Editor’s Note: Gary, Geoaware, placed the very first EarthCache on this date in 2004. Today there are more than 17,000 EarthCaches around the globe from the peaks of mountains to the desert floor. This is Gary’s story of that first EarthCache.
By Gary, Geoaware: Ten years ago I was a lucky guy in the right place at the right time. The Geological Society of America (GSA) had just employed me to work on education and outreach programs, a GSA member mentioned the new game of geocaching to my boss, and I was on holiday here with my kids looking at the rocks in Australia.
So that day we wandered around a rock platform that I had been on a thousand times before but now with a new purpose. How could I bring others here geocaching so they left learning something new about our amazing planet? Fossils, evidence for glaciers, weathering – so much in such a short walk. This was the perfect place. And so EarthCache I GCHFT2 was born—and so was the concept of an EarthCache: a place where the Earth was the treasure. A place where you would learn about the geology of the planet while you geocached. If you have not experienced an EarthCache, its time you tried. It’s a different experience – but who would ever not enjoy learning when it’s fun!
Since then we have gone through many changes, twists and turns – always in partnership with Geocaching.com and always edging forward so that we can add to the game of geocaching as well as teaching people about our Earth. We even now have a Mega-Event held each year just for EarthCachers (GC4JD1B).
What an amazing ten years the EarthCache program has had. Since the first EarthCache was placed, four million people have visited over 17,000 EarthCaches in 165 countries around the globe. It is a truly outstanding impact to get people outside, have fun and learn about our dynamic planet all at the same time. And all of that amazing credit goes to the whole community that visits, develops and loves EarthCaches and the wonderful group of community volunteers – the ‘geoawares’ that work with EarthCache developers to get the very best EarthCache submissions published.
Finally, I can’t ignore the amazing support of The Geological Society of America, who sees this program as the jewel in its outreach to the wider community.
I hope you will all celebrate the amazing 10th year of EarthCaches by finding and logging an EarthCache or even joining the next 3rd International EarthCache Mega-Event!