Join Ranger Rick and His Pals on Their Geocaching Adventure
- Written by Denmother
- Hits: 3580
The National Wildlife Federation and Ranger Rick magazine want to encourage families to spend more time having fun in the great outdoors.
Ranger Rick’s Geocache Trails are a great new way to inspire curiosity and learning about the natural world, while providing the satisfaction of seeking and finding hidden “treasure.” The program is designed to be fun for first-time or experienced geocachers.
Geocache trails allow land managers to provide a well-rounded experience for the geocacher. Hosting a Ranger Rick’s Geocache Trail can help attract new audiences, connect people with nature, offer a new kind of adventure at your facility, and show off your property!
- Ranger Rick’s Geocache Trails contain either 3, 5, or 8 geocaches to be hidden around your property, for geocachers to find.
- Each geocache on your trail will have its own web page on geocaching.com.
- Before setting out for their adventure, kids and parents will download your trail's coordinates to a GPS unit or smartphone from geocaching.com. There they will also download a Ranger Rick’s passport. When geocachers find one of your caches, they will sign Ranger Rick’s log book, found inside. Each geocache also features a Ranger Rick mystery. Cachers are asked to solve the mystery by stamping their passport. Additional “More to Explore” activities are included in each cache, as well as opportunities for trading.
- Geocachers can fill their passports by finding all of the geocaches along your trail.
- At the end of the adventure, kids and parents will log on to geocaching.com, post their finds, and share their experiences. Answers to the mysteries can be found online at RangerRickTrails.com.
Find an existing trail near you...
Took Nothing Left Nothing, Thanks For The Cache
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By Chris Short
Abraham Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs appeared in 1954's "Motivation and Personality." In his preliminary study of the human psyche and the demands and desires for self-fulfillment, Maslow compartmentalized needs into five stages: biological/physiological, safety, belonging, esteem and self-actualization. If we start at the beginning of his pyramid by ensuring we have nutrition, shelter, sleep, etc., we are capable of addressing the "higher order" needs. And according to Maslow, destruction of the basic need fulfillment renders humans incapable of addressing their personal growth, status, or reputation. At the most basic explanation, when you can survive physically, you can focus on social order, spheres of influence, personal development and ultimately achieving self-realization.
We determine our self-worth based upon our achievements, status and social connections. Our hobbies and activities are often in direct response to the higher level "needs." And many times we seek altruistic expressions to fulfill a basic desire to support others with the lower "needs." But in this age of hyper-connectivity, our understanding of social connection is skewed by Tweets, Facebook status updates and SMS/text messaging. Thankfully, there are still opportunities to connect our hobbies with our need to be connected beyond sound bites or txt-ese messages: LOL, OMG! TTYL! OK, maybe there are some special terms and phrases that only geocachers understand, but we also talk like ol' fashioned folk.
This past March, geocachers from around the country -- and a few dedicated players from Canada -- gathered at Rend Lake for an event designated as the Midwest Open Geocaching Adventure, or MOGA. It is theoretically the world's largest weekend competition for individuals and teams. The "mega-event" spans three days, but it is far from simply being a marathon of finding geocaches. Maslow's Hierarchy is present at every level and in very distinct examples of the human condition. Imagine a Trekkie -- pardon me, Trekkers -- convention for people who like to find Tupperware in the woods. And it is themed. So imagine a Trekker convention for people who like to find Tupperware. Dressed as pirates.
The global community of geocachers is as diverse as any community. It spans a wide breadth of economic, education and intelligence factors. And it has a vast array of social acceptability and accessibility. There are the party animals, the social butterflies and the wall flowers. And they all dressed up as Captain Jack Sparrow or wenches. But it provides an opportunity for people who share a common bond -- Tupperware hunting -- to gather, share and enjoy community. Geocaching.com provides the sense of stability and order through the definition of the game and its guidelines. The venue ensured food and shelter. And the geocachers participate to establish their own higher needs: Comparing geocache hides? Gloating over numbers? Pride? A sense of learning from others?
MOGA only comes around once a year. In the meantime, local geocachers gather on a regular basis to talk shop, brag a little and enjoy each others' company in a celebration of sociocachephiltis: the love of social caching. Bring your ego, your sense of achievement, and your willingness to grow. We can't guarantee the cake.
X Marks the Spot
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Story by Avantika Khatri
Over the past three years, David Bassett has found more than 2,600 hidden containers using a GPS receiver. Locations for the hiding spots, known as geocaches, range from mountain peaks to libraries to underwater caves to lush forests.
Geocaching became possible May 2, 2000, when the U.S. government turned off selective availability for GPS. Until that point, the government altered the GPS satellite clock signals to skew GPS accuracy by 100 meters for unauthorized personnel. Today, more than 5 million people have joined the high-tech treasure hunt, hiding and searching for more than 1.4 million caches.
“I saw a T-shirt once, and it said, ‘I use billion-dollar government satellites to find Tupperware hidden in the woods,’ and that sums it up right there,” said Bassett, 49.
During a traditional geocache, a person hides a waterproof container containing a logbook and possibly small knickknacks and then enters the coordinates for the container’s location on a website. Other cachers enter the coordinates into their GPS receivers, and the search begins.
Although there are many websites for recording caches, the main one is www.geocaching.com, which Bassett describes as “the Walmart of geocaching.”
Each cache provides Bassett an opportunity to explore new areas. Although he has lived in Boone County for a long time and says he is familiar with the area, Bassett regularly discovers new things because of where other people hide their caches. In Cuba, Mo., for instance, he discovered a waterfall and a dog-racing track — things he never expected to find.
These hiding spots also create opportunities for new experiences.
“I’ve rappelled. I’d never rappelled before in my life, but I’d gone to get a geocache just a couple of weeks ago, as a matter of fact, and we rappelled over a 125-foot cliff,” Bassett said.
Read the entire article at columbiatribune.com...
Geocaching at the World Bird Sanctuary
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Submitted by Catherine Redfern, World Bird Sanctuary Naturalist/Fundraiser
Did you know you can go geocaching at World Bird Sanctuary?
We didn't. But you can. So we decided to find out more about it!
Young guests learning about geocaching at a
recent WBS National Trails Day event
Tom Wolpert from the St. Louis Area Geogachers Association tells us what it's all about.
"Geocaching is a high-tech treasure or scavenger hunt which uses the Global Positioning System (GPS) to locate hidden containers. Geocachers like to joke that we use billion dollar defense satellite systems to hunt Tupperware® in the woods.
At midnight on May 2, the government did away with Selective Availability, which limited the accuracy of the civilian GPS signal to about 200 feet. Without Selective Availability, accuracy improved to about 20 feet. The next day, geocaching started. Dave Ulmer, a GPS enthusiast, decided to see just how well the system worked. He stocked a plastic bucket with trade items and a notebook, hid it in the woods, posted the coordinates – the latitude and longitude – on the Internet, and invited fellow enthusiasts to use their GPS receivers to find the bucket. The rules were simple: “Take some stuff, leave some stuff! Record it all in the logbook. Have fun!” Although there have been a lot of embellishments over the years, that’s still the way the basic game is played today.
Virtually anyone can go geocaching, although very small children may need some help from mom and dad. Geocaches (and geocachers) are everywhere. There are over 1.4 million caches – and over 5 million geocachers – worldwide. There are caches on every continent, including Antarctica. In fact, there are about 480 geocaches within a 10 mile radius of the World Bird Sanctuary! There are caches which require long hikes, caches within a few steps of parking, and caches which are wheelchair-accessible. There are caches which are very easy to find and others which might require an extensive search. Each cache has difficulty and terrain ratings on a scale of one to five. This makes it easy to choose caches that fit your abilities and the circumstances.
Read the entire article at www.world-bird-sanctuary.blogspot.com...
Modern Day Treasure Hunting
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by Heather Bodendieck, photos by David Stonner
I have a confession to make: I am GPS challenged. Still, when the opportunity came up for me to take my boys on a modern-day treasure hunt, I didn’t let that stop me. I had never heard of geocaching before, so I was surprised to find out just how popular it is. There aren’t many family activities that are diverse enough to accommodate a variety of budgets, activity levels and schedules. Geocaching fits the bill on all levels. All you need to participate is a sense of adventure and a GPS unit. Bug spray and sunscreen aren’t a bad idea, either.
In geocaching, participants hide objects to be found by others with the aid of a GPS unit. The latitude and longitude coordinates of the geocache are posted online, along with any additional clues. By typing the coordinates into a GPS device, geocachers are led to the hidden treasure, or “geocache.” Some geocaches are simple to find, while others involve multiple stages and activities such as rappelling or rock-climbing.
Digital Tips and Treasure Trails
First I looked at the Conservation Department’s geocaching page at mdc.mo.gov/node/3379, a good resource for basic information on the game, as well as regulations for conservation areas. Then I visited www.geocaching.com, which allows you to search for caches in your area. I discovered that there were dozens of treasures to be found in my community—and here I’d planned to drive a couple of hours for our adventure!
Armed with two sets of coordinates and a borrowed GPS, my family set out on our treasure hunt. Our first stop was Rockwoods Range, between Pacific and Eureka in western St. Louis County, a five-minute drive from our house. I pass both the range and the nearby Rockwoods Reservation, just north of the range, at least once a week, but I had yet to stop and check them out.
We parked our car at the range and piled out. Excited, a little nervous, and not quite sure what to expect, we entered our coordinates into our trusty GPS and were off on our adventure.
We walked down a pleasant trail, wondering why we had never visited the Rockwoods areas before. They were enchanting and so close to home. Then we reached a point in the trail where the GPS unit signaled for us to go off the trail. I paused, looking into the woods. I am constantly reminding my boys to stay on the path. I knew that I was allowed both on-trail and off-trail access to the area, but I’d spent so much time at parks that I had to give myself permission to break the “rules” in my own head. As silly as it seemed, it was exciting to treat this area as the wild space it was.
Afraid of Losing Your Geocoin?
- Written by Denmother
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