I received an email late one night last week that I had been waiting for for nearly three years. Back in 2010, I had an idea to do a geocaching project with my students. If you are not familiar with geocaching, the idea is to use a GPS device like your smartphone, to locate “caches” that other geocachers have hidden all over the world. Each cache contains assorted items that folks place inside. [Learn more HERE]
Occasionally, you might find what is called a “travel bug” inside. It’s a dog tag with a code on it that is attached to a trinket. By visiting geocaching.com and entering the code, you’ll discover what goal the owner of the object has for it. If you can help it on its way, take it with you and deposit it another cache as soon as possible.
My students thought it would be fun to send travel bugs to our blogging buddies around the world. We assembled a collection of items to attach the bugs to and I deposited them in some local caches. All but one experienced various adventures over the course of the school year. One of our bugs even made it to Ms. Smith’s class in Canada. We celebrated with a Skype call and they made a wonderful webpage to toast our dragon
The message I received the other night notified me that the last active travel bug from that batch had reached its final destination – a cache located in a forest, near a school, north of Melbourne, Australia. Our bug, named Kallista Jake, travelled over 47,000 miles to reach its goal! It passed through the hands of dozens of geocachers along the way and got a very big boost in milage from a wonderful FedEx pilot named Frank.
I’m astonished. I’ve been sending bugs around the world for several years now, but nothing like this has ever happened. The school we sent it to is on summer holiday break now so no one is around to pick up Jake. Hopefully, it will remain safe in the cache until students return.
You can read the original blog post I wrote as we sent off our bugs here. Kallista Jake has his own page on geocaching.com so you can check out his travels. He is currently awaiting retrieval in this cache. If any readers of my blog know any geocachers near Melbourne, please notify me
Do you have any experiences you would like to share about geocaching? It is a great family activity!
You can discover for yourself where Jake is by pasting these coordinates into a mapping website like Google Maps. S 37° 54.460 E 145° 21.899