you to Lost River Cave? I actually had friends that worked here and they loved it; they knew I was into science and education and would love it here as well. I came as a guest to view the property and enjoy what there was to offer. As soon as I heard there was a job, I jumped on the opportunity. 

How is LRC different from any other employer you’ve ever had? Well I’ve never had to work with a school field trip before. I’ve been on school field trips, but I’ve never been on the receiving end. There’s a lot of volunteerism and community involvement at Lost River Cave, and I’ve never worked for a place that has the kind of community outreach with the kind of things we have going on.  

Have your thoughts on caves or nature changed at all since you’ve been here?  Well, I’ve always been an advocate for conservation and especially community education and making people aware and becoming more aware myself. Working here has provided me a personal opportunity to learn about caves, the environment where I live and different opportunities I have to improve it.

Have you had any memorable visitors during your time working here? There was a family from Louisiana with 11 kids.  It was like our own version of the show “Nineteen Kids and Counting,“ right here at Lost River Cave.  They were very well behaved, but it was very interesting to see that large of a family. All of the younger kids became junior tour guides, it was interesting.

What do you think the WORST corny cave joke is? What do you call a fish with no eyes?  A FSHHHH! 

Have you had much opportunity to travel, if so where to? Or, where would you like to go? I’ve never had the opportunity to travel outside of the United States, and I look forward to whatever opportunity presents it. One of the career options I might consider in the future is on to teach abroad. I’m game for anything.

For visitors reading this do you have any recommendation for where to tour/eat/explore in the Bowling Green area or all of Kentucky? In Bowling Green, eat at Home! It’s so conveniently located,and it really does support our local community. It’s a local restaurant using local food and local artisan-made products in the community. Eat the ham and cheese and the French onion soup! In terms of exploring Kentucky, I love the zoo. If you are going north in the state, check out the Louisville zoo, or if you’re heading south, the Nashville Zoo is fantastic.

Any last words of wisdom for your visitors reading this? The cave maintains a standard temperature between 55 and 57 degrees.

 

Employee Spotlight: Curtis Epsey

Summer is Lost River Cave’s busiest season, and we can’t say thank you enough to the staff for their hard work. Lost River Cave recognizes the wonderful individuals who keep us afloat, from tour guides to cashiers to maintenance.     

Today Lost River Cave spotlights Curtis Epsey who is originally from Pennsylvania and just started working as a tour guide at Lost River Cave this summer.

Q&A with Curtis Espey

What originally brought you to Lost River Cave? I was just looking for a job, and while I was job hunting my mom told me of a random place she saw a job opening for online, so I came in and got an application.

How is Lost River Cave different from any other employer you’ve ever had? There’s a lot of freedom in the job. I get to be outside all the time while I’m doing tours, and I get to make my story a part of my tour.

Have your thoughts on caves or nature changed at all since you’ve been here? Not really. I’m a pretty outdoors-oriented person. I’ve been pretty environmentally aware, and being here promotes that.

Have you had any memorable visitors during your time working here?I’ve met a lot of newlywed couples, and they all seem to be from Colorado, no joke. I had a couple from Colorado this past weekend who really wished they’d known we rented out our dance floor because they would’ve had their wedding here at Lost River Cave. When they showed up they fell in love with the place. They were visiting Bowling Green on their honeymoon.

What do you think the WORST corny cave joke is? The sticktite joke. (Sticktites are what we call the stick debris that gets stuck to the ceiling of our cave and vaguely resembles stalactites.) 

Have you had much opportunity to travel, if so where to? Or, where would you like to go? I’ve not had the opportunity to travel. I’d really like to live in Colorado because I love being outside, and I love being able to snowboard and climb, and that’s a place you can do both. I’ve never been on a plane, and I’d love to travel and I don’t care where to.

For visitors reading this, do you have any recommendation for where to tour/eat/explore in the Bowling Green area or all of Kentucky: If you are in the Bowling Green area looking for food and you even vaguely like pizza, I suggest Lost River Pizza Co.  If you are in the Kentucky area and you like the outdoors, I suggest going to the Red River Gorge in East-Central Kentucky. It is great for being outside.  When you go, you better go eat at Miguel’s. It’s a pizza place.

Any last words of wisdom for your visitors reading this? Appreciate the beauty of the outside; it’s not often that we get to fully appreciate the outdoors because we are stuck inside so much as a culture. While you are here, take advantage of it.

Employee Spotlight: Jessica Paull

Summer is the busiest season at Lost River Cave, and we can’t say thank you enough to the staff for their hard work. Lost River Cave recognizes wonderful individuals who keep us afloat, from tour guides to cashiers to maintenance.

Jessica Paull first began working as a cashier at Lost River Cave last July. She is currently attending Western Kentucky University studying Sociology. Jessica is originally from Summer Shade, Kentucky.

Q & A with Jessica

What originally brought you to Lost River Cave? I moved up here for school, and it was close to where I lived, so I applied. It seemed interesting, so I applied and got the job.

How is Lost River  Cave different from any other employer you’ve ever had? Oh a lot.  It’s actually a fun job, a place you don’t care to come to every day. You meet all sorts of nice happy people. At my other job it was the opposite.

Have your thoughts on caves or nature changed at all since you’ve been here?  Greatly. Caves seem a lot more fun and interesting to me now, and I spend a lot more time outside in nature as well.
 
Have you had any memorable visitors during your time working here? Oh my goodness, there have been a lot! There is always the visitors that come from different countries, and there is a language barrier which is difficult to overcome. There was a lady the other day that was very memorable, she came to Lost River Cave when she was a Western student and helped clean out the garbage in the 1990s.  She came back and was absolutely amazed at what had become of Lost River Cave since then. She was so excited.

What do you think the WORST corny cave joke is? “What is the difference between a column and a pillar in the cave?  A column is when a stalactite and a stalagmite grow together.  A pillar is what we sleep on here in Kentucky.”

Have you had much opportunity to travel, if so, where to? Or, where would you like to go?
I’ve been to Mexico, and I learned that some Mexicans think of KFC when they think of Kentucky. As soon as I’d say I was from Kentucky they’d say “Oh, KFC?”  I would love to go to Bora Bora (a Caribbean island). It is absolutely gorgeous and you can rent huts over water for a night, and I think those are amazing. I’m sure you can do that everywhere, but I want to go to Bora Bora.

For visitors reading this, do you have any recommendation for where to tour/eat explore in the Bowling Green area or all of Kentucky? Chaney’s Dairy Barn, I love it.  I also love Montana Grille right here in Bowling Green, and also Lost River Pizza Co. which is right up the road!

Any last words of wisdom for your visitors reading this? While you are here you can always enjoy the dog park if you have a dog. It’s right at the end of our greenways trail. Your dogs can play with other dogs in a fenced in area. In my case I have a six-month-old pug, so she gets all of her energy out before we go home.

Employee Spotlight: Danny Dressler

Summer is the busiest season at Lost River Cave, and we can’t say thank you enough to the staff for their hard work. Lost River Cave recognizes wonderful individuals who keep us afloat, from tour guides to cashiers to maintenance.

Danny Dressler is originally from Elizabethtown, Kentucky, and he came to Bowling Green to attend Western Kentucky University.  He is currently studying Outdoor Recreation.  He is a supervisor, and he has now worked for almost a year as a tour guide at Lost River Cave.

Q &A with Danny Dressler

What originally brought you to Lost River Cave? I wanted a job that I could use as a reference for future positions in the outdoor recreation field.

How is Lost River Cave different from any other employer you’ve ever had? I have a lot more freedom. I get to display my personality in my work, and I get to do what I love to do (be outdoors) all day long.  

Have your thoughts on caves or nature changed at all since you’ve been here?  
Not really. I came in with a pretty nature-oriented mind; maybe working here has strengthened my conservation efforts.

Have you had any memorable visitors during your time working here?
I had some people from New Zealand come and take my tour, and it was pretty cool to see people from the complete opposite side of the world come see Lost River Cave. 

What do you think the WORST corny cave joke is? “What do you call a fish with no eyes? A FSH!”  

Have you had much opportunity to travel, if so where to? Or, where would you like to go? I’ve been to India in 2009 to do some journalism work, and I would love to travel to Southeast Asia.
 
For visitors reading this, do you have any recommendation for where to tour/eat/explore in the Bowling Green area or all of Kentucky? To eat there are lots of good places here. I would definitely recommend Mariah’s or Home Café. And while you are in the area, I would recommend checking out some of the other caves, particularly Mammoth Cave and Diamond Caverns. I would also recommend checking out Red River Gorge because there are a lot of outdoor activities like climbing, hiking and backpacking.

Any last words of wisdom for your visitors reading this? I would explore the backcountry roads as much as you can. Take the offbeat path.  

Employee Spotlight: Andrea Falcetto

Summer is the busiest season at Lost River Cave, and we can’t say thank you enough to the staff for their hard work. Lost River Cave recognizes wonderful individuals who keep us afloat, from tour guides to cashiers to maintenance.

Andrea Falcetto first started working at Lost River Cave in May 2010.  Andrea is currently getting her Master’s Degree in Biology and Sociology at Western Kentucky University, and she’s had the opportunity to travel to Kenya and South Africa to work in her field. She is a return Peace Corps Volunteer from Morocco, and she’s also travelled to other various countries all over the world. Andrea is originally from Kansas, and after she graduates she hopes to work for an international conservation organization.  Lost River Cave appreciates Andrea’s hard work as a tour guide, and we wish her the best of luck in her future endeavors.  

Q &A with Andrea Falcetto

What originally brought you to Lost River Cave?  During the school year I was teaching for the biology department, and I needed income for the summer. It was a good job for me because of my previous experience working in zoos and aquariums. Restaurants won’t hire a girl who works around fish.

How is Lost River Cave different from any other employer you’ve ever had? I grew up in Kansas. We don’t have caves in Kansas.  

Have your thoughts on caves or nature changed at all since you’ve been here? I would say I’ve learned more about caves, but I’ve always enjoyed working outside.
 
Have you had any memorable visitors during your time working here?  I made a joke about a cave monster being in the cave and the three year old on my tour started making ghost noises to scare away the cave monster. It happened the other day, and it was adorable.

What do you think the WORST corny cave joke is? “What do you call a deer with no eyes?  I’ve no ideer.” I worked here for three years, and I didn’t get the joke until three weeks ago.

Have you had much opportunity to travel, if so where to? Or, where would you like to go? I’ve travelled to six continents and would love to go to Antarctica, but the next place I want to visit is Greece. However, I am an opportunist, and I will go wherever the opportunity presents!

For visitors reading this, do you have any recommendation for where to tour/eat/explore in the Bowling Green area or all of Kentucky? In Bowling Green, Chaney’s Dairy Barn and the Corsair Distillery downtown. Also in Kentucky, the bourbon trail is amazing.

Any last words of wisdom for your visitors reading this? There really is a cave monster, don’t let them tell you otherwise!

Employee Spotlight: Chris Inman

Summer is the busiest season at Lost River Cave, and we can’t say thank you enough to the staff for their hard work. Lost River Cave recognizes wonderful individuals who keep us afloat, from tour guides to cashiers to maintenance.

Chris Inman is originally from Louisville, and he came to Bowling Green to attend Western Kentucky University.  Chris started working for Lost River Cave as a tour guide in January, and he graduated from WKU in May with a degree in communication.

What originally brought you to Lost River Cave? We were on a field trip for my Nonprofit Management Class, and we were pulling invasive plants at Lost River Cave. Naturalist Annie Holt introduced us to the park, and I was interested.  What really attracted me were the upcoming plans for the Outdoor Classroom. I wanted to work with kids, and I like the outdoors. I really liked giving third graders tours near the end of the school year; that was great.
 

How is LRC different from any other employer you’ve ever had?They want to see us excel at what we are good at, and it’s not just an unskilled job.

Have your thoughts on caves or nature changed at all since you’ve been here?  Yes, actually I just developed a new hobby I’m pretty excited about: pulling things out of nature, preparing them, cooking them and eating them.  I boiled cattail roots from the Wetland (when we were removing them anyway), I’ve had my first crawfish boil with crawfish caught at Boatlanding Park, and I go camping more often.  

Have you had any memorable visitors during your time working here?  I got to give a tour to Phillip Smith.  He has written several books, and he is also a caver. He is the one who discovered the “meat grinder,” a very thin passage that connects two very large cave systems. He actually has two books for sale in our gift shop.  He’s also a prominent member of Toastmasters, and he complimented me on my tour which is pretty awesome.

What do you think the WORST corny cave joke is? What’s the difference between a Northern Cave Fish and a Southern Cave Fish? The Southern Cave Fish drinks sugar in its tea. 

Have you had much opportunity to travel, if so where to, or where would you like to go?

I’ve been to Washington State; I saw their beaches that had giant whitewashed driftwood; I saw their enormous Redwood trees. I’ve been to Costa Rica and all along everything there is to see in the New England area.  I’ve been lots of places. The next place I want to go is probably New Zealand.

For visitors reading this, do you have any recommendation for where to tour/eat/explore in the Bowling Green area or all of Kentucky? Honestly, I think our nature trails are one of the coolest things in Bowling Green. 

Any last words of wisdom for your visitors reading this? Get away from the screens that we Americans have become obsessed with: Ipod, TV, computer, etc. Enjoy nature and face-to-face interactions with people.

Employee Spotlight: Bridget Roper

 

Bridget enjoys nature at Lost River Cave

Summer is the busiest season at Lost River Cave, and we can’t say thank you enough to the staff for their hard work. Lost River Cave recognizes wonderful individuals who keep us afloat, from tour guides to cashiers to maintenance.

Bridget Roper is originally from Bowling Green, and she currently attends Bowling Green Technical College where she is studying to be a nurse. Along with being a cashier, she also takes care of her 18-month old daughter. She started working at Lost River Cave this summer.

Q &A with Bridget

What originally brought you to Lost River Cave? It was in the newspaper to be honest. It sounded like fun. I didn’t want a stressful job on my break. 

How is Lost River Cave different from any other employer you’ve ever had? We all work together. Everywhere else I’ve worked, you are responsible for your tasks and that’s it. It’s taking some getting used to.
 
Have your thoughts on caves or nature changed at all since you’ve been here?  I’ve learned more. I’ve always enjoyed the outdoors, and now I’m learning things since I started working here. 
 
Have you had any memorable visitors during your time working here? All the visitors are memorable to me. I like when people come from all over and they say they enjoyed the tour; I feel good.

What do you think the WORST corny cave joke is? I’ve only been on one tour, and I can’t remember any of the jokes.  I’d lived here the majority of my life, I’d been here with my school, and the first time I took a tour was when I got hired. 

Have you had much opportunity to travel, if so where to? Or, where would you like to go? I’ve never traveled abroad; the furthest I’ve gone was Hawaii. It was beautiful. I would love to go to Australia.

 
For visitors reading this, do you have any recommendation for where to tour/eat/explore in the Bowling Green area or all of Kentucky? Home Café has lots of local farms’ produce and meat. A place with good walking trails and disk golf is Kereiakes Park   

Any last words of wisdom for your visitors reading this? For locals from Bowling Green: before I started working here, I didn’t realize that you could come and walk the Blue Hole Trail for free. It gives you exercise with something to look at also.  

Welcome new team members!

ImageThis week has been intense for our new summer tour guides and guest service employees. They are discovering the rich cultural history of the cave and valley area as well as the biology, geology and ecology that makes a visit to Lost River Cave an unique experience.

New team member Crys Smith noted, “There is so much to know about Lost River Cave… It’s not overwhelming, it is eye opening!”

New team member Sabir Khayaliyer was most excited about our vibrant ecology, but he didn’t fail to mention how good the Linzie’s sandwich was that we had for our welcome lunch.

“This is a fantastic team! We are blessed this year with confident, personable individuals who are sure to make this one of the best years Lost River Cave has ever had,” added Wildflower Gift’s Manager Sylvia Risher.

Our Executive Director Rho Lansden couldn’t have agreed more. She believes this team really has a grasp of our mission to restore, preserve and protect Lost River Cave. Lansden observed the team’s excitement about becoming part of the Lost River Cave culture.