By Jodi Stark, Communications and Public Engagement Specialist
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!
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Geocaching is a global outdoor scavenger hunt played by millions of people around the world. Participants use a GPS (global positioning system) to find and record a cache linked to an online database. People of all ages can get in on the fun and — with GPS-enabled smart phones — almost anyone can play.
Geocaching builds orienteering, navigation and observation skills. It's also a great way to explore nature, discover new places and connect to others online. Ask around — you probably already know some geocachers! It's a great activity to do with family and friends. Watch this video to see how it's done:
Ocean Keepers' scavenger hunt is — naturally — ocean-themed. Each of our 35 tags is a wooden cut-out of a West Coast marine species, marked with a destination. Once you find one, your job is to get it where it wants to go. For example:
- Cassie the Cassin's auklet wants to go to a cache near the Scott Islands on North Vancouver Island; she'll teach you about Triangle Island and her blue feet
- Vincent the blue whale is destined for Haida Gwaii
- Sylvester the sockeye salmon is making his way from Vancouver to a cache near the Adams River
As the tags travel to their destinations, geocachers will learn about B.C.'s marine life and have the opportunity to join Ocean Keepers and help protect the coast.
How do I get started?
Go to the DavidSuzukiFDN geocaching profile to meet the creatures, find out where they are and where they'd like to go. If you find one, log it on the geocaching.com website — where you can watch it move around! If you can, please email email@example.com with a photo of you, the tag and/or the cache where you found it, or tweet us @DavidSuzukiFDN.
Ocean Keeper volunteer Mairi Lester was inspired to start this project after picking up a trackable tag of an endangered Saimaa ringed seal from Finland while geocaching with a friend. She went to the geocaching website, read about the plight of these freshwater seals and decided "...to bring this unique way of drawing attention to endangered species to help west coast wildlife".
While geocaching is about having fun, learning and adventuring, don't forget to leave the environment around the cache better than you found it. Use all necessary safety precautions — it's more important to come home safely than to find the cache. Check the weather, dress accordingly and be prepared.
If you're interested in learning more about geocaching and how to get involved, email firstname.lastname@example.org. We'd love to help you get started.
See the following sites for more information:Finding your first Geocache