Posts filed under ‘Geocaching’

May Trainings for American Chestnut Data Collection

Rocky Gap - Leaves and Blaze Two organizations I’m fond of, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy and the American Chestnut Foundation, are working together to gather data on American Chestnut trees growing along the Appalachian Trail. If you are interested in volunteering, two training sessions are coming up this month.

The Trainings

  • May 23, 2009 Mountain Lake, VA -Katie Burke, UVA PhD Candidate studying chestnut ecology, with Kathy Marmet
  • May 30, 2009 Nantahala Outdoor Center, NC – Dr. Hill Craddock and Dr. Jennifer Boyd of University of Tennessee Chattanooga Dept of Biological & Environmental Sciences

Formal training from 10 am – approximately 3 pm

Data collection practicum after lunch break

Please reply to kathymarmet[at ]gmail[dot]com if you would like to participate

Space is limited for these trainings. Additional trainings may be scheduled if there is sufficient interest.

The Project
The Chestnut Project is part of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC)’s AT Mega-Transect Project, which seeks to engage the public in citizen-science efforts to collect data along the AT to raise awareness of threats to the environmental health of the Appalachian Region.

In 2008, scientists and volunteers from The American Chestnut Foundation (TACF) and Potomac Appalachian Trail Club (PATC) worked together to develop a pilot project to recruit and train volunteers to collect data on American chestnut trees identified along the Appalachian Trail (AT). Data from the 2008 effort and a slide show summary are at:

The Chestnut Project will be a long-term project. Data collected by project volunteers will contribute to understanding the status of surviving remnants of a species that played a key role in forests throughout Appalachia before being devastated by a blight fungus imported with Asian chestnut trees in the early Twentieth Century, and will inform TACF’s multi-generational effort to restore the American chestnut tree to its former place in the region’s forests. Data on individual trees with the potential to produce flowers will assist TACF in increasing the genetic diversity of its backcross breeding program to produce an otherwise American chestnut with the blight resistant characteristics of Asian chestnut.

2009 data collection efforts will build on the results of the 2008 effort, and will focus on assessing and improving data reliability. Redundant counts by multiple teams will take priority over number of miles covered by counts. ATC plans to seek grant funding with TACF and other partners

Participant Commitment
Training participants will select initial data collection segment assignments at the training. Participants as asked to try to collect and submit data from at least one segment within two weeks of the training, and to plan to complete and return data for all segments selected at training by July 10.

A Data Collector Kit, including report forms to record data in the field will be provided at training.

Helpful Items
GPS locator, binoculars, pedometer, digital camera, trail maps, hand held microscope or magnifier, clipboard.


May 14, 2009 at 12:41 pm 1 comment

Weekly Winners – May 3- May 8, 2009

This week’s Weekly Winners come from two locales. First off, we have snippets of a Sunday trip Ryan and I took to the Norfolk Botanical Gardens. Next we have a Saturday trip to Maple Park near Currituck, North Carolina where my ten year old neighbor, Jacal, and his ten year old nephew, Jamontae, found their first geocache. Jamontae also got to try honeysuckle for the first time. Enjoy!

Norfolk Botanical Gardens - Lit Roses and Sky
Roses from Below, Norfolk Botanical Gardens

Norfolk Botanical Gardens - Droplets on Wet Branches
Droplets on Branches, Norfolk Botanical Gardens

Norfolk Botanical Gardens - Wet Red Rhodo From Above
Wet Rhododendron from Above, Norfolk Botanical Gardens

Norfolk Botanical Gardens - Lion and Rain Droplets From Above (Far)
Fountain and Rain at Work, Norfolk Botanical Gardens

Norfolk Botanical Gardens - Ryan Walks Amoung Roses
Ryan Walks With Roses, Norfolk Botanical Gardens

Norfolk Botanical Gardens - Water on Folded Lilypad
Water on Lilypads, Norfolk Botanical Gardens

Maple Park - Synchronized Caching
First Geocache, Maple Park

Maple Park - Jamontae Tries Honeysuckle with Jacal
Honeysuckle, Maple Park

More pictures of the Norfolk Botanical Gardens and geocaching in Maple Park can be found on my Flickr site.

Also, be sure to check out more of this week’s Weekly Winners at Sarcastic Mom!

May 10, 2009 at 5:07 am 10 comments

Geocaching: 16th State – North Carolina

On my first Saturday afternoon in North Carolina, I squeezed in some geocaching. I maintain that geocaching is a great way to find places off the beaten path and to learn a new area. I lived in Blacksburg for a good decade before I started geocaching. Once I did, suddenly my eyes were open to all sorts of parks and landmarks I had no idea existed.

My very first cache in my 16th State – Bream Fishin and it did not disappoint! Enticing me over to the Camden Causeway, I got to see some splendid views of the Pasquotank River. Gorgeous!

Bald Cypress Knees and Floating Leaves from Above

Log and Reflections in the Pasquotank River

Three bald cypress tree trunks

Leaves and Raindrops in Pasquotank River

Vivid fall colors on the Pasquotank River

More pictures from the Camden Causeway are available on my Flickr site.

November 10, 2008 at 8:00 am 2 comments

Geocaching: Functionality Helps

The first few geocaches I went on, I wasn’t entirely familiar of all the features of the GPS. All I knew how to do was read my current coordinates. So I ended up wandering around pretty aimlessly and doing spot checks with my coordinates to see if it looked like the numbers were getting any closer to the published coordinates. Geocaching got significantly easier when I found the “Go To” function on the GPS where it would give you not only the estimated mileage to the destination but a convenient arrow graphic to point you in the right direction.

As challenging as my naivety made my first few geocaches, this morning showed me it could have been worse.

Cheap GPS from

Can you image trying to find a geocache under THOSE circumstances?!?!

April 7, 2008 at 10:40 am 6 comments

Tiling & Geocaching

Whoops.  It occurs to me it’s been over a week since I’ve posted.  That’s not good.  Here’s some quick notes of what I’ve been up to:

Remember that bathroom Jimmie destroyed two years ago?  It’s finally getting tiled!  This weekend, supplies were purchased, ceramic tiles were laid out and cut (courtesy of Bill C’s wet saw), AND they were placed with thin-set mortar.  I was so into tiling this past weekend, that A) I set an alarm for early Sunday morning so I could get to work and B) I woke up before that alarm went off (like a kid on Christmas!).  After an suspenseful 24 hour wait, the mortar set.  I walked on the tiles and they did not crack under my weight!  So the tiles were ready for the next test.  I had Sean walk on the tiles and they did not crack under his weight.  I am pleased.  Next stop– grouting!


This bathroom is humble– It has less than 25 square feet.  And yet, it has proven to be the most educational room in my entire house.  With this one room I’ve had to:

  • Paint ceiling 
  • Remove wallpaper 
  • Repair drywall
  • Remove baseboard trim
  • Paint walls
  • Remove carpet tacks (The Wonder Bar makes this a LOT easier)
  • Remove carpet staples (needle nose plyers make this a LOT easier)
  • Learn the advantage of not sticking carpet tacks through one’s fingernail
  • Measure and cut ceramic tiles
  • Apply the tiles to the floor
  • Learn the tile spacer need is greater than I expected.  (I had delicately counted all my tile intersections and subtracted the tile spacers I had on-hand and went to Lowes thinking I needed 28 more tile spacers.  I was dismayed that I had to buy them in packs of 200.  Welp, turns out I used a LOT more than that once the thin-set was in the equation).
  • Embarass myself with how I thought one “snaps” a chalk line.

Drywall – Before and after

The lessons from this bathroom are not over yet.  The syllabus still includes:

  • Grouting
  • Sealing grout
  • Caulking
  • Installing trim
  • Installing a toilet

Believe it or not, I look forward to all those tasks…. even the toilet.

Geocache Maintenance
With the exception of business travel, I haven’t really been keeping up with my geocaching hobby.  This came abundantly clear to me last weekend, when I picked up the new issue of the New River Valley Magazine and saw an article on geocaching that did not quote me.  What the…?  All area geocaching articles quote me!   Well…. all two of them.  😉 

My second sign that I’ve fallen out of the local arena of the sport– two my caches got reported to the administrators for being wet and cracked and mild-dewy.  So on Monday, with beautiful spring weather, I played hooky from work and replaced one of those cache containers.  THERE!  See that geocaching administrators and local magazine writers????  I *STILL* geocache.

And I’m still available for comment.  🙂

March 5, 2008 at 11:10 am 13 comments

Geocaching: 15th State

With a cache in Ottawa, Illinois, I have now found a geocache in 15 U.S. states.  This cache was pretty darn easy.  It was on the way to Starved Rock State Park right along the Illinois River.  It didn’t take me long, which was good news.  That allowed me just enough daylight to do some hiking in the park.

I learned a little bit about geocaching vocabulary this trip!  At one point during our on-site visit, we had to solicit the aid of an I.T. employee.  After his work was done, the fellow stuck around a while to talk about Harry Potter.  Sadly, his audience was not ideal for the subject matter.  Neither ZJ or I had read any of the books, so we could not articulate knowledgeably on the subject.  BUT, that didn’t stop this guy from forging ahead with the conversation!

Did you ever see that Simpsons episode where Bart takes Santa’s Little Helper to dog training school?  Near the end, Bart is talking to Santa’s Little Helper and they show the conversation from the dog’s perspective.  Everything is gibberish and then suddenly a discernible word– “SIT”. 

That’s what the Harry Potter conversation was like with me and the I.T. guy.  He yammered on and none of it was making much sense to me until this familiar word hit my ear:


“What did you say?” I asked.

“Muggle,”  he said and went on to explain what it meant.

“Weird,” I said, “There is a geocaching term called muggle.”

The I.T. guy looked at me for a second and continued on with his thought.  I suspect “geocaching” was just as confusing to him as his musings were to me.

It turns out, the two words ARE related.  From the geocaching glossary:


A non-geocacher. Based on “Muggle” from the Harry Potter series, which is a nonmagical person. Usually this term is used after a non geocacher looks puzzled at a geocacher making circles with their GPS receiver, or when a non-geocacher accidentally finds a cache. Geomuggles are mostly harmless.

I never questioned where the word came from.  It’s pretty neat to stumble upon its etymology.

November 15, 2007 at 9:34 pm 6 comments

links for 2007-10-11

October 11, 2007 at 2:22 pm 2 comments

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