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Teaching Geocaching and a Lackey to Complete a 5/5

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.

Jessie (third from right) with local geocachers

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.

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Geocaching Vlogs and Online Videos – The New Horizon of Caching Media Part II

[Editor’s Note: Make sure to obtain cache owner permission when featuring a specific cache and spoilers. Include a spoiler warning if a spoiler is absolutely necessary.]

Geocaching video blogs (vlogs), as well as YouTube-based video series, have become hugely popular in the geocaching community. The Geocaching.com YouTube channel receives thousands of viewers each day and the Geocaching.com videos have been viewed nearly three million times so far. Vlogs and other videos created by the community showcase the diversity, creativity and intelligence found in the geocaching world.

Vlogging has become an exciting way to share geocaching experiences. We now invite you to enjoy Part II of the “Geocaching Vlogs and Online Videos” blog post. This post introduces you to three popular English-language geocaching vlogs and their vloggers. Part I, which featured geocaching vlogs from around the world, can be found here.

Vlogger Joshua Johnson

Mayberryman, or Joshua Johnson, is an American geocaching vlogger out of Minnesota, USA. With more than 40,000 views on his site, Joshua is capturing the attention of geocachers and non-geocachers around the world. According to the vlogger, “the beauty of online video is that it is global, so I think it is fun for people to see geocaching in different places of the world.”

Joshua spends much of his free time recording his caching adventures and posting them on his vlog for all to see. He says his vlog has enabled him to “connect with cachers all over the world through this medium.  An example of this is a video collaboration video where a cacher named Captain Hardy from Norway shot a video of him sending the Travel Bug my way.”

Joshua says one of the goals of his is videos, “is to make the viewer feel like they are caching along with us.” Joshua also hopes to use his vlog to “share with the world the incredible hobby/sport that is geocaching… to introduce others to the hobby through the videos.”

Vlogger Headhardhat

Headhardhat, or Andrew Smith, another popular English language vlogger. Andrew has posted videos on YouTube for years. He has more than 60 videos online and has had more than 370,000 hits to his YouTube site. He sees his vlog as a “teaching tool to educate geocachers from all levels of expertise.” Andrew has found that creating a vlog has been beneficial to his personal geocaching experiences as well as the community’s.

He says, “I have heard everything from thanks for planting the seed to go out geocaching, to making things smoother for others as they ventured out, to saving several marriages and bringing families together.” Andrew’s vlog has connected him to people all over the world. According to the vlogger, these connections make geocaching “that much more fun because I get to share my experiences with others.”

Joshua and Andrew all showcase geocaching in the English language. They are among a more and more geocachers flipping on the video camera and sharing their adventures, tips and geocaching tricks online.

You can start sharing your experiences right now. Share your videos, pics and geocaching expertise (or geocaching questions) on the Geocaching.com Facebook page.

 

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How Teens Discover Geocaching

By Kara Bonilla

Ever think that the only things teenagers do are play video games, lay around, and complain? Think again. Teenagers worldwide have picked up on geocaching and their passion for the sport is only growing stronger with age. A recent survey shows nearly five percent of geocachers are 18 or younger, that’s still nearly a quarter of a million geocachers.

Joey with cache GC1QYHV, Camino a la Buena Vista

Joey (jmilla210), 15, from California has been geocaching for two years. Joey has loved the game ever since he was first introduced to geocaching. He found his first cache with family members on Thanksgiving Day of 2009.

When asked about out geocaching for the first time, Joey said, “Finding my first cache was amazing.  I didn’t really know what it was at first, but I learned much more about the game and quickly developed a regular habit of finding a few caches each day.” Since then, Joey has found 259 caches and hidden 13 caches in his area. Joey also likes to attend geocaching events, as they give him the opportunity to meet people, his age or not, that love geocaching as much as he does. The game always gives Joey something to look forward to wherever he is, and he is always excited to go find a cache.

Chad in a mineshaft while finding his all-time favorite cache, GC21QWN The Cobalt Zone

From Killingworth, Connecticut, United States, 18-year-old Chad Golembeski’s (DeluxeLunchbox) experiences as a geocacher all started with a gift of a GPS device for Christmas at the age of 14. Now, four years later, Chad owns 10 caches and has found 164 geocaches throughout Connecticut, Vermont, and Massachusetts.

When talking about his first find, Chad said,“When I found my first geocache, I thought it was extremely cool that someone had posted these coordinates online and I found them.”  Chad was a member of his high school’s geocaching club before graduation, and his first logged cache was the one at his school. With the club, he completed large multicaches, found caches at various state parks, and recruited friends who now like to geocache. For Chad, geocaching is fun way to get outside and explore with his friends. “I personally like geocaching because [it] brings me out to new places that I wouldn’t have known of before.”

Chris with cache contents of GC2XAF6, Feed the Mosquitos II

Chris (Coldgears), 16, from Pennsylvania in the United States, has recently discovered his love for geocaching. All it took was for him to stumble upon the geocaching app on his new phone about a year ago, and Chris was hooked. Chris then introduced his two friends to the game, in return for introducing him to letterboxing a while back.

According to Chris, what he likes most about geocaching, “ …is the time spent outdoors…Without it I wouldn’t be in the woods nearly as much.” With over 300 caches found, Chris enjoys how geocaching gets him to the outdoors with his friends on a regular basis.

There are many ways teens can learn about geocaching, and eventually love the game as much as these guys do. Finding a local organization or group who geocaches, such as Girl or Boy Scouts, checking for geocaching events in your area, creating an account on Geocaching.com, and downloading the Geocaching application for your smartphone are all simple ways teens can get started. The love for geocaching begins with a simple step like these guys took, creating a passion for the game that can last for a lifetime, and teens everywhere can take that step today.

 

 

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Go Geocaching and Don’t Forget Your Sheep

Here’s a little geocaching scenario for you. You’re about to embark on your next geocaching adventure. Your mind starts racing through the all-too-familiar checklist: GPS (check), pen (check), extra batteries (check)… wait, you’re forgetting something. What could it be? Extra batteries? Nope. You almost forgot to bring your stuffed-animal sheep. Whew, that was a close call.

That’s the actual geocaching checklist for Ontario’s Cheryl Shaw and her husband Dave Devine. They call themselves “Team Sheep.”

Cheryl and Dave (minus sheep)

Cheryl and Dave started geocaching just over a year ago. Almost all of their 401 finds share something in common— a picture of their stuffed animal sheep with the cache. Cheryl says, “I now own more pictures of that sheep than I do of my family.”

The whole practice of posing a stuffed animal by a cache began innocently enough.

Cheryl says, “It all started with some travel coin I picked up. They wanted a picture with the coin and me. But somehow I didn’t feel like being photographed that day. So I looked around my house for something cutesy to photograph with the coin and found ‘sheep’ sitting on my sewing table. ‘Good enough,’ I thought, and out the door I went to go caching. Since then, I have photographed the sheep at every cache we have found.”

Sheep proposes

The sheep, and his wardrobe, evolved. He now has several outfits, everything from a karate uniform, fatigues and a hockey jersey to seasonal outfits for Easter, Halloween and Christmas. He even has a tux.

Cheryl says that the sheep recently got serious about a relationship: “Last week he even proposed to a fellow cacher ring and all!”

The other cacher had just gotten engaged. Cheryl says the sheep has developed his own personality. The log that accompanies the proposal picture reads: “We told the geo sheep about how Lisa got engaged and he was a little heartbroken, ‘Tell her that if things don’t work out with that nano guy I’m available!’ he said.’Sure thing’ we said, ‘You were definitely her second choice.'”

“It certainly adds to the fun to geocache with an avatar,” Cheryl says. “Cache owners have appreciated the sheep pictures. When people contact me they act like sheep is real, such as ‘say hi to sheep for me, or sheep looked very handsome today or sorry I missed meeting the sheep.'” She has even received fan mail for sheep.

Even if you never see sheep on your geocaching rounds, Cheryl hopes the idea travels. “I would thoroughly recommend that other cachers use an avatar. It’s fun. It’s more than just signing a log and running away. We try very hard to pose the sheep and take several pictures, choosing the best one for the web page.”

She says that there are other benefits to using an avatar as well.  “We tend to remember all our caches better, and best of all sheep always has some smart remark or stupid joke about the cache. (He can get away with saying things I can’t.)”

With more than 400 cache logs in one year, there’s no telling where sheep may show up next. If you’re in the Ottawa, Ontario area, you can now visit Cheryl’s first “sheep-themed” cache, “The Sheeps’ Revenge” (GC25CMF).

Would you ever consider using an avatar? What sort of avatar would you use?

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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.