Posts Tagged ‘travel’

Breaking Language Barriers at Lost River Cave

Walk into the Gift Shop at Lost River Cave on any Saturday during June, July or August, and you will likel meet visitors not only from all over the United States, but also from across the world.

Veteran tour guide Alex Morris had a memorable international moment at Lost River Cave this week. Alex, who’s studied Spanish for the past two years and experienced it firsthand while traveling abroad in Mexico and Guatemala, welcomed two visitors from Spain as they dropped by the cave to see what the underground boat tour was all about. Below is a photo of Alex and her new friend, Nacho, in front of Wildflower Gifts.

Alex communicated with the Spaniards almost entirely in Spanish. She learned they were driving a rented car through the United States and were en route to Nashville and then Raleigh.

While Alex and the rest of the employees at Lost River Cave wouldn’t consider themselves bilingual, they all understand the importance of welcoming multicultural and international visitors and overcoming language barriers.

Anne Michelle Reynolds has worked at Lost River Cave since the beginning of this summer, and occasionally she’s encountered language barriers when communicating with deaf people.

“The most important thing is to be direct, and to use your hands to emphasize,” Anne Michelle said.  “It’s also important to try to be friendly and understanding.”

Cashier Jessica Paull said European languages are frequently spoken, and the cave also gets a lot of visitors from Asia.

“I think I’ve probably seen someone from every culture around the world,” Jessica said.

Alex tries to be inquisitive and still polite to every visitor she meets. She stressed that, as a tour guide, it is important not only to share information to visitors, but also to listen to what other visitors have to say.

“They were really friendly,” Alex said of her new friends from Spain. “Even though the staff picks on me for running off Spanish speakers (because I’m so excited to speak to them), I find that usually when you offer a few words to someone in their native language, they open up to you and are happy you are trying to communicate, even if you do have to ask them to slow down or repeat themselves.”

“I am pretty sure Lost River Cave left them with a good impression,” Alex said of her new acquaintances. “After we chatted in Spanish, they told me in English that they would always remember Kentucky for its hospitality.”

Thousands of visitors pass through Lost River Cave throughout the year for all kinds of different reasons, from celebrating a wedding to walking the nature trails.

“Whether you’re from Kentucky or Cambodia, we want you to feel welcome at Lost River Cave,” said Lost River Cave’s Executive Director Rho Lansden.

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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: 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.

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.

8th Annual Earth Day Invasive Plant Pull

It’s time to root out and destroy pesky plant invaders with at the 8th Annual Invasive Plant Pull!  In celebration of Earth Day, Lost River Cave and Valley invites you to spend an afternoon to help re-invigorate the valley floor, on Saturday, April, 23th from 1:00PM – 4:00PM. Bring your entire family and join other community members as they band together in an attempt to eradicate invasive plants from the Lost River Valley.

Pre-register so we can plan a plant plot for you to help pull pesky plants from the valley. Early-bird registrants will receive free Invasive Plant Pull t-shirts, Free Boat Tours, Door Prizes, and Gift Shop Discounts.  Volunteers can pre-register by visiting us online at http://www.lostrivercave.com to download the application. Applications can also be picked up at Lost River Cave and Valley located at 2818 Nashville Road in Bowling Green, KY or calling us at 270-393-0077.

The Invasive Plant Pull is an annual event at Lost River Cave & Valley offering individuals a chance to gain volunteer experience while teaching you to detect invasive plant species wherever you see them. With your help Lost River will one day be rid of the pesky sprouts that run rampantly over the 25-acre valley floor. Clearing plants like winter creeper and privet is easy work that provides much needed elbow room for our long suffering native plants. Your handiwork will be rewarded when you see that sunshine, rain and nutrients are helping to re-invigorate the forest floor with a carpet of ferns and native flowers that provide food and shelter for the valley’s native and migrating animals.

 

FRIENDS OF LOST RIVER is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. The organization is committed to environmental education, community building, and natural resource preservation. Lost River Cave has been visited by travelers from all over the world who come to experience Kentucky’s Only Underground Boat Tour.