Friday, June 10, 2011

Community effort, part 1: Geocaching and "Cache in Trash out"

This is the first post of my series on various volunteer community projects and actions related to environment and sustainability. This first post introduces Geocaching and the "Cache in Trash out" environmental initiative supported by the worldwide geocaching community.

What is Geocaching ?

First, a short introduction. Geocaching is treasure hunting hobby, where you search for hidden treasures around the world, in various locations, with the help of a GPS-enabled device. Coordinates or hints on how to find them are posted on a web site dedicated to geocaching. There are many, one of the most popular (and first) is that started it all in 2000.

There are over 1 million geocaches hidden all over the world. A basic geocache is just a container with a logbook. When one finds a geocache, an entry is added to the logbook and also logged on a geocaching website that lists that particular cache. Usually a rating system is used to describe how easy or hard a geocache is to find and reach.
Geocaches can be places almost anywhere (that is open to the  public, with some specific rules), in cities or out in the wild, often located near something special, for example like a beautifull view or something geolocialy interesting, or just simply fun in some way. Anyone can place a cache.
A geocache can also be an event where geocachers meet, discuss and/or do something at a specific location.

Cache In Trash Out

"Cache In Trash Out" or CITO for short, is environmental initiative practised by the worldwide geocaching community where we, very simply, collect trash. A CITO can be an a bigger organized event or just something we do when out searching for a cache. Basically it means that we collect trash along trails and places when we search for caches. And it's easy, all you need is trash bag (and maybe some gloves) !

A CITO event is a much larger clean-up event where a number of volunteer geocachers gather to clean-up some particular place, for example a park. The event can also be something else than trash pickup, it can focus on anything good for the environment.

Various sized CITO events are organized around the world almost daily, anyone can set up one. Most events are done by volunteers without any external help. But some even get help or sponsored by municipalities or other organization. For example in this event the city of Porvoo sponsors waste bags and equipment for the CITO participants.

More information

Interested in geocaching or organsing/sponsoring a CITO event? Here are some pointers to some geocaching services and a more in-depth description about geocaching.

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