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 Post subject: Reality show to document Caving
PostPosted: Mon Aug 18, 2008 4:15 pm 
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Location: Above the Sterling Hill Mine
They call him 'Caveman'

Randolph filmmaker to capture his passion, and mission

Daily Record • August 11, 2008
Matt Manochio


Wayne Russell knows a thing about caving. Just don't call it spelunking.

"Cavers end up rescuing spelunkers," said the 48-year-old Wantage resident who's been caving for 16 years and is known by some as "the caveman."

Russell also is used to being around moviemaking crews. He's advised studios which caves to use in films that featured them, such as "Zoolander" and "Kinsey."

Now he's going to be in front of the camera along with his fiancée and fellow caver Julie Roselius, 51, of Kinnelon. Their caving exploits will be chronicled for an entire year by documentary filmmaker Jim Nussbaum, executive producer at Randolph-based Galileo Productions.

"When they're not caving, most of the time you'll find them exploring, looking for caves," Nussbaum said of his two subjects.

Nussbaum said he wants to raise both awareness of caving in general and a mysterious disease that is killing migratory bats. He expects to complete his film in time for "The Benefit for Caves Concert" at Widow Jane Mine on Aug. 8, 2009, in Rosendale, N.Y.

The film not only aims to teach those unfamiliar with caving exactly what it entails, but will look at cave preservation and White Nose Syndrome, which is decimating the migratory bat population.

"Thousands of bats were found dead around the caves where they usually hibernate," Nussbaum said of one instance in New York. Other cases have been found in New Jersey, Vermont, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania.

"They believe it's due to a fungus," Nussbaum said of the disease which forms a ring around the bat's nose.

"We were photographing at the Hibernia Mine, (looking for) bats ascending out of caves," Nussbaum said. "We only found one bat."

Nussbaum said White Nose Syndrome could have been introduced by man coming into caves or spreading bacteria or pesticides.

Russell said people can misunderstand bats, which they might encounter within a cave -- or even in their own house.

"Your first thought shouldn't be to try to kill them," he said. "Turn off your lights, and open a window."

Russell said his caving started out as a curiosity.

"I always wanted to see a cave," he said. "I had this little thing inside me that wanted to see one. But back in those days there was no outlet for it. Today there's the Internet."

Russell, vice president of the Tri-State Speleological Society, said he's pleased to be taking part in a project that has the aim of teaching the hobby.

"It's a good idea because it will give insight to the common people who all of a sudden one day say, 'Gee, I'd like to go see a cave.'"

But Russell doesn't want people to go caving without realizing first that they very well might be trespassing, depending on where they go. Often, cavers scout out landowners and ask permission first. Cavers also are cognizant not to take things from caves, or leave things behind.

"It's the trespassing that those people are doing that is affecting everything else," he said.

Russell's group, for instance, volunteers to care for and preserve caves that property owners cannot.

"Especially here in New Jersey, which is a very cave-poor state, it's not something that too many people in this area think about much," Roselius said. Pennsylvania, New York and West Virginia have a much better selection of caves, she said.

"It took a couple of times to get used to having a camera around," she said of the documentary.

Still, Roselius, whose father was a caver before her, is on board.

"I'd like them to learn something about caves," she said about the film's potential audience. "Maybe people think they're scary and dark," she said. "They're actually pretty nice when you put the lights on."

Russell agreed, citing the life and scenery within a cave.

"In a lot of respects some of them are absolutely gorgeous, that's what gets me," he said.

People cave for fun, or for sport to explore, he said. Cavers who call themselves Diggers and Rock Eaters are constantly on the lookout for new locations.

"Cave exploring is very close to hiking on the surface, but it's underground with a light," Russell said.

Nussbaum's documentary will follow the day-to-day activities of the cavers, wherever they go.

"What I'm trying to do with this is reality-TV oriented," Nussbaum said. "The primary focus is going out and finding experts who will educate us."

Matt Manochio can be reached at (973) 428-6627 or mmanochi@gannett.com.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 18, 2008 4:19 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jun 20, 2005 11:33 pm
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Location: Above the Sterling Hill Mine
The mentioned a mine in Rosendale and also Hibernia Mine. I doubt they will features these in their series, but you never know. It is always possible if peserving bats is a partial objective of this filming. Many of the mines we have visited do have a big bat population. Bats do need some way of being protected and thus an awareness of the bat population in mines could also serve as a way to protect the mines.

Miner Greg


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