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Geocaching Merit Badge Fair

Geocaching Merit Badge Fair

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Geocaching Merit Badge Fair

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  1. Geocaching Merit Badge Fair Georgetown College Saturday, February 12th, 2011

  2. My real name is Mike McCaffrey. On, I am Kentucky Trio. • My address is; Mike McCaffrey, 319 Cole Avenue, Hazard, Kentucky 41701-1015 • Contact information; • Phone—home 606-436-6841 cell—606-233-9917 My information

  3. COURSE PREREQUISITES: • Require Scout to have set up a free account at This will let you know they have visited the site and you will have a user name that can be referenced for later requirements. • Welcome to the Geocaching Merit Badge class. • What about you? Tell us about yourself!

  4. What is Geocaching? Geocaching is a worldwide game of hiding and seeking treasure. A geocacher can place a geocache in the world, pinpoint its location using GPS technology and then share the geocache’s existence and location online. Anyone with a GPS unit can then try to locate the geocache. • How do you pronounce Geocaching? You pronounce it Geo-cashing, like cashing a check. • What is the meaning of the word Geocaching? The word Geocaching refers to GEO for geography, and to CACHING, the process of hiding a cache. A cache in computer terms is information usually stored in memory to make it faster to retrieve, but the term is also used in hiking/camping as a hiding place for concealing and preserving provisions. What is Geocaching?

  5. What is a GPS device? A GPS unit is an electronic device that can determine your approximate location (within around 6 - 20 feet) on the planet. Coordinates are normally given in Latitude and Longitude. You can use the device to navigate from your current location to another location. Some devices have their own maps, built-in electronic compasses, and voice navigation, depending on the complexity of the device. • How does GPS work? Each GPS receiver is a computer that receives signals broadcast from GPS satellites. A receiver needs to read signals from at least three satellites at a time to calculate its general location by a process called trilateration. With signals from four satellites, a GPS receiver can get a more accurate fix that includes altitude and the exact time, as well as latitude and longitude. The more satellite signals the receiver reads, the more accurate the position it reports to you. All about Geocaching

  6. If I use a GPS unit can someone track where I am going? No! GPS devices do not actually broadcast your location. The satellites using radio frequencies actually broadcast their own position. Your GPS unit takes that information to figure out where you are (trilateration). a. Explain to your counselor the most likely hazards you may encounter while participating in geocaching activities and what you should do to anticipate, help prevent, mitigate, and respond to these hazards. • Hazard – Getting lost • Plan ahead, bring a map of the area and a compass, use the Buddy System (see Tenderfoot requirement 9), mark your starting location, carry a cell phone, let others know where you are going and when you plan to return. If you do get lost stay in one place. • Hazard – Thunderstorms and other dangerous weather situations When you are out Geocaching, you may run into several hazards.

  7. Listen to forecasts. If storms are predicted reschedule your trip. Always dress appropriately, take plenty of water and carry rain gear. • Hazard – Cuts and scrapes (broken glass, barbed wire, briars, etc.) • Wear long pants and long-sleeve shirt. Be vigilant of your surroundings and be careful. Carry a first aid kit. (See 1b for first aid.) • Hazard – Sprains • Wear sturdy boots. • Hazard – Blisters • The most common injury for hikers. Whenever a “hot spot” develops stop immediately and protect the tender area with a piece of moleskin. If blister breaks treat like a minor cut or abrasion (see 1b for first aid.) Wear boots that fit properly and are well broken in. Keep your feet clean and dry; change socks frequently

  8. Hazard – Poisonous plants • Learn how to recognize and avoid poisonous plants in your area (poison ivy, poison oak). Carry a first aid kit. (See 1b for first aid.) • Hazard – Insect stings and animal bites • Use insect repellant to minimize likelihood of ticks and chiggers. Button your collar and tuck pant legs you’re your boots or socks. When in wooded or rocky area always be aware of snakes (copperheads and rattlesnakes) and spiders (black widow, brown recluse). Carry a first aid kit. (See 1b for first aid.) • Hazard – Darkness • When caching it is easy to lose track of time. Know how long it will take to get back to your starting location. Always carry a flashlight with extra batteries. • Hazard – Heat and cold extremes • This is similar to weather conditions, but includes taking precautions to prevent sunburn (hat and sunscreen), heat exhaustion or hypothermia (extra clothes, gloves).

  9. Discuss first aid and prevention for the types of injuries or illnesses that could occur while participating in geocaching activities, including: • • Cuts & scrapes – Clean the wound by flushing with water, apply antibiotic ointment, and cover with a dry, sterile dressing or bandage. Change dressing daily and watch for infection. • • Snakebite – Unless you are an expert, always assume a snake is venomous. Treat like a small puncture wound by washing, applying antibiotic and covering. Remove jewelry in case of swelling, have victim lie down and raise the bitten part higher than the body. Treat for shock. Get help immediately. • • Insect stings • Bee (wasps and hornets) – Scrape away stinger with edge of knife; do not squeeze the sac attached to the stinger. Apply an ice pack to reduce pain and swelling. Always look before you put your hand into an area where these insects may have a nest. This is a common injury when geocaching. • Spider – Watch for any allergic reaction and, if seen, get medical help immediately. Apply an ice pack to reduce pain and swelling. • Chiggers – Apply calamine lotion or fingernail polish to the bite to reduce irritation

  10. • Tick bites -- Use gloves. Immediately remove tick by grasping it with tweezers close to the skin and pulling gently. Wash the wound with soap and water and apply antiseptic. Wash your hands. • • Exposure to poisonous plants – Wash the area with soap and water immediately. Apply rubbing alcohol or calamine lotion. • • Heat and cold reactions: • Sunburn – Treat sunburn by applying cool, wet cloths. Stay in the shade if possible and keep area covered to prevent further burning. Prevent by wearing proper clothing and sunscreen with a protection factor (SPF) of at least 15. • Heat stroke – Get help immediately. Place victim in a cool place, loosen tight clothing, and apply ice packs to armpits, groin, neck and back. This can be life-threatening. Signals of heatstroke include any of those for heat exhaustion as well as hot, sweaty, red skin; confusion and disorientation; and a rapid pulse. • Heat exhaustion – Get out of the heat, drink plenty of water (no caffeine), take off extra clothing, apply cool, wet cloths to skin, and fan the person. Heat and dehydration can lead to heat exhaustion. Symptoms include pale, clammy skin; nausea and headache; dizziness and fainting; muscle cramps; and weakness or lack of energy.

  11. Hypothermia – You do not have to be in frigid weather to develop hypothermia. Anyone caught in a cool, windy rain shower without proper gear may be at risk. A victim may feel cold, numb, fatigued, irritable and increasingly clumsy. Also, watch for shivering, slurred speech, poor judgment and unconsciousness. Get help immediately. Monitor breathing, get them out of the cold and/or wind, remove wet clothes, put on layers of warm clothing, wrap in blankets, give person something to eat and something warm to drink. Do not apply direct heat or rub the skin. Warm person slowly. • Dehydration – Do not wait until you are thirsty before drinking. Taking small sips of water frequently will keep your body hydrated. Symptoms include feeling fatigued or confused, or developing a headache, body aches or dizziness.

  12. Other hazards include muggles(drunk or stoned muggles, law enforcement (rangers, police, security guards), and other animals such as snakes, poisonous and not, bear, deer, elk, and wild dogs. • Know the area that you will be caching in, if possible, do some research.

  13. Discuss how to properly plan an activity that uses GPS, including using the buddy system, sharing your plan with others, and considering the weather, route and proper attire. • • Plan ahead • What is the game/activity for? • Who will take part? Consider the skill/age level • Where will you get GPS units? Be sure you know how they work • Will GPS instruction be required? If so, how will it be taught? • Where and when will it be held? • Are bathrooms, parking and water available? • What safety precautions must be followed? Consider the weather • What materials do you need to set up the game? • How will you clean up after the activity?

  14. • Get any permissions that are needed • Permission slips for youth participants • Permission from property owner • Permission from your Patrol Leader’s Council, Scoutmaster and/or troop committee • • Set up the game ahead of time • Design and load the appropriate number of cache containers for your game • Hide them before people arrive • • Have clear rules and objectives • • Be sure each participant understands the safety rules • Buddy system • Proper adult supervision • Location of properly stocked first-aid kit (see merit badge pamphlet page 69 for kit contents) • Participants should have proper clothing and water • • Be sure each participant understands the principles of Leave No Trace (see requirement 2c below) • Ensure landscaping and animal habitat is not disturbed • • Play the game! • • After the game debrief by explaining what the game was about

  15. • Clean up the area and pick up all cache containers from their hiding places • Discuss the following with your counselor: • a. Why you should never bury a cache. • A GPS receiver will never get you to the exact spot (ground zero). You don’t want people digging holes searching for a container. This could destroy fragile environments and create ill will on the part of property owners. A good rule of thumb should be: “If a shovel, trowel or other ‘pointy’ object is used to dig, whether in order to hide or to find a cache, then it is not appropriate.” • b. How to use proper geocaching etiquette when hiding or seeking a cache, • NOTE: This is a good time to pass out “The Geocachers’ Creed” cards ( • • Practice Cache In Trash Out (CITO) • • Follow Leave No Trace guidelines in the natural environment • • Respect property rights and be careful of the area around the cache • • Follow all laws and regulations • • Do not endanger yourself or others • • Write an entry in the logbook at the cache • • Cache items are there for fun and trade. Try to leave something of equal value to what you take

  16. • Respect other visitors around the area • • Consider that children may find the cache so be appropriate • • Tell the cache owner if maintenance is needed • • Move Travel Bugs quickly • • Do not damage the cache • • Make sure the cache container closes securely to protect from the weather • • Don’t move a cache • • Obtain permission to copy an idea, add to a series, or place a cache close by an existing cache • and how to properly hide, • • Research the location • • Where are you taking them? • Is the location remote (a long hike), recreational (familiar place like parks and public areas), or routine (where people routinely gather? • Who else will be around? Many good cache locations are also favorite spots for the homeless to hang out. Consider likelihood of animals and poison plants.

  17. What are you taking them through? • Will they travel through a marsh or near a busy highway? Is there a trail or will they bushwack? Are there steep drop-offs in the area? • “It’s not about what you find; it’s about getting there.” • • What are they going to find? • Is there a great view, special significance to the location, or is this just for fun? Will this be a physical (getting to the cache), mental (multi-cache, mystery cache, well camouflaged cache) or stealth (an easily accessible container but difficult to retrieve and sign without being seen) challenge? • “When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.” – Sherlock Holmes. • • Prepare your cache (container and contents) • • Type of container you use will depend upon the hiding location • What will the environment support? • Is it secured from being dislodged or damaged from the weather or animals? • What other containers are located in the area? You want to mix up the

  18. How much maintenance will be needed? • Will a person look suspicious while searching for the cache? • • Cache containers should: • Be watertight and readily identifiable as a geocache • Contain a logbook protected in a plastic bag • Have trade items (when size permits) but NO food items or dangerous items • Include a note explaining what the cache is (available from • • Place your cache • Obtain the best coordinates (this may require several visits to the site) • Allow for accuracy, keeping in mind others will be walking in the area • post, • In submitting the details of your cache to you will need to know the following: • Cache type (traditional, multi-cache, letterbox hybrid, event, CITO, unknown, Earthcache or Wherigo) • Size (micro, small, regular, large, other) – there is no option for a “nano” size cache • Name of the cache • Identify who placed the cache (defaults to your user name) • Date placed • Coordinates – typically latitude and longitude in degrees and decimal minutes (hddd mm.mmm) • Difficulty and Terrain rating (1-5) – a guide is available on the cache listing page to assist you. Remember if you are a new user the cache may seem more difficult than it actually is. • Short description (generally 500 characters or less giving type

  19. Long description with information about the cache or cache location • Hints/spoilers • Note to reviewer (providing information regarding placement and contact person who gave you permission to place the cache will generally speed up the approval process and in some cases is required) • You will have to check that you have read and understand guidelines for listing a cache (a 12-page document available from • You will have to check that you have read and agree to terms of use agreement (available from • After you submit the cache for review you will have an opportunity to assign attributes (see Appendix 1). These provide information on what is allowed/not allowed, any special equipment that is required, if there are hazards present, what facilities are nearby, and if certain conditions exist. • Remember, a Scout geocacher who doesn’t follow the rules and etiquette of the sport risks tarnishing the reputation of all Scouts. • maintain, • • Check on your cache at least once or twice a year • • Check your cache whenever a note is posted indicating the need for maintenance • • Keep the cache stocked with trade items • • Replace logs when full or damaged • and dismantle a geocache.

  20. Caches should not be placed unless you can actively maintain them for at least 6 months • • Do not abandon a cache; remove container if you aren’t going to maintain it • • Archive the listing OR put it up for adoption • c. The principles of Leave No Trace as they apply to geocaching. • 1. Plan Ahead and Prepare • Know and comply with all policies • Have proper equipment, water and clothing • Let someone know where you are going and when you will return • Know how to use your GPS receiver; carry extra batteries and have a map and compass as backup • 2. Travel and Cache on Durable Surfaces • Use a map to find a route that will minimize impacts • When permitted and you must travel off-trail choose durable surfaces to avoid creating new paths, often called “geotrails” by cachers • Do not place a cache in sensitive locations • 3. Dispose of Waste Properly • Practice Cache In, Trash Out (CITO) by carrying an extra trash bag and hauling out any litter left by others

  21. . Leave What You Find • Preserve the past. Observe, but do not touch, cultural or historic structures and artifacts • Leave rocks, plants and other natural objects for others to enjoy • Practice the “lift, look, replace” technique • Never destroy any natural setting, whether hiding or seeking a geocache • A good clue can go a long way to avoid damage to the wrong “container” • 5. Minimize Campfire Impacts • Know fire regulations and guidelines. Not often relevant for geocaching, but good to remember. This could be a factor if you plan to cook while on a hiking trip. • 6. Respect Wildlife • Observe wildlife from a distance • Never feed wild animals • Never leave food of any kind in a cache; wildlife may find and destroy the cache and items may harm animals • Keep pets on a leash for their safety and the safety of wild animals • 7. Be Considerate of Other Visitors • Yield to others on the trail • Use the same courtesy when geocaching that you would show during any other Scout activity – don’t run, yell or shout. • Don’t trespass • Respect the rights and experiences of other visitors; geocaching is only one of many outdoor recreational activities • Take breaks on durable surfaces away from the trail

  22. Explain the following terms used in geocaching: • Waypoint – A reference point for a physical location on Earth. It may be a landmark, a destination, or a point along a route on the way to reaching the destination (hence its name). Waypoints are defined by a set of coordinates that typically include latitude and longitude (or UTM coordinates), and sometimes altitude. • Log – The logbook, notebook, or log sheet inside a cache contains information from the cache owner and provides a place for geocachers to write their name and the date they visited the cache. Space may also be available for visitors to write notes or leave comments for the cache owner. A virtual logbook for the cache may be available online. • Cache – Short for “geocache.” A container hidden at specific coordinates that include, at minimum, a logbook for geocachers to sign when they find the cache. Caches often also contain “treasure,” or items to trade. • Accuracy – No civilian GPS receiver (GPSr) has perfect accuracy (freedom from error). The accuracy of a GPSr may be low due to interference from trees, power lines buildings, cliffs, or other features of the landscape that affect the strength of the satellite signals reaching the receiver.

  23. Difficulty & Terrain Ratings – Difficulty is a ranking system to describe how hard the cache is to find. A cache that can be found quickly is ranked 1 (easiest to find); a cache that is exceptionally well hidden is ranked 5 (hardest to find). Terrain describes the land features and how hard the cache is to get to. Terrain that can be traversed in a wheelchair has a rating of 1. A 1 rating means “flat and easy and not too far.” A 5 rating probably means you shouldn’t try it, as it will likely require special equipment, like scuba gear or mountaineers’ ropes. • NOTE: The Boy Scouts of America does not recommend that Scouts go after caches that have a terrain rating higher than 3.5, unless an adult has checked the cache ahead of time for age-appropriateness and safety. • Attributes – These icons on a cache detail are intended to provide helpful information to geocachers who wish to find specific types of caches. The icons represent unique cache characteristics, whether the cache is kid friendly, if it is available 24 hours a day, if you need special equipment, etc. • Trackable – Anything with a tracking number or other unique identifier that can be followed as the item travels from cache to cache.

  24. Choose five additional terms to explain to your counselor. • NOTE: A list of common words and acronyms is available on pages 75-77 of the merit badge pamphlet. If you are teaching a group you may want to go over more, just make sure they record at least 5 on their worksheet. Suggested terms to review include: • • DNF (Did Not Find) • • FTF (First To Find) • • Geohunt – A game involving geocaching to hunt for clues or caches. • • Muggle – Someone who doesn’t know about the sport of geocaching. You want to be careful that people don’t see what you are doing, as they might just take the cache. When someone has broken into a cache and ruined it, that is called “being muggled.” • • Spoiler – Information that gives away the location of the find. • • SWAG – “Stuff We All Get” refers to the toys and other trade items in a cache. • • TFTC (Thanks for the Cache) or TNLN (Took Nothing, Left Nothing) – acronyms often written on cache logs. • • Travel Bug – An item that travels from cache location to cache location with a trackable number written on a metal tag so you can record on the website where you picked it up and where you dropped it off. Travel Bugs often have a “mission” – getting to a certain state, for example.

  25. Explain how the Global Positioning System (GPS) works. • The GPS is an electronic navigation network that uses signals from satellites orbiting the Earth to determine specific locations on or near Earth’s surface. At any given time there are 24-30 GPS satellites in orbit. • A GPS receiver (GPSr) calculates its position by taking location and time data sent from each satellite to measure the distance to that satellite. Once the receiver has detected signals from a minimum of 4 satellites it can calculate the receiver’s location and altitude and display those coordinates on the GPSr screen. • You can also enter a location into a GPSr and it will calculate how far you are from that point, as well as the direction you need to travel to reach that destination – usually the shortest route without regards for topography, roads or other obstacles you may come across. • If anything blocks or interferes with the satellite signals – trees, buildings, canyons, valleys, weather conditions – the ability of the GPSr to calculate the location accurately is degraded

  26. Do the following: • a. Show you know how to use a map and compass and explain why this is important for geocaching. • NOTE: Any Scout who has completed Second Class Requirements 1a and 1b (BSA Handbook, 12th Edition) can be considered to know how to use a map and compass for the purpose of this merit badge, however the counselor should not sign off on this requirement if taught in class because it doesn’t meet all criteria. • Knowing how to use a map and compass for this merit badge includes: • • Use compass to determine magnetic north • • Set compass to a desired bearing • • Properly orient the topographic map to north (Make sure the boys compensate for the declination between magnetic north and true north using the map key.) • • Determine the bearing from one point on a topographic map to another point • • Use the map scale to determine the distance between the two points • • Understand how to “read” contour lines and identify map symbols using the map key • • Determine the “best” route between two points • • Identify the latitude and longitude gridlines, identified by the black dashes on the topo map (understanding how to use these grids is discussed below) • • Show how to identify the latitude and longitude on a state highway map

  27. Identify the UTM gridlines, identified by the blue dashes on the topo map (understanding how to use these grids is discussed below • • You DO NOT have to actually follow a course to meet this requirement. • There are several reasons a map and compass are important for geocaching: • 1) Your GPS unit can – and will – fail. • • Batteries may die • • Location may prevent good satellite reception • • You may have programmed in the wrong coordinates and head in the wrong direction • • Your unit might get damaged or lost • 2) Your GPS unit won’t tell you what is between you and your objective. • • GPS unit only tells you how far and in what direction • • A map (when in backcountry) identifies elevation changes and topographic barriers • • A map (in urban areas) identifies roads that might lead you closer to a cache • 3) A good map can help you plan your best route. • b. Explain the similarities and differences between GPS navigation and standard map reading skills and describe the benefits of each. • Similar – Both involve plotting a course from one point to another. • Different – A compass will always point to the correct bearing; a GPS unit requires you to be moving for the direction arrow to point to the correct bearing. • Different – GPS only tells you how far and in what direction; map shows what is in the way • There are many other possibilities. As a group just brainstorm and discuss comments

  28. Explain the UTM (Universal Transverse Mercator) system • NOTE: This requirement is possibly the most difficult to teach if you are not familiar with UTM coordinates. Make sure you understand the system. • • It is not possible to “project” a round globe onto a flat surface without some distortion to the north-south (longitude) lines. • • To simplify map use, cartographers (map makers) overlay a rectangular grid onto the map creating two sets of straight, parallel lines. • UTM GRIDS: Zones and Bands/Eastings and Northings • • The UTM system divides the Earth into 60 zones, numbered 1-60 (each is 6 degrees wide) starting at the International Date Line in the Pacific Ocean and go east around the entire surface. • • Horizontal bands (each 8 degrees of latitude) are lettered from south to north, beginning with the letter C (at 80 degrees south) and ending with the letter X (at 84 degrees north). The letters I and O are skipped to avoid confusion with the numbers 1 and 0. • • Each of these 6-degree x 8-degree zones is considered separately when calculating coordinates using the UTM system. • • In each zone a vertical grid line is superimposed down the middle (called the “central meridian”) and identified with an easting value of 500,000 meters. As you move west in the zone the meters will decrease; as you move east the meters will increase. This prevents problems as the latitude lines narrow as you near the Poles. (At the Equator the maximum range for Eastings is from 167,000 meters to 833,000 meters

  29. As you head north away from the equator (0 meters) the numbers increase. (For locations south of the equator, the equator is assigned a value of 10,000,000 meters and decreases as you move south, thus avoiding negative numbers.) • • Intervals of 1,000 meters are indicated by full grid lines on the map. Using a grid overlay (see Requirement 5d below) you can more precisely pinpoint a location. • • Distances are always measured from the nearest southwest corner of a zone and measured in meters east, then meters north. • • The Blue Grass Council headquarters is located at 16S E 724787 N 4208563. This is read as UTM zone 16, band S, 724,787 meters east (which is 224,787 meters east of the zone’s meridian line) and 4,208,563 meters north of the equator. • • Your biggest problem will occur when you move from one zone to another (remember the easting value is measured from each zone’s central meridian.) • and how it differs from the latitude/longitude system used for public geocaches.

  30. LATITUDE • • Latitude (also called parallels) divides the Earth horizontally in a north-south direction. • • The Equator is defined as 0 degrees. • • Lines of latitude are measured by their degrees north or south of the Equator (up to 90 degrees at the North and South Poles. • LONGITUDE • • Longitude (also called meridians) divides the Earth into segments with lines meeting at the North and South Poles. • • These lines divide the Earth vertically in an east-west position. • • The Prime Meridian, which runs through Greenwich, England, has a value of 0 degrees. • • Lines of longitude are measured by their degrees east or west of the Prime Meridian (up to 180 degrees in each direction).

  31. YOUR GPS UNIT • • Most GPS units are preset to display lat/lon coordinates using degrees and decimal minutes (each degree is divided into 60 minutes) and it is the default format on • • IMPORTANT – Latitude and Longitude may also be displayed in a degrees, minutes and seconds format. In this case each minute is divided into 60 seconds. Make sure you have the correct coordinate system set. (You will practice changing the coordinate format setting in Requirement 4.) • • A position is always stated with latitude first, followed by longitude. • • The Blue Grass Council headquarters is located at N 37 59.814 W 084 26.401. This is read as 37 degrees, 59.814 minutes north of the Equator and 84 degrees, 26.401 minutes west of the Prime Meridian. • EXERCISE 1: UNDERSTANDING UTM COORDINATES

  32. Show how to plot a UTM waypoint on a map. Compare the accuracy to that found with a GPS unit. • • On a 1:24,000 USGS topographic map (also called a 7.5 minute map because it represents 7.5 minutes of lat/lon) the map grid is a 1,000 meter square (identified by the blue tick-marks along the edges). • • An overlay tool to break this grid into 100-meter squares for greater precision is available from ($3 plus shipping and handling). There is also a tutorial on how to use the overlay on this site, but information is also printed in the merit badge pamphlet (pages 35-36). The overlay tool, while not necessary for the class, greatly improves understanding its value for navigation and is highly recommended. • • Every minute of a degree is equal to approximately 1.15 miles, or 6,532 feet. It is therefore possible to determine your position to within approximately 6.532 feet using this format. UTM coordinates allow you to determine your position to within 1 meter – approximately 3.28 feet. • • For navigation using a topo map, the UTM system will give you a more precise location and it is easier to calculate. (For this reason, Backpacker magazine describes great hikes using UTM coordinates. • EXERCISE 1

  33. Describe the four steps to finding your first cache to your counselor. • 1. Research • • Register for a free membership at • • Click “Hide & Seek a Cache” then enter your zip code and click “go” to find geocaches nearest you. (You can also enter your zip code or city under “search for geocaches” on the homepage. • • The list that appears gives information on how far a cache is, what type it is, how difficult it is to find, and how difficult the terrain. Choose a geocache from the list and click on its name. • • Enter the coordinates of the geocache into your GPSr. • • Study maps of the area (scroll down to on-line Google maps). You can choose a variety of views, including road maps, topo maps and satellite maps. • 2. Safety • • Tell someone where you are going and when you expect to return. • • Use the Buddy System. • • Bring a personal first-aid kit, a compass, your maps, extra batteries and water. It’s also a good idea to pack along food and extra clothing.

  34. 3. The Hunt • • Travel to the starting point. • • If you have to walk any distance mark your starting location as a waypoint to guide your return. • • Use your GPS device to guide you to the geocache. The research you did before starting out should provide clues. • • As you near the cache (generally about 300 feet away) don’t rely so much on the GPSr’s pointer arrow. Concentrate more on the overall distance decreasing. • • Always pay attention to your surroundings. Be conscious of where you are walking, both for your own safety and for the environment. • • The final approach (30 feet) can be the most difficult. At this point look around for likely hiding spots. • 4. The Actual Find • • You’ve found it! But, you’re not done. • • Sign the cache’s logbook with your geocaching name, the date, and a few words about your experience. • • Make any trades for “swag” items. • • Replace the cache exactly as you found it. • • Pick up any trash you find nearby. • • When you return home, log your visit online by going back to the cache’s page at

  35. Then mark and edit a waypoint. • NOTE: Students are also required to teach this skill in Requirement 4. Editing a waypoint could include giving it a unique name (instead of the default number). • 7. With your parent’s permission, go to Type in your zip code to locate public geocaches in your area. Share the posted information about three of those geocaches with your counselor.

  36. Do ONE of the following: • a. If a Cache to Eagle® series exists in your council, visit at least three of the 12 locations in the series. Describe the projects that each cache you visit highlights, • As of January 1, 2011, there were 12 Cache to Eagle caches in the Blue Grass Council with several more expected to be published in the first quarter of the year. • and explain how the Cache to Eagle® program helps share our Scouting service with the public. • • Showcases Scouting’s commitment to Service and Leadership • • Showcases Scouting’s contributions to communities – on average, each Scout conducts 167 service hours as part of their Eagle Scout Service Project

  37. • Helps to build goodwill with the public • • Serves as a tremendous source of pride for Scouters and Scouting alumni • • NOTE: You can verify the find by looking on the cache page or user’s profile • -OR- b. Create a Scouting-related Travel Bug® that promotes one of the values of Scouting. • • At all levels, Scouting helps youth achieve the aims of strengthening character, physical and mental fitness, and good citizenship. • • The Scout Law: Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brace, Clean and Reverent. • • Care for the environment (Leave No Trace) • • Duty to God • • Leadership • "Release" your Travel Bug into a public geocache and, with your parent’s permission, monitor its progress at for 30 days. Keep a log, and share this with your counselor at the end of the 30-day period. • Have the Scout give you the TB tracking number and name. • A printout of the TB tracking record from will fulfill this requirement.

  38. c. Set up and hide a public geocache, following the guidelines in the Geocaching merit badge pamphlet. Before doing so, share with your counselor a six-month maintenance plan for the geocache where you are personally responsible for the first three months. • The guidelines are listed on pages 53-55 of the merit badge pamphlet. • NOTE: You will have covered all these guidelines if you use all the materials in this instructor’s guide. • After setting up the geocache, with your parent’s permission, follow the logs online for 30 days and share them with your counselor. • Have the Scout give you the cache number and name. • You can check out the logs by going to the cache page on • -OR- d. Explain what Cache In Trash Out (CITO) means, • • CITO has been an ongoing environmental initiative since 2002. • • CITO is a way to contribute to the beautification of local parks and lands. • • CITO events are set up and sponsored by geocachers, not other organizations. • • CITO should be practiced on every hunt • and describe how you have practiced CITO at public geocaches or at a CITO event. • This is pretty straight forward, but you want to know what THEY did to practice CITO. Ask for specifics.

  39. Then, either create CITO containers to leave at public caches, or host a CITO event for your unit or for the public. • • CITO containers are easy to make. • • Essentially this is a trash bag left in a cache for others to use to clean up the area around that cache. • • Although the styles may vary, all CITO containers will have a sticker that gives your Geocaching user name, unit number, and a message about what it is. • • You can stuff a plastic grocery bag into a 35mm film canister, fold it tightly and secure it with masking tape, or fold it tightly and place it in a snack-sized zip-top baggie. • 9. Plan a geohunt for a youth group such as your troop or a neighboring pack, at school, or your place of worship. Choose a theme, set up a course with at least four waypoints, teach the players how to use a GPS unit, and play the game. • Tell your counselor about your experience, and share the materials you used and developed for this event.

  40.  BGC Trash…Then cache CITO -- Fort Boonesborough • Hosted by: kathysgeek • Event Date: 03/26/2011 • N 37° 53.838 W 084° 15.842 • UTM: 16S E 740567 N 4197949 • Size:  (Not chosen) • Difficulty: • Terrain: • Log Counts:  4 Write note  5 Will Attend  1 Publish Listing  • Please note: To use the services of, you must agree to the terms and conditions in our disclaimer. • Cache Note • Short Description • Come join us to help clean up a very nice historical park in the Bluegrass. This event is affiliated with the Bluegrass Council Boy Scouts of America, but all cachers and non-cachers are welcome. I would greatly appreciate help from experienced cachers to make this event a success. If you want to try out any new cache ideas it would be great. • Long Description • DETAILS TBD: Sorry that the details are a work in progress, but I wanted to get this event announced early. Suffice it to say that I will place a number of event caches and am looking to line up sponsors to give out freebies. There will be drawings for T-shirts, ball caps and other items. -------------------------------------------------- We will meet at 9:00 am at the posted coordinates to start the clean up. After a 12:00 lunch, the caching fun will begin. TBD on what will be provided. If lunch is provided, there will likely be a nominal $5 fee that will also include a participation patch for scouts. There will be an intro to geocaching class and at least 15 event caches will be placed. Many of the caches will be situated in easy terrain, but there are a few spots in the woods that will warrant a '2' rating. Bluegrass Pride will be on hand to distribute watershed information present conservation displays. These are appropriate for all ages.