Editor’s note: Lackeys often attend geocaching events of special significance and events that help showcase geocaching to new audiences. Jessie Perkins, Foxfire, the Community Relations Lead for Groundspeak traveled to North Carolina to attend a science teachers conference where she spoke to attendees about geocaching. This is her report.
By Jessie Perkins
Groundspeak has been working hard to connect with teachers and find out how we can help bring geocaching into the classroom. As part of this initiative, I had the privilege to join some local cachers for the North Carolina Science Teachers Association Conference (NCSTAC) early this month. This was the first Science Teachers Conference that Groundspeak has attended. I manned the Geocaching.com booth and was able to talk to teachers who are considering developing geocaching-related lesson plans as well as those who have already started using geocaching in the classroom.
Many teachers in the latter group have placed (unlisted) geocaches on their school grounds and used them to encourage cross-curricular learning. One teacher told me about a lesson that encompasses the Science and Physical Education disciplines. They post clipboards around the school and input the coordinates into GPS devices. Students navigate to each clipboard using a GPS device and answer the question written there. It may be, “What kind of tree is this?” or “What kind of bird made this nest?” Each time the kids go out the destination coordinates and questions on the clipboards change.
The reason I went to North Carolina was because of the efforts of a geocacher and teacher by the username of markcase. Mark is a North Carolina science teacher and avid geocacher. He had quite a weekend between presenting on geocaching at the conference and ensuring that I would have a full day of North Carolina caching. Once he heard that I enjoy EarthCaches, I had not done a 5/5 and I had never been to North Carolina, he couldn’t wait to show me around.
His post-conference plans started with a meet and greet event, where I got to know a few cachers who were either from the area or there visiting, including _Norah_, _c3_, Check-Cacher, Gizmo’s Keepers and ncbiscuit. The next day started bright and early. I met up with markcase, Ranger fox, Night-Ranger, Diefenbaker and Okie.Bug. I would spend the next 13 hours geocaching with this group around the Greensboro area. We found 18 caches that day including a number of EarthCaches, Traditional Caches, one Multi-Cache and my first difficulty 5, terrain 5.
The 5/5 had to have been one of the most rewarding caches that I have found, “bald mnt challenge” (GC15CC2). It was at the top of a large, steep hill. After scrambling over boulders to reach the top, we were able to catch our breath, admire the view, and sign the log. We had fun trying to think of all the firsts from my trip so I could write them in my log. It went a little something like this: “First time in North Carolina, first 5/5, first Multi-Cache, and first time having North Carolina BBQ and first time at an education conference talking about teaching geocaching in the classroom… and the list goes on.”
I was able to meet some wonderful people, make new friends, got to know the real meaning of southern hospitality and add new adventures to my list of firsts. In the end, I can’t wait until I get the chance to go back to North Carolina.
If you are interested in learning how teachers have been incorporating geocaching in the classroom and perhaps borrowing some of their ideas for your own class or youth program, please visit our Education Forums.