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Finding earth for a cache?


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Here are the guidelines from the EarthCache site....to get specific ideas about your own placement I would recommend looking at other EarthCache listings on Geocaching.com.


Guidelines for Submittal

(Updated 19 August 2010)


Please read through these carefully to make sure your EarthCache submission meets these guidelines PRIOR to submittal.


1. EarthCache sites must provide Earth science lessons. They take people to sites that can help explain the formation of landscapes or to sites of interesting phenomena such as folds, faults, intrusions or reveal how scientists understand our Earth (such as fossil sites etc.)

2. EarthCache sites must be educational. They provide accurate but simple explanations of what visitors will experience at the site. Cache text must assume no previous knowledge of earth science. The educational notes must be written to a reading age of an upper middle school (14 year old) student. Avoid direct plagiarism from web sources and quote sources of information where appropriate. Additional technical or scientific notes can be provided for the scientific community at the end of the listing. All notes must be submitted in the local language. You may be requested to provide the notes in English to assist with the reviewing process.

3. EarthCache sites can be a single site, or a multiple cache. No items, box, or physical cache can be left at the site. You must have visited the site recently (within two months), checked the site is safe and taken multiple GPS readings to ensure accuracy of coordinates. You are responsible for disabling an EarthCache if conditions change to access, safety or other issues.

4. EarthCaches should highlight a unique feature. EarthCaches that duplicate existing EarthCache information about the site or related sites may be rejected. EarthCaches should be developed to provide a unique experience to the visitor to the region. Multiple EarthCaches on the same feature should be avoided and content rather than proximity will be the guiding principle.

5. EarthCache sites follow the geocaching principles and adhere to the principles of Leave No Trace outdoor ethics. Use waypoints to ensure cachers take appropriate pathways. Use established trails only. Do not create new trails to a site in order to concentrate use impacts. EarthCache sites will highlight the principle of collect photos - not samples. However, if there is no possible damage to a site which is outside of the public land system and approved by the site owner, small samples may be collected as part of the cache experience.

6. Logging of an EarthCache must involve visitors undertaking some educational task that relates to the Earth science at the site. This could involve measuring or estimating the size of some feature or aspect of the site, collecting and recording data (such as time of a tidal bore), or sending an e-mail to the cache owner with the answer to Earth science related questions they obtained by reading an information display. While photographs may be requested, they do not take the place of other logging requirements. Taking a photograph alone or asking people to do internet research does NOT meet these logging guidelines. Requests for specific content in the photograph (must include the visitor's face, for example) will be considered an additional logging requirement and must be optional. Cache owners may not delete the cache seeker's log based solely on optional tasks.

7. All EarthCache sites developed must have prior approval of the landowners before submission (depending on local country laws and customs). When applicable you must have written approval with the appropriate owner or land-managing agency. The name and contact details of the person from who you received approval MUST be given at time of submission in the “Note to Reviewer”. The developed text should be sent to the landholder/manager for approval*. * Please note that by placing an EarthCache on public land, even with approval, does not mean you can use the public land logo in your text. For example, only EarthCaches developed by US National Park Service personnel in their park can display the NPS logo in their cache text.

8. All EarthCache sites will be reviewed by the EarthCache Team to ensure appropriateness of the site and educational standard of the notes.

9. Damage to the site is unacceptable. Please be mindful of fragile ecosystems.

10. The Geological Society of America and the EarthCache Team retains the right to edit, modify, reject or archive any EarthCache that does not adhere to these guidelines, or for any other purpose that the Team deems as appropriate.

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Welcome SOTW!


There are three sources that I would recommend looking at in addition to the Earthcache Guidelines that were mentioned.


First, take a look at any Earthcache Listings that are near you home location. This will give you a feel for what has been done, as well as, avoiding duplicating any content that has already been covered (part of the "unique" requirement in the Guidelines).


Second, for a taste of some very well done Earthcaches, I would recommend looking at the so called, "Best 10 List" located near the middle of the following page on the GSA site:


Best 10 List


Finally, for little incite of what topics are no longer being accepted, you might want to look at the following thread that the German EC Reviewer started (also has some helpful information on pitfalls to avoid):


What is an Earthcache?


I won't kid you; it's a lot more work than throwing down some tupperware.


Good luck!

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You can find a place for an earthcache almost anywhere, albeit it may not be very interesting. If you care to look through my profile, I have created 3 earthcaches that are all within a 10 minute drive from my house, in an otherwise seemingly uninteresting (geologically speaking) area. Yes they are a bit more work initially to create, but you dont have the maintenance concerns of a typical cache, plus its unlikely to be muggled :huh:

I find the research and creation process of the earthcache to be very interesting, I just hope the visitors to the caches also feel the same way. The biggest stumbling block you usually run into is the permission aspect. If you are lucky enough to place an EC in an area that has a published policy, things can be much easier. My most recent EC is in a Metro Vancouver Park. MVP has recently published their geocaching policy, which states that permission is not required. Simply quoting that and providing the link to the reviewer was enough to get it published. I know that isn't relevant to you in FL, but if the local land manager has a posted policy, you can use that to your advantage. Good luck!

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On one of mine, the agency (US Forest Service local district) has a published policy stating that virtual caches (like Earthcaches) do not require permission or a permit. I placed one there with no trouble.


I have another at a city park and the city has no published policy, but they have no problems with caches of any type and I confirmed that information with a phone call to the city parks department.


I am working on publishing a third on a private nature preserve that took more work to get permission. I e-mailed several staff members my request, and then followed up a couple weeks later with another e-mail. They were cool with the Earthcache idea as long as it is along existing trails (which mine is, so that's cool). I had to speak with someone on the phone and have a discussion about the possibility of placing a physical cache in another part of the preserve, but I earned permission for that, also, with some restrictions. I am now awaiting approval regarding content.


As for finding something that meets the requirements of an earthcache, you need to spend some time researching your local geology. I'm working on a master's level environmental science degree (involves some master's level geology background coursework) and it took me quite some time to decide what I wanted to make earthcaches about and then find appropriate sites where I may feature the subject matter I wish to cover. It took me about 2yrs living in this area to learn the local geology sufficiently to generate some Earthcaches.


I would second the suggestion to find some university professors who may help you learn the local geology. Some other sources that might be worthwhile would be any local rockhound or fossil clubs or speleological societies (university professors are also oftentimes members of these groups). Visit local rock shops to find out what collectable samples can be found locally. Find as many geologic maps and stratigraphic sections for your area as you can. These have all been helpful to me in learning what I needed to know about the local geology.

Edited by mtbikernate
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