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Fast Class: Geocaching – basic treasure hunting

Monday, March 31st, 2014 | Posted by
Jessica Snowden (Photo by Victoria Snowden)

Jessica Snowden (Photo by Victoria Snowden)

What’s geocaching and letter boxing? Children love treasure hunts, geocaching and letter boxing are treasure hunting activities for any age. Jessica Snowden, a Sonoma County mom who has worked as a school aide and community club leader for more than 20 years, wants to share this fun activity with children at the Finley Community Center from 9 a.m.-noon April 12.

Victoria Snowden geo caching at Armstrong Woods in early 2013 (photo by Jessica Snowden)

Victoria Snowden geocaching at Armstrong Woods in early 2013 (photo by Jessica Snowden)

You might have heard of geocaching as something that just a few people on the periphery do, like participating in flash mobs. It’s actually a great family activity that gets kids out of the house and more in touch with their environment while they hunt for “treasure.” The treasure might be a matchbox car or a tiny plastic dinosaur, or even the spectacular view, but finding it is the point.

Here’s how geocaching works. Unless they’re being led by an expert like Snowden,  participants can start at geocaching.com. That site counts more than 2 million active geocaching sites and 6 million people playing worldwide. Snowden knows of about 35 sites near Howarth Park alone.

Typing in a ZIP code will bring up the geocaches in your area. Then you have a map to get you going and often a clue, usually a vague riddle. When you find the cache, there will be a log book to sign and date. Then you take a treasure and leave a treasure.

The benefits and learning opportunities of this all-ages activity are:

  • Becoming aware of your surroundings
  • Getting outdoors
  • Finding the beauty of a particular spot
  • Learning about a specific area
  • Getting exercise
  • Having fun

A variation of the game is letter boxing. With letter boxing, you have a unique stamp that is used to stamp the book.

Class at a glance:

What: Intro to Basic Treasure Hunting
When: 9 a.m.-noon Saturday, April 12, or Saturday, May May 24
Where: Willow Room at Finley Community Center, 2060 W. College Ave.
Who: Children 8-12
Cost: $40 ($50 for nonresident)
Information: classes page / 543-3737

For Snowden’s class, students will learn geocaching and letter boxing. They will make their own stamps and cache schwag. Weather permitting, they will head into the park for a geocaching adventure. Students should bring a light snack and water and wear comfortable clothes and shoes. This is a Santa Rosa Recreation and Parks activity.

  • Susan

    Are both classes identical? In other words, can you get what you need from the one class? Looks fun, thank you!

    • ahutchinson

      They are both beginning geocaching, so yes. This is just for kids, though. ;) Maybe we’ll have to have her teach the parents, too.

  • Jessica Snowden

    Each class is identical — offered different dates for people to attend. The class will include resources to bring home to get started as well as some items made (geoswag, letterboxing stamp, journal) to use when doing on their own. They’ll end class by figuring out a clue & finding their own “cache” in the park :)
    I’ve also been hearing more people ask for a class for adults. I’m considering doing a “family” type of class if I can get more interest. The more responses I get, the better.

  • Susan

    Hi Jessica! Do you know at this point if the May 24th class will happen? My grandkids really looked forward to the one in April that was cancelled, so I signed them up for the May one. Maybe list it in the online events in the PD so it will catch some more interested parties? Thank you!

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Ann Hutchinson is our Santa Rosa correspondent.
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