- Written by Patricia Hutchison
- Hits: 99
Troop 1146 - a group of enthusiastic Girl Scouts - along with some members of their families arrived at Mastodon State Park, ready and eager to learn about Geocaching. Their attention was immediately focused on the two boxes of materials sitting on the picnic table, and they were already asking questions as they took their seats on the benches.
Fourteen kids and eight adults listened with interest as How-D explained about GPS units, satellites and how the technologies work to make geocaching possible. When the various cache containers were introduced, the students were amazed at the possibilities. They were most impressed with the natural wooden containers, split logs with a small plastic insert for the log sheet.
After the presentation, Breezy406 assisted How-D in passing out the GPS units to the Girl Scouts, then led them in search of the lone physical cache in the park, GC6RCRD Walking With Critters V.2. The unique container elicited squeals, but one of the girls bravely picked it up and all those who wanted to do so signed the log sheet. With the cache replaced, the troop returned to the parking lot for a final photo before the rain started.
- Written by Patricia Hutchison
- Hits: 314
While it’s always a great time to practice CITO (Cache In, Trash Out), April brings with it lots of opportunities with Earth Day and Groundspeak’s practice of issuing a special souvenir for attending and participating in special CITO events. This year, there were three CITO events in the St. Louis area: two hosted by brantole and one hosted by Hobbit Taz.
The first one scheduled, Spring Cleaning at Fort Belle Fontaine, was held at…, well, Fort Belle Fontaine in north St. Louis. It was attended by about two dozen volunteers, cachers and non-cachers alike. In addition to providing water and snacks for the workers, brantole also held a drawing with a CITO coin for the prize. BaldEagle45 was the lucky winner and received his coin by mail within a few days.
The second CITO, Spring Cleaning at Columbia Bottom, was held at – you guessed it! – Columbia Bottom Conservation Area. Sixteen volunteers posted their “Attended” logs for this CITO, which was cosponsored by The Missouri Department of Conservation. MDC provided equipment to aid in the cleaning up of trash and debris left by floodwaters. As an additional incentive, they also provided lunch, consisting of sausage and chicken jambalaya, Dutch oven veggies, a pear cobbler and a giant cookie.
For this event, brantole drew CuriousGEOrge3’s name as the winner for the CITO coin. Two other names had been drawn previously, but both had declined to accept the prize.
The third CITO, Imperial Crown Pet Cemetery, was… I think you see where this is going... to be held in Florissant. Unfortunately, due to the severe weather, the event was canceled. Cemetery officials determined that between the lightning – which made it dangerous to use the metal tools – and the heavy ground saturation – which could result in additional damage to the cemetery – it would be best to postpone the CITO efforts until the following Saturday. The winner of the third CITO’s coin was Luckycharmer.
Geocachers don’t have to wait for a formal event to CITO, however. It’s always good policy to practice CITO when you’re out in the field. Whether it’s pulling a sopping log out of a cache and replacing it with a fresh one, or picking up a bottle or can off the trail, geocachers can make a positive impact on our environment every time they go out. Consider packing a small plastic grocery sack in your TOTT bag and you’ll always have a trash bag with you.
For more information on CITOs, please visit: https://www.geocaching.com/cito/
- Written by From AOL News
- Hits: 387
From AOL.com News
As the warm summer months draw dangerously near, experts have started warning the public about a tick-borne virus on the rise that can
have much deadlier consequences than Lyme disease.
The Powassan virus (POW) is a rare but serious disease that can be spread to humans by infected ticks quickly after the initial bite.
For comparison, while it takes a tick carrying Lyme disease nearly 24 hours to pass the infection on to a human host, a tick with POW can transfer the virus in as little as 15 minutes.
Once a human has contracted the disease, POW can cause severe inflammation of the brain and the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord.
Due to the severe neurological impact of the disease, about 10 percent of all POW cases are fatal, with about 50 percent of cases resulting in permanent brain damage.
According to the CDC, only 75 cases of POW have been reported in the United States over the past 10 years, with most occurring in the northeastern and Great Lakes regions of the United States during the late spring, early summer and mid-fall when ticks are most active.
Although that may seem like a pretty limited scope, experts remain on high alert, considering summer 2017 has already been declared an especially bad season for ticks due to the mild winter and growing deer and mice populations.
"The bottom line is that we should be very scared of it because nobody is safe from it," said Dr. Jennifer Lyons, chief of the division of neurological and inflammatory diseases at the Brigham and Women's Hospital.
As there is currently no vaccine or cure for POW, the CDC recommends taking preventative measures to avoid contracting the potentially deadly virus, such as avoiding wooded and bushy areas and using insect repellent.
It also recommends conducting full-body tick checks after returning from such areas, and trying to remove any ticks immediately before they have a chance to bite..
- Written by Patricia Hutchison
- Hits: 630
Walkingstic-Stl with her group.
The forecast of a rainy day didn’t keep a dozen SLAGA members from volunteering their time to go to Dardenne Prairie to teach American Heritage Girls (AHG) Troop MO3130 about geocaching. March 25, 2017 was expected to be soggy at best and stormy at worst, with the heaviest rain supposed to hit between one and three p.m. – at the exact time of the AHG Father/Daughter event.
Sharon Samson of the AHG contacted SLAGA in January to request assistance in teaching geocaching to their troop so they could earn their badges. Several SLAGA members had previous experience in doing this with other organizations, but this one would be the largest class size our group has taken on for a single session, with the event being open to about 80 girls and their dads.
After extensive communication between SLAGA and AHG, How-D reached out to several seasoned geocaching trainers to request help. In all, a dozen SLAGA members volunteered their time and efforts, contributing to a successful event.
While the main focus was centered on geocaching in the field, there were also two lectures for those who needed to fulfill additional requirements for their badges. Eravau spoke about geocache publication, while Jamrok Shake answered questions about her job with the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency.
Most of the caches were typical traditionals, with the students simply able to follow their GPS units to the coordinates and hunt for the container, but there were also a multi and a puzzle cache, both of which proved popular. TerriBikes+ created a Bible-based puzzle that led those who solved it to a micro on a fence. Two of the cache containers were large ones with SWAG, some provided by AHG and some donated by TerriBikes+. To expedite matters, instead of having the finders sign logsheets, each cache contained a three-letter code which the girls recorded on a sheet of paper, then turned in for SWAG at the end of the event.
Several of the dads brought along their own GPSes, which allowed the students to see the variety of types available, but each got to handle and use the SLAGA-provided units. Many of the girls picked up on how to use them quickly. In the case of Spiritwolf922’s group of five students, each was able to be the GPS handler three times. By the second round, they were already confident enough to go through the steps of searching for the next cache and setting up the compass to lead them to it. During the session outside, the instructors were able to give more information than was covered in the lecture portion, including CITO demonstration and answering all manner of pop-up questions.
The rains had held off until about three o’clock, at which time it poured for about ten minutes, causing groups that were still in the field to flee back indoors. By then, the event was winding down and the girls and their dads were packing up their things, visiting with the troop leaders or asking more questions of the SLAGA members. Both groups agreed that the event was a success.
Thanks to the following SLAGA members who took on this challenge: How-D, eravau, JamrokShake, walkingstic-stl, nan-d1955, GeoConformity, buffettmo, 2_cats, Mixed Breed, Aunt Dot, TerriBikes+ and Spiritwolf922.
Where can it be?
TerriBikes+ observing her group making the find.
What's the code?
Their first LPC!
It's starting to get cloudy again.
- Written by SLAGA
- Hits: 739
Confluence Trash Bash
Saturday, March 18, 2017 8:00am til 1:00pm
Confluence Trash Bash is the annual clean-up in North St Louis and North St Louis County.
All are welcome, no experience required! Individual volunteers, civic groups and youth organizations are encouraged to attend.
|Please dress appropriately for working outside and current weather conditions. Be prepared to get wet and muddy.||Click to view flyer|
- Written by Patricia Hutchison
- Hits: 452
Continuing in its tradition of educating new geocachers, SLAGA VP How-D, with the help of other SLAGA members, introduced Cub Scout Pack 499 to the activity on Saturday, February 4, 2017.
In late November, 2016, Den Leader Larry Willick contacted SLAGA to request a class in geocaching for his Cub Scout Pack. Six scouts and their parents attended the class, held at the Grand Glaize branch of the St. Louis County Library in Manchester, MO. How-D (Bill Lange) spoke to the students for about an hour, covering the basics while illustrating his commentary with samples of cache containers and trackable items.
GPS units were distributed to Pack members and parents alike, so that everyone could have a hands-on experience. After a brief demonstration with the units, Walkingstic-stl (Nancy Gelb) and GeoConformity (Rick Rouse) led the class into the library’s parking lot, where there happened to be a published cache – SLCL: The Hobbit 5 – Riddles in the Dark (GC4KR92) – on site. The Pack followed their GPSes to the cache pretty quickly, where they made the grab and signed in, while checking out the contents of the container. After replacing the cache for the next seeker to find, How-D used the picking up of the trash in the area to demonstrate the geocaching practice of CITO. Then the group moved to Queeny Park where they hunted both temporary and permanent caches. The students were able to not just sign in on the logs, but could trade items from their swag bags as well. The activity proved to be very popular with the Cub Scouts.
Cub Scout Pack 499 in the field.
As the class ended, several of the attendees indicated that they would be interested in doing more geocaching in the future. All were encouraged to check out the SLAGA website for more information and to become involved in geocaching by attending upcoming events.
Groups interested in learning more or requesting classes should contact SLAGA. Because training sessions are led by volunteers, it is best to submit inquiries as soon as possible to ensure someone is available during the timeframe requested.
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