Fall 2021 Election Candidates
I entered my first wild cave in Terrero New Mexico around the mid 1970’s. I’ve explored storm water drain pipes leading to the Buffalo Bayou in Houston. But it was around the early 1980’s in Tucson Arizona that I was taken to a number of spectacular caves and met some great cavers. I’ve been hooked ever since.
I have been a Bexar Grotto member since 1987 and held many officer positions. I have a NSS 30 year pin sitting on my desk. I’ve been both Chairman and Vice-Chairman of TSA. Currently, I am assisting Tom Rogers with managing TCMA Deep and Punkin Caves. I recognize and appreciate the efforts of all volunteers with the caving community. I enjoy helping where I can.
Yes, caving is fun and adventurous. I’ve developed a deep appreciation for the geologic and other forces that can create such beautiful places. I want to see the places preserved for future generations to explore and study. Yet it has always been the cavers that has kept me volunteering again and again. As a group, y’all are nuts and I love ya. Your passion for whatever drives you underground is contagious. I want to take on a larger role within the Texas caving community and be a passionate participant and help cavers preserve and protect Texas caves. This is the reason I am running for a position on the TCMA Board of Directors.
I have seen TCMA change and grow over these many years. TCMA always needs engaged proactive Board members. Should I be elected, I will of course fulfil my duties to attend meetings, help with the administration of the organization and keep focus on core mission. But I want to bring some of my experiences and qualities to the table. The following are just some of my goals as a board member.
I want TCMA to continue to grow into an organization that people are proud to be a part of. Membership and volunteer participation should not be onerous, but bring a feeling of satisfaction from the efforts given.
I want the fiscal balance sheet to be larger when my term is over. TCMA has considerable real estate and pecuniary assets that must be protected and managed with a great deal of care, commitment and an understanding of just how much effort it took to acquire such assets. Yet, I believe some real estate assets no longer fit within core mission and consideration should be given as to their liquidation and re-distribution.
I want to support the officers in achieving their goals and running TCMA in an ethical and legal manner, building consensus among the other Board members and active volunteers, and staying true to the core mission.
I want TCMA to use it’s organizational power and assets to encourage the study of cave science and other related sciences and inform members of the results. Why are there not more science projects within the caves TCMA owns?
I am seeking re-election to the TCMA Board of Directors. I am a current Board Member and am active and well informed in the discussions about the issues facing the TCMA. In the past, I served for 2 consecutive terms and served as President of the Organization for 4 years. After a 3-year break, I returned to the Board and am eligible to serve a second term. My background as a caver is extensive, I started caving in college at Texas A&M with the Aggie Speleological Society. After graduation, I joined the DFW Grotto and spent many years caving in Texas, New Mexico, Arkansas, and Oklahoma with a few trips to Mexico. Along the way, I spent a few years in Chicago caving with the Windy City Grotto. Lately, I have caved mainly in Southern Oklahoma.
In “real life”, I am an Architect. I design many building types, but my specialty is the design of educational projects using a community-based consensus process to engage communities in the design of essential community facilities.
What I think the TCMA should be doing:
1. Our members are the heartbeat of the organization. I believe the TCMA needs to create member engagement with the organization by creating activity beyond the traditional Texas Caving Community Events. These activities could include Preserve Open Houses, quarterly Members Meetings, or trips to well-known Texas Caves.
2. Our Preserves are our greatest asset. I believe the TCMA should explore using our Preserves to facilitate other uses. As an example, in the past, Bird watching groups have visited D/P Preserve. This alternative usage has resulted in significant donations to our organization. The TCMA should evaluate other suitable uses that may align with our values, vision, and mission. Perhaps creating other types of use-based membership could drive membership, value and engagement with the organization.
3. I believe the TCMA should explore and actively use other strategies for securing cave access. Other cave preservation organizations have used lease agreements and conservation easements to secure access. For significant caves that we cannot afford to acquire, a lease-based access agreement could be away for us to secure access.
4. I believe the TCMA should consider by-law revision to create an organizational structure that anticipates our Vision for the Organization. These revisions should be based on a sound Strategic Plan, that looks ahead 5, 10 and 20 years. This plan should created by a consensus based process that involves our Board & Leadership and the Members of the TCMA.
5. I believe the TCMA should look for opportunities to acquire or secure access to caves beyond our current State and National borders. I ask that you consider voting to return me to the Board for another 3 year term.
I am the current president of the UT Grotto, TSS Director, TCMA preserve manager, and I am currently employed. I am a cave restoration contractor and employee of 4Caves Institute. I spend time on and off the clock finding, restoring, researching, and managing caves in central Texas.
I’d like to contribute to the TCMA’s efforts in fundraising, education, and cave preservation. I’d like to use the Williamson county Cave Days of years past as an example for familiarizing the local public about their neighborhood caves in exchange for donations. As its new preserve manager, I intend to do this with Avery Ranch, and I’d like to encourage more focus on the caves in the urban corridor, especially those that may be offered freely by their respective owners. The TCMA manages caves, and I believe caves should be judged on their potential value underneath the ground, not on the size or utility of the property above.
Cruz St. Peter
I currently serve on the TCMA board, finishing up a term for Trevor McClymont for the past year. Since my tenure on the board has been so brief, I’m eager to continue serving for a full term. My current goal on the board is to assist in updating the TCMA membership database to a modern, future-proof system.
I’ve been an active caver for over a decade. I quickly fell in love with the underground world and the wonderful people in the caving community. I joined the Greater Houston Grotto in 2015, where I have served as Chair for the past two years. I am an active project caver who has participated in several expedition projects including Sistema Chevé, Proyecto Espeleológico Purificación, and the Silvertip System in Montana. Additionally, I have volunteered a significant amount of my free time toward cave wildlife conservation; assisting with several White-nose syndrome research projects in Texas and Mexico.
TCMA has a large presence in San Antonio and Austin, but not much in eastern Texas. As a member of the TCMA board, I have worked hard to educate the Houston community on cave conservation and safe caving practices, expanding TCMA’s visibility and membership beyond the Texas Hill Country.
I currently serve as a Project Manager for a clinical diagnostic lab that has been instrumental in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. My background in environmental science and my professional life in industry research have honed my skills in networking, technical writing, and navigating funding opportunities. My track record of leadership, and commitment to cave exploration and conservation make me a qualified candidate to continue serving on the TCMA board.