Presque Isle High School students hunt for geocaches at SAD 1 Educational Farm

2 years ago

PRESQUE ISLE, MaineDuring a chilly morning on Oct. 20, a group of 24 students split into 10 teams and went on a geocaching scavenger hunt at the SAD 1 Educational Farm off 340 State St.

Natural resources teacher Vicki McCurry led the geocaching hunt to encourage students to use technology for outdoor recreation at the Educational Farm, high school agricultural teacher Shelly Gross said.

For the last two weeks, Gross and McCurry taught students how to use the Garmin 64st GPS trackers with a series of activities such as a web quest for geocaching.

The four geocaches located throughout the Educational Farm are among 30 caches spread across Presque Isle. Eight out of the 10 student groups found all four geocaches using the GPS trackers. The geocaches were created in 2016 by Presque Isle high school students as part of their class assignment by Gross and McCurry.

“[Geocaching] is kind of a recreational activity. It’s like a worldwide treasure hunt that people hide these geocaches everywhere and they log them on,” McCurry said.

Geocaches are usually in waterproof containers. Typical items inside are a log book and pencil with an assortment of trinkets from different places, like commemorative coins. People can swap out and put back an item of equal or greater value in the geocaches once they find them. Unlike a time capsule, geocaching is a treasure hunting game anyone can participate in.

“We started this activity about seven or eight years ago, and we had a group of students in our [agricultural] science program that actually made the geocaches that are here on the school farm and now we use them every year as a teaching tool for the kids that we have,” Gross said.

Gross said they started using the geocaches as a recruitment tool to get their morning science students interested in GPS units and to come back in the afternoon and make a connection with natural resources.

“Even after we graduated and hid [the geocaches] we would get emails every now and then that someone had found them because you can log them online as well,” said Elizabeth Deschenes, one of the 2018 graduate students who created a geocache with her science partner Tyler Cray in 2016.

Deschenes has worked for the Educational Farm for eight years and enjoys that the geocaches are still promoting outdoor exploration and discovery.

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — October 20, 2022 — Sophomores Isaac Huchartt (left) and Dylan Fuller (right) walk through the apple orchard rows on the search for the SAD 1 Educational Farm’s geocaches. (Paul Bagnall | The Star-Herald)

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — October 20, 2022 — From left sophomores Isaac Underwood-Charette, Carter Folsom, and Jacob Cowett search for the geocaches at SAD 1 Educational Farm by GPS. (Paul Bagnall | The Star-Herald)

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — October 20, 2022 — From left sophomores Isaac Underwood-Charette, Jacob Cowett, and Carter Folsom track down the coordinates of the four SAD 1 Educational Farm geocaches. (Paul Bagnall | The Star-Herald)