Hello possum! Join our creative geocaching adventure
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.