Hello possum! Join our creative geocaching adventure

Posted by on Feb 12, 2015





Ringtales-brand

Before we launch into our story about ‘Ringtales: a geocaching adventure’, many of you might be wondering what geocaching is. Well, geocaching is a fun, rather addictive outdoor activity that brings hide and seek into the 21st Century (you just need a smartphone or a GPS device).

Geocaching is free, available all over the world and anyone is allowed to play. If you’re not already a geocacher (non-cachers are known as ‘muggles’), this blog post (and the geocaches we have hidden) may be the ideal opportunity to learn more.

Millions of little secrets

There are millions of geocaches hidden all over the world, including many thousands of caches around Australia. If you don’t believe us check out this map. In fact, chances are there is one a short walk away, maybe even one from our Ringtales series. But first, if you are new to geocaching, check out this video (it takes less than two minutes).

Anyway, now that we all know what geocaching is, here’s our geocaching story.

How Ringtales got started

We were looking for some different ways to engage people in positive things related to nature. After throwing a few ideas around, we discovered that a couple of us had dabbled in geocaching (including Matthew with his kids). Seemed like we were onto something!

Like most people, we just decided to jump into it. We download the free geocaching introductory app, left the studio and started following the clues (and the compass) to caches secreted around the Adelaide CBD. If you’d like to know what we found, read the recap from Aimee, our work experience student of the time.

geocachingfinds

Once we were sure what we wanted to do, we applied to Natural Resources Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges for a little funding to leverage this innovative platform to engage and encourage new and existing geocachers to get outdoors and learn more about our local environments and culture.

In deciding where to plant our caches we got some help from a seasoned cacher (a man who has planted more caches than any of us had found!) and, to make sure we had a clear theme, we designed a mascot (Reggie Ringtail) and branded the series of caches as ‘Ringtales’. Our caches are painted mint tins and like most contained a log book and pencil in a small waterproof bag.

designing-reggie

After exploring plenty of characters (and lots of sketches) we settled on Reggie Ringtail

putting log books together

Most of the work in making caches is pretty fiddly, especially if you decide to make custom log books!

 

Picking some hiding places

We picked some spots stretching from the mangroves of St Kilda to a scrubby spot just out of Victor Harbor and after a huge amount of trial and error (and rather a lot of help from the official geocaching moderator) we had all our Ringtales caches in place with clues and little stories to match.

log-book

This is what a found cache looks like. Not that Team Scoobster was FTF: first to find!

 

trackables

The Reggie Ringtail travel bug

Anyway, like most things, the best way to learn more about it (and maybe find our little travel bug), is to get outside and start hunting. But just to give you a head start, here they are on the Geocaching website:

Ringtales #1: Off the rails… and walking on water

Ringtales #2: Weeding ceremony

Ringtales #3: Dam if you do

Ringtales #4: Finding meaning in the trees

Ringtales #5: Growth industries

Ringtales #6: Between a drain and a creek

Sharing the learning

We know from our work with Nature Play SA and for a range of organisations in the environment sector that there are some really innovative things happening with geocaching. In rounding off our project, Matthew and Jordan ran a little workshop on geocaching for some people (including a few muggles) from natural resources management and National Parks and Wildlife and then we all went hunting for a cache together.

Lookingforcache

It’s rare to have such a big group. This many geocachers might make muggles suspicious!

It was excellent to hear some of the ideas for their own caches coming out that blended the work of biodiversity conservation with geocaching (and as keen cachers ourselves, we look forward to discovering what they have come up with!).

We hope you some time outdoors and maybe even learn something new about our amazing region while you’re at it. Oh, don’t forget to write a little comment in the log-book and via the Geocaching website; we love reading about what people’s experiences were like!

Update 23 March 2015: Matthew’s Geocaching interview on CoastFM

Listen to Barbara Chappell’s interview with Matthew on CoastFM’s Close Encounters of a Community Kind program. Runtime: 48 minutes.