To download the survey reports of Grotte de Marie Jeanne carried out by the Hoffman Institute please click here.

Hoffman Institute Consults On Cave Development In Haiti

September 10th, 2007

Bowling Green, Ky. - A team from Western Kentucky University’s Hoffman Environmental Research Institute spent the first week of September in Haiti on a cave consulting mission at the request of the Haitian government.

Hoffman Institute assistant director Pat Kambesis and adjunct associate Mike Lace visited Haiti to conduct an assessment of a cave in Port a Piment, a small town on the south coast of the country. Kambesis and Lace worked with representatives from the Haitian Ministry of Tourism to determine if the cave had potential for commercial development.

The cave, Grotte de Marie-Jeanne, proved to have excellent potential for development, with its jungle-filled skylight entrances, impressive speleothems and multiple level layout. The team also discovered archeological evidence of Taino Indian use of the cave.

A preliminary survey was initiated to serve as a base map, and an inventory of other cave and karst features of the area was compiled during the five-day reconnaissance. These will be compiled into a report, along with conservation, safety and development recommendations, to be submitted to the Haitian Ministry of Tourism in support of a much larger project to establish infrastructure for a tourist industry along the country’s south coast.

“The global reach of the department’s research projects is impressive,” said Dr. David Keeling, head of WKU’s Department of Geography and Geology. “From consulting projects like these in Haiti, to ongoing research in Puerto Rico, Colombia, China, Chile and Botswana, among other locations, the department’s faculty and students are contributing in significant ways to building WKU’s reputation as a leading American university with international reach.”

The Hoffman Environmental Research Institute ( is part of WKU’s Applied Research and Technology Program within Ogden College of Science and Engineering.

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