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EarthCache or GeologyCache?

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I was disappointed when my first earthcache submission was quickly denied because it wasn't primarily geology-oriented. Looking at the guidelines at earthcache.org, the first guideline is EarthCaches must provide an earth science lesson. Unfortunately, the (earth science defined) link next to that guideline takes you to a list of five bullets, all of which list geology as their primary requirement.

 

I grew up where the definition of Earth Science matched what Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earth_science) lists as the fields of science that comprise Earth Science

  • Geography
  • Geology
  • Geophysics
  • Soil science
  • Ecology
  • Hydrology
  • Atmospheric sciences

 

I understand the need to tie the earthcache to a physical location, which makes Geophysics and Atmospheric Sciences difficult. I also understand not including Natural Sciences (like Biology, Zoology, etc.), but only including Geology seems shortsighted.

 

My specific cache dealt with a new Rain Garden installed in a local park overlooking the Geneesee River. The write-up focused primarily on the Ecology benefits of using the environment to collect and filter water to reduce sediment and contaminants from entering the local waterways. It also can help reduce effects of erosion. I think this is a great example of an Earth Science lesson and would benefit from people visiting and understanding the environmental impact of the area. It's definitely not much of a Geology lesson though, so it doesn't look like it will become an earthcache.

 

I think that the rigid interpretation of Earth Science as "only Geology" should change to allow for caches like this one to be published.

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I was disappointed when my first earthcache submission was quickly denied because it wasn't primarily geology-oriented. Looking at the guidelines at earthcache.org, the first guideline is EarthCaches must provide an earth science lesson. Unfortunately, the (earth science defined) link next to that guideline takes you to a list of five bullets, all of which list geology as their primary requirement.

 

I grew up where the definition of Earth Science matched what Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earth_science) lists as the fields of science that comprise Earth Science

  • Geography
  • Geology
  • Geophysics
  • Soil science
  • Ecology
  • Hydrology
  • Atmospheric sciences

 

I understand the need to tie the earthcache to a physical location, which makes Geophysics and Atmospheric Sciences difficult. I also understand not including Natural Sciences (like Biology, Zoology, etc.), but only including Geology seems shortsighted.

 

My specific cache dealt with a new Rain Garden installed in a local park overlooking the Geneesee River. The write-up focused primarily on the Ecology benefits of using the environment to collect and filter water to reduce sediment and contaminants from entering the local waterways. It also can help reduce effects of erosion. I think this is a great example of an Earth Science lesson and would benefit from people visiting and understanding the environmental impact of the area. It's definitely not much of a Geology lesson though, so it doesn't look like it will become an earthcache.

 

I think that the rigid interpretation of Earth Science as "only Geology" should change to allow for caches like this one to be published.

 

It is wise to read the listing guidelines BEFORE you develop a hide of any type. It seems you read some of them AFTERWARD. While it is understandable that you would not focus on Earthcache guidelines when planning a Traditional Cache, you were planning to hide an Earthcache - and acknowledged that you were familiar with the guidelines.

 

Now you are suggesting Groundspeak should change the guidelines that you only became aware of after the fact. The problem is, that is not actually a guideline enforced by Groundspeak. You and Groundspeak enter into an Earthcache partnership with the Geological Society of America. Do you see now why the only focus of Earthcaches is Geology? So no matter what Wikipedia has to say about Earth Science, I don't think they have any interest in expanding that focus. And Groundspeak can't help you.

 

EarthCaches™ - Groundspeak partners with the Geological Society of America to administer this educational cache type in which cachers visit a unique and specific geoscience feature. Additional guidelines and rules are listed at EarthCache.org. For additional guidance about EarthCache development, see our Knowledge Book articles.

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I have seen other rain gardens (and natural wetlands) used as EarthCaches, so perhaps your focus was too much on ecology, and not on "earth science". It seems to me that a rain garden could be written to fall under "Geological processes - erosion..." for example. Was there any feedback from the Reviewer about why your EC was denied? Use those comments as a guide for rewriting your cache.

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I’ve run into this a few times before. Initially their Teachers Educational Guide used the term Earth Science w/out mention of this restriction.

 

Having a BS in Geology as well as a MS in Earth Science I do not necessarily agree w/GSA’s restrictive definition. They are in fact a professional group of Geologist… Being a retired government worker I have learned one thing… no matter how much you feel you are correct don’t argue with the person with the Approval Stamp… https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earth_science

 

As mentioned above, I find it best to check out other caches w/the same lesson.

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I grew up where the definition of Earth Science matched what Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earth_science) lists as the fields of science that comprise Earth Science

  • Geography
  • Geology
  • Geophysics
  • Soil science
  • Ecology
  • Hydrology
  • Atmospheric sciences

 

My specific cache dealt with a new Rain Garden installed in a local park overlooking the Geneesee River. The write-up focused primarily on the Ecology benefits of using the environment to collect and filter water to reduce sediment and contaminants from entering the local waterways. It also can help reduce effects of erosion. I think this is a great example of an Earth Science lesson and would benefit from people visiting and understanding the environmental impact of the area. It's definitely not much of a Geology lesson though, so it doesn't look like it will become an earthcache.

 

First of all, I'm sorry your listing was disapproved, especially your first one. One of my first was disapproved as well; even though I worked really hard on a listing for a glacial lagoon in Iceland and took pains to distinguish it and teach different lessons than an EC at a nearby glacial lagoon, it was disapproved based solely on the proximity rule. So I understand your disappointment, and I'd encourage you to keep trying and not let this discourage you from planning out other earthcaches.

 

With the disclaimer that Groundspeak has made it clear that no prior cache placement counts as precedent for future cache hides, I just wanted to point out that I currently own a few caches that are not strictly on geology that touch on some of the areas you list above.

 

Hydrology: Bisbee's Continental Divide? and Vendome Well Earthcache

 

Soil science: Alabama Black Belt Earthcache and Bama Series: Alabama's State Soil

 

And more pertinent to the discussion at hand, one I did on a rain garden bioretention basin: Maxwell Boulevard Bioretention Basin

 

Again, this isn't necessarily precedent you can use to argue your case. But if it helps you to revise your submission and get it approved, please feel free to use whatever you want from our rain garden bioretention basin listing.

Edited by hzoi

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I think that the rigid interpretation of Earth Science as "only Geology" should change to allow for caches like this one to be published.

 

Perhaps you could explain in more detail why the Geological Society of America should agree to that.

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I think that the rigid interpretation of Earth Science as "only Geology" should change to allow for caches like this one to be published.

 

Perhaps you could explain in more detail why the Geological Society of America should agree to that.

 

Narcissa, sometimes your opinion, while always refreshing, is unwarranted. Other earthcaches have been published on this exact topic; while the others may have had an additional geologic focus that may have been lacking in this case, this is certainly not a topic that's foreign to the GSA or to the geoaware reviewers or that is completely outside the scope of what they have allowed in the past.

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I think that the rigid interpretation of Earth Science as "only Geology" should change to allow for caches like this one to be published.

 

Perhaps you could explain in more detail why the Geological Society of America should agree to that.

 

Narcissa, sometimes your opinion, while always refreshing, is unwarranted. Other earthcaches have been published on this exact topic; while the others may have had an additional geologic focus that may have been lacking in this case, this is certainly not a topic that's foreign to the GSA or to the geoaware reviewers or that is completely outside the scope of what they have allowed in the past.

Relevant Guideline:

 

Please be advised that there is no precedent for placing geocaches.

 

After several revisions to the Earthcache Guidelines, I think it's fair to say that what was allowed in the past, is not a fair indicator of what will get Published today.

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After several revisions to the Earthcache Guidelines, I think it's fair to say that what was allowed in the past, is not a fair indicator of what will get Published today.

 

That's very true. My Rain Garden Earthcache would not be published under currant guidelines. :)

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Relevant Guideline:

 

Please be advised that there is no precedent for placing geocaches.

 

After several revisions to the Earthcache Guidelines, I think it's fair to say that what was allowed in the past, is not a fair indicator of what will get Published today.

Scroll up to my previous post and you'll see I summarized that guideline regarding no precedent, twice. However, as to your second note, the big revamp was in December 2012, which is when our bioretention earthcache was published. A quick search reveals that several others have been published more recently, the latest I saw was GC5HHH1. If GSA wants to come out and say that yes, they have since tightened down more, well and good, but I don't see that's necessarily the case.

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I'm certain you could site many such instances, but concerning the OP's original point to broaden the definition of an Earthcache, it seems like a very arduous uphill journey. They might find it a more productive use of time getting themselves elected to lead the Sierra Club, and once holding the reigns of power, approach Groundspeak to partner a new cache type that more closely aligns with their definition of Earth Sciences.

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I'm certain you could site many such instances, but concerning the OP's original point to broaden the definition of an Earthcache, it seems like a very arduous uphill journey. They might find it a more productive use of time getting themselves elected to lead the Sierra Club, and once holding the reigns of power, approach Groundspeak to partner a new cache type that more closely aligns with their definition of Earth Sciences.

 

From what I have heard, Groundspeak does not seem interested in developing new partnerships for different types of caches, so perhaps it is more productive to complain here. The educators guide provides somewhat expansive definition:

 

EarthCache sites are generally located where there is an interesting geologic or geographic phenomenon or feature. Because many different people create EarthCache sites, the topics or themes of the caches vary greatly. Consequently, the sites can provide information on a wide range of landforms, vegetation, and rock strata to climate, soil types, population distribution, or human impacts on the landscape. The possibilities are limitless, provided they offer some nugget of information about a particular place and the land that lies beneath it

 

The Groundpeak definition is a bit more narrow:

 

An EarthCache is a special geological location people can visit to learn about a unique feature of the Earth. EarthCache pages include a set of educational notes along with coordinates. Visitors to EarthCaches can see how our planet has been shaped by geological processes, how we manage its resources and how scientists gather evidence.
Edited by geodarts

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From what I have heard, Groundspeak does not seem interested in developing new partnerships for different types of caches, so perhaps it is more productive to complain here.

 

Over time I've only ever seen the Earthcache guidelines get stricter.

 

Earthcaches are the only part of this game where the relative quality of the caches published is increasing along with the quantity.

 

The take-away for the OP should be a lesson that many of us have had to learn in one way or another: read the guidelines, then read them again.

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