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BookwormGoesGeo

What qualifies as an EarthCache?

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I am hoping to set up multiple EarthCaches in my home county within the next few months. Compared to the counties around it, which have upwards of ten EarthCaches each, mine shows a real lack of EarthCaches with only two. It's really a shame since I live in an area that had a good deal of glacier activity and is full of unique geological features that could be highlighted.

 

I do have a few questions of what qualifies as an EarthCache, though. For example, would I be able to place multiple EarthCaches at a wetlands, which features such elements as Northern wet forest, Southern dry-mesic forset, Southern sedge meadow, shrub-carr, an open bog, and two seepage lakes? I'm not necessarily implying that every single one of these elements would get their own EarthCache, but I could have one for the forests/meadow, one for the bog, and one for the seepage lakes (for example).

 

There is also a swamp near my home that has an unusual combination of southern and northern wet-mesic forests and a marsh which is the largest freshwater cattail marsh in the United States.

 

Do forests, swamps, bogs, and marshes qualify as EarthCaches if there is something unique about them and I explain what processes created them? These are the ones currently on my mind, but what about floodplains, quarries, etc.? I'm just having trouble understanding what exactly is "geological" vs. what's not. Does it depend on the review or is there some comprehensive list of what "counts"?

 

Thank you in advance,

BGG

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I am hoping to set up multiple EarthCaches in my home county within the next few months. Compared to the counties around it, which have upwards of ten EarthCaches each, mine shows a real lack of EarthCaches with only two. It's really a shame since I live in an area that had a good deal of glacier activity and is full of unique geological features that could be highlighted.

 

I do have a few questions of what qualifies as an EarthCache, though. For example, would I be able to place multiple EarthCaches at a wetlands, which features such elements as Northern wet forest, Southern dry-mesic forset, Southern sedge meadow, shrub-carr, an open bog, and two seepage lakes? I'm not necessarily implying that every single one of these elements would get their own EarthCache, but I could have one for the forests/meadow, one for the bog, and one for the seepage lakes (for example).

 

There is also a swamp near my home that has an unusual combination of southern and northern wet-mesic forests and a marsh which is the largest freshwater cattail marsh in the United States.

 

Do forests, swamps, bogs, and marshes qualify as EarthCaches if there is something unique about them and I explain what processes created them? These are the ones currently on my mind, but what about floodplains, quarries, etc.? I'm just having trouble understanding what exactly is "geological" vs. what's not. Does it depend on the review or is there some comprehensive list of what "counts"?

 

Thank you in advance,

BGG

 

Earthcache.org

http://earthcache.org/

 

Getting started

How do I create an EarthCache?

As an EarthCache is a type of geocache, it follows all the geocaching.com rules for placing a cache. It also has to follow all the Earthcache Guidelines.

 

One of the best ways to develop your first Earthcache is to go and visit some existing EarthCaches to get a feel for what has been published in the past.

 

You can also contact the local geoaware reviewer, normally listed as the person who published the EarthCache, to get advice.

 

Earthcache.org Guidelines

http://earthcache.org/

 

Groundspeak Guidelines

http://www.geocaching.com/about/guidelines.aspx

 

Help Center

http://support.Groundspeak.com/index.php?pg=kb.chapter&id=51

 

 

B.

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Suggestion: go to the other Earthcaches in your area. At least, read those cache pages.

 

http://www.geocaching.com/seek/nearest.aspx?tx=c66f5cf3-9523-4549-b8dd-759cd2f18db8&lat=43.667433&lng=-87.716600

 

I would also suggest that you get in contact with Pawn-of-Chaos, who has published 24 Earthcaches, including the one that you have found.

 

I think Earthcaches are an excellent opportunity for teamwork, if possible, for their creation.

 

 

B.

Edited by Pup Patrol

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Do forests, swamps, bogs, and marshes qualify as EarthCaches if there is something unique about them and I explain what processes created them? These are the ones currently on my mind, but what about floodplains, quarries, etc.? I'm just having trouble understanding what exactly is "geological" vs. what's not. Does it depend on the review or is there some comprehensive list of what "counts"?

 

 

Earthcaches are on the Geology. So the ecology of a site would not count. However the geology of why a marsh or bog exists and the formation would. However these are very difficult to create logging tasks for. Remember that you are showing and teaching someone about a unique feature. Often the geology or why a swamp exists is very difficult to do logging tasks for. Asking about the ecology, botany, or zoology that someone sees at the site would not work as a logging task.

Edited by BlueRajah

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Using the concept of Earth Science, the interactions of various disciplines... Now you may be able to work in the wetlands by illustrating the geological influences that create these environments. Perhaps the glacial features in the area may create Topography, Drainage and Soils conducive of wetlands? Perhaps identifying different soil types may help illustrate the various types of wetlands in your area? Remember wetlands have distinct vegetation which usually relates to the soil characteristics. Is there a state or geological society publication on the area that may help?

Edited by GEO WALKER

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For example, would I be able to place multiple EarthCaches at a wetlands..

 

As long as it's within the spirit of the following portion of the EC Guidelines:

 

EarthCaches that duplicate existing EarthCache information about the site or related sites may be rejected.

 

In other words, if you're planning on a series of Listings close together, you'll have to make sure that the topic and Logging Requirements aren't duplicated. Focusing on large scale features makes this more difficult, but if it's something unique to the location, it can be done.

 

Since you brought up glaciology as a potential topic, you might want to also look at the following Help Center article (i.e. particularly the fifth bullet point):

 

Limiting some Earthcache Types

 

Good luck!

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Thank you all so much for your help!

 

I did look at the EarthCache guidelines, Pup_Patrol, but I found them to be a bit confusing because they’re so broad (understandably so). They mention things like glacial valleys, erosion, soils, etc., which could all play a role in the wetlands/swamps I’m working with if I spin my educational record right. I just wanted to make sure the ecology of the sites didn’t outweigh the geology, so to speak. I will be visiting at least a few more EarthCaches within the next week, so I’ll be able to get more data there. Pawn-of-chaos also seems like a great resource – thanks for pointing me in his direction!

 

Thanks for your suggestions as well, Geo Walker! I think focusing on the soil might be an interesting route to take in these wetlands. For example, how did soil that supports two different kinds of forests wind up smack dab in the middle of my state? My guess is glaciers, which would be a way to tie in geology! That would also tie in how the area was made, which is what BlueRajah mentioned.

 

I’m not sure if I will be able to make multiple EarthCaches in the area I’m focusing on, but it is definitely filled with unique features. Thanks for your advice, Touchstone.

One more question. Do man-made features count as geology? I see some mines labeled as EarthCaches, so would the first man-made harbor be an acceptable EarthCache? They did alter the geology, so I would be able to discuss what the geology was originally and how/why it was altered to make it a safe harbor.

 

Thanks again!

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Man Made Features such as mining operations and their remnants can be used in an EC. You may also want to look at how local geology plays into land use as well. These may help:

 

RECYCLING GEOLOGY GC34N3V

LAND USE GEOLOGY and MAN GC34N38

 

And yes both ECs use the same information signs but for completely different lessons...

Edited by GEO WALKER

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Remember that the sign is not the EarthCache. The Earthcache is what you see. You can use information from the signs to educate and teach the people visiting. However they should use that information to perform the logging task. One of the biggest errors is to make them into old school virtuals and ask for a word off the sign, or a number off a post.

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I suppose if it is a swamp a logging task could be to measure the density of the soil and estimate how much of the consents of your soil sample is water by weighting it and then allowing the sample to dry out and seeing how much the sample then weighs.

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Thanks again everyone for your help. I've gotten permission from a park ranger to place an EarthCache in a wetlands near my home! In my lesson, I talked about how the area was formed geologically and how the soil/water makes certain plants more likely to grow (the water flowed over rocks, which ended up making it more alkaline). I think as a logging task, I'll ask the cacher to take the pH of the water. I'm going to go look at the area again to see what other tasks I can think of.

 

Just as another quick question, how many tasks do you personally include for your EarthCaches? I know it will obviously vary by the area you're placing the cache in, but is two or three an acceptable amount?

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I usually shoot for 3, too many requirements may scare off some folks.

Same here. Occasionally 4, if there's some point to be made. My Logging Requirements usually fall into the following format:

 

1. Describe something at GZ and how it relates to the Description.

2. Compare and contrast.

3. Draw some sort of conclusion based on what's been read or observed.

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I usually shoot for 3, too many requirements may scare off some folks.

Same here. Occasionally 4, if there's some point to be made. My Logging Requirements usually fall into the following format:

 

1. Describe something at GZ and how it relates to the Description.

2. Compare and contrast.

3. Draw some sort of conclusion based on what's been read or observed.

 

I agree, I usually will number one or two more, but they are book-keeping not logging tasks. But if I do not put a number in front of them people miss them.

I will ask them who was in their group they are submitting answers for (if a person is submitting for a few people). Then I know who to attach the logs with, and I had a person saying "I was there with Ben". The catch was, I was there with Ben, and this person was not with us.

I also ask for them to include the GC code and/or cache name. If you start to get a number of EarthCaches, sometimes it can take a few minutes to figure out what they are writing about.

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One of the biggest errors is to make them into old school virtuals and ask for a word off the sign, or a number off a post.

 

I guess that happens because still so many ECs of this type exist because some years ago at least in the areas I'm familiar with ECs with geological logging tasks and which were not based on copying some words from a sign were almost non existent.

 

On the other hand, if the trend goes towards sharing the answers (which in some areas is unfortunately the case), then it does not matter that much as those cachers do not care about learning anyway.

 

As the specific example talked about here is regarded, I agree with you: Finding really educational logging tasks for a wetland cache of the described type seems very difficult to me and I need to admit that my own knowledge would not suffice to come up with such tasks and even if it would, then most visitors would have an issue with answering the questions.

 

For many potential EC locations finding logging tasks which are both educational but not too difficult seems the major challenge to me, much harder than the writeup of the EC itself.

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