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“Geocaching has Kept Me Safer” Geocaching.com’s Lost & Found Video

Sgt. Kent "Doc" Byrd in Iraq
Sgt. Kent "Doc" Byrd in Iraq

Kent “Doc” Byrd is known as JrByrdMan162 in the geocaching world. In the United States Army he’s know as Sergeant Byrd.

He’s a member of an Explosive Ordinance Disposal unit. He defused bombs, including improvised explosive devices (IEDs) as part of the Army bomb squad.  He just returned from a one year tour of duty in Iraq.

Sgt. Byrd has been geocaching since 2005. He says the skills that geocaching instills — situational awareness, an eye for the unusual and quick detective work — help keep him safe when he’s finding and defusing bombs.  Sgt. Byrd believes that other  members of the bomb disposal community can learn to sharpen their awareness and stay safer through geocaching.

See his story above. Click  here to watch more Lost & Found videos highlighting unique geocachers and the worldwide adventure of geocaching.

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Geocachers Care – August 2010

A GIFT FOR CONNOR

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Bret (CYBret) and Connor

EDITOR’S NOTE: Geocachers Care highlights the often untold good deeds of the geocaching community.

Bret Hammond’s eight year old son Connor is quick to say “hi” and “bye.” Like other eight-year-olds, Connor makes choices, requests and almost every night around bedtime he asks his dad for a ride in their Jeep.  But Connor has never spoken a word.  Connor has a form of autism.

He communicates through a specialized touchscreen device that speaks for him.  Connor’s father Bret (geocaching user name CYBret) says the device works well in therapy. It costs $7,000.  The cost is not covered by insurance.

Connor

A few months ago, Bret says, one of Connor’s therapists at the Illinois Autism Project suggested using the iPad.  New software for the iPad accomplishes most of the functions of the $7,000 touch screen device for about $200. But the price tag for the iPad and software was still more than he could afford.

The therapist contacted a local charity.  Bret and Connor waited for a decision. However that decision left them shaking their heads.  Bret writes, “When it finally came we were very disappointed. They decided to pass because the iPad could be used by someone else in the family.”

Dismayed, Bret posted a comment on Facebook. Bret’s fellow geocachers responded with the same confusion and disappointment.  They also responded with something else.

Bret explains, “… I got an email from a geocacher in Indianapolis (Matt from LakeDawgs) asking me to call him ASAP. I did and Matt said that several of them had been talking and decided that they wanted to do something about it. They put together a Paypal account to funnel funds in and–as of last Friday–Connor has an iPad, Proloquo2Go software and an awesome Otterbox case.”

Nearly 50 geocachers from donated to the account.  Bret writes that the geocachers provided them, “…with this amazing tool that lets Connor communicate with us, eases his frustrations and gives him a voice.”

Bret writes, “I can’t tell you how blessed I am by this community. When I started playing this game over 8 years ago I never even thought I’d meet another geocacher. Now, 8 years later they are among some of my best friends and I don’t know what I would do without these people.”

If you have a story you would like to be considered for the next installment of “Geocachers Care,” please email blogs@groundspeak.com

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Geocaching Caption Contest 10 – Win a Barely Coveted Prize

Winning Caption: “The pain was made worse when a voice from below shouted, ‘Found it!'” – KBLAST

This is the tenth installment of our Geocaching Caption Contest.  This picture was posted to Geocaching.com’s Facebook page by a German geocacher.  It was too good not to share here on the Latitude 47 blog.

What caption would you write? “Additional logging requirements (always optional), Sing Soprano.” You can do better.

Barely coveted prize

The winner receives this barely coveted prize. The patch celebrates 10 years of geocaching.  As a bonus, I can vouch that the patch comes directly from the office of Groundspeak Co-Founder and Vice President Bryan Roth.

Good luck!  Please include your geocaching username in all entries.

The winner of Geocaching Caption Contest 10 will be chosen by an ad hoc committee of Lackeys.

15 Lackeys voted to award the winner of the ninth Geocaching Caption Contest a barely coveted prize.  Take a look at the Latitude 47 blog post to see who won.  Explore the wit and wisdom of geocachers by checking out all the Geocaching Caption Contests.

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Geocaching Class – Geocaching.com’s Lost & Found Video

Teachers are using geocaching to take their lesson plans out of the classroom and into the real world. Students learn about GPS technology, navigation, spatial concepts, math and more through geocaching. Watch how one teacher from McKinney, Texas, USA employees geocaching to educate her students about science. The Lost & Found video takes you along during a typical school day as Mrs. Burford’s elementary school class learns through geocaching.

You can find even more resources for educators in our GPS in Education Forum.

Watch all the Lost & Found videos highlighting unique geocachers and the worldwide adventure of geocaching.

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“Steinmaennchen 3” GC1BZ5M GEOCACHE OF THE WEEK – August 9th, 2010

View from "Steinmaenncher 3"

“Steinmaenncher” translates to English as “Stone Man.”  Steinmaennchen 3(GC1BZ5M) is one of nearly two dozen geocaches throughout the island nation of Seychelles.  The traditional cache takes geocachers up a steep slope and through a dense jungle on the main island, just outside the capitol city of Victoria.

The key piece of advice from the cache owner, Motoleni,  is to bring adequate water for the 1.5 km hike.

We asked Motoleni why he named the geocache “Steinmaenncher.”  His answer, in his native German, below, describes seeing the “Stone Men,” or cairns, as he drove his motorcycle through the mountains. The piles of rocks were used to hold sign posts.  He asks geocachers to create a cairn at the site of the geocache.  So far, there are nine cairns at the site – some even have painted rocks.

A cairn at the site of “Steinmaenncher 3”

Motoleni says, “Bei meinen Motorradtouren im Gebirge habe ich immer wieder alte Wegmarkierungen in Form von Steinmännchen gesehen.So kam der Gedanke
diese Idee auch fürs Geocaching zu verwenden. Das erste Steinmännchen steht bei mir Garten und die Resonanz der Geocacher ist überwältigend. Jede Menge toll bemalter Steine und nicht weniger tolle Logeinträge. Inzwischen ist die Zahl der Steinmännchen auf 9 angewachsen. Verschiedene Owner haben mich angemailt, und gefragt, ob sie diese Idee aufgreifen können.”

The difficulty 1, terrain 3.5 cache was placed in April of 2008.  It’s been found nearly 40 times since. Geocachers who have logged the find write, “The way to this cache is quite challenging, but worth doing. We wouldn’t have done it if not for the cache. The view from the top is really marvelous! Good shoes are recommended for the walk.”

You can explore all the world of geocaching by checking out all Geocaches of the Week.