Photo: Get out your GPS: Ocean Keepers geocaching treasure hunt is going national!

These tags will travel from location to location, educating geocachers as they move around towards their destination.

By Maddie Hague, David Suzuki Foundation Geocaching Volunteer and Jodi Stark, Public Engagement Specialist

It's a global scavenger hunt! Get outside. Help wooden tags of marine species find their way home to the West Coast and track their journey.

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Research shows being active outside in nature brings all sorts of benefits. So does playing games, going on adventures and connecting to others with similar interests.

That's why Ocean Keepers is going geocaching across Canada — and you can join us!

What's geocaching?

Geocaching is a global outdoor scavenger hunt played by millions of people of all ages around the world. Participants use the GPS (global positioning system) in their phone to help find and record a "cache" or hidden object. Each cache is tracked on an online database.

Geocaching builds orienteering, navigation and observation skills. It's a great way to explore nature, discover new places and connect to others online. You can geocache on your own or with family and friends. This video explains how it's done:

In 2014, Ocean Keepers launched an ocean-themed geocaching scavenger hunt. It placed 35 trackable wooden tags representing West Coast marine species in caches across Metro Vancouver. Each tag offered information about the species and its role in the ecosystem and had an assigned destination goal.

These geotags spread across the globe, introducing people to hidden wonders of Pacific ecosystems. Now 59 tags are stashed across the country! Once you find one, your job is take it a little closer to its destination for the next geocacher to pick up and pass on. For example:

  • Ollie the orca wants to go to a cache near Tsawwassen; he'll teach you about orcas' complex food web and how they communicate.
  • Bella the blue whale is destined for Haida Gwaii
  • Harry the herring is making his way to a cache in Parksville, B.C.

As tags travel to their destinations, geocachers learn about B.C. marine life. They can also join Ocean Keepers and help protect the coast.

How do I get started?

Go to the DavidSuzukiFDN geocaching profile and create an account. To meet the creatures, find out where they are and where they'd like to go, click the "Trackables" tab. Under "Trackables Owned" click on the button under "Name." Then get tracking!

When you find one, log it on the geocaching.com website. Then track it as it continues to move around over the coming weeks. Post your find on social media using #DSFgeocache and you'll be entered to win an Ocean Keepers t-shirt!

Why geotag?

While geocaching with a friend in Finland, Ocean Keeper volunteer Mairi Lester found a geotag of an endangered Saimaa ringed seal. She read about the plight of these freshwater seals on the geocaching website and decided "...to bring this unique way of drawing attention to endangered species to help West Coast wildlife."

Geocaching is about having fun, learning and adventuring. But don't forget to leave the environment around the cache better than you found it. And be safe. Check the weather, dress accordingly and be prepared.

Interested in learning more about geocaching and how to get involved? Email oceankeepers@davidsuzuki.org. We'd love to help you get started

Help protect the coast — be an Ocean Keeper!

See the following sites for more information:

Finding your first Geocache

Geocaching 101

January 15, 2014
http://www.davidsuzuki.org/blogs/healthy-oceans-blog/2014/01/get-out-your-gps-its-an-ocean-keepers-geocaching-treasure-hunt/

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2 Comments

Jan 15, 2014
3:45 PM

When will the travel bugs be released into the wild, and where will they start out?

Jan 22, 2014
9:52 PM

Aloha,

I dont see a `¨Hawaiian Humpback¨ whale in your collection. How about a Rufous the Humpback See: http://www.pacificwhale.org/whales

Karl Jacob aka Jake39

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