Friday, April 23, 2010

Cache permanence: A lesson learned?

An interesting situation arose today that I want to write about because it highlights the section of the guidelines that deals with "cache permanence." I'm not going to name the cache owner because I don't want to embarrass anyone, but a cache was submitted yesterday for the purpose of giving grade schoolers a chance to try geocaching at their school.

First, let me explain that I have reviewed and approved other caches that are placed on school property. (I've found a few, too.) As long as the cache owner states that the cache is placed with the knowledge and permission of school officials, that's normally enough to get the cache approved -- even though it's possible that not every teacher, school administrator or facilities employee will be made aware of the geocache. As a result, geocachers may look suspicious and may be questioned if they're seen lurking around a school building during school hours, so it's up to each geocacher to decide if he or she wants to look for that particular cache.

Now, back to the cache in question. It was placed just outside the doors of an elementary school building by a teacher at the school. But what I did not know was that the teacher intended to leave the cache in place for just one day so his or her students could search for it and, in the process, learn about geocaching and how to use a GPS receiver. An admirable goal, to be sure. Teachers who make the extra effort to make school interesting and fun should be commended, and I do commend this teacher. However, the problem in this case is about cache permanence. Geocaches can't be listed on if the intent is to leave them in place for just one day. Quoting from the guidelines:
Cache Permanence

When you report a cache on the web site, geocachers should (and will) expect the cache to be there for a realistic and extended period of time. Therefore, caches that have the goal to move ("traveling caches"), or temporary caches (caches hidden for less than 3 months or for events) most likely will not be published. If you wish to hide caches for an event, bring printouts to the event and hand them out there.
We realize that it is possible that a planned long-term cache occasionally becomes finite because of concerns with the environment, missing or plundered caches, or the owner’s decision to remove the cache for other valid reasons. Please do your best to research fully, hide wisely, and maintain properly for a long cache life.
So even though I didn't want to put a damper on this fun class project, I archived the cache this morning -- the very day that it was supposed to be in place for the students. I haven't heard for sure, but I assume the teacher was still able to conduct the geocaching demonstration with the kids, only without the element of looking up the coordinates on

Along the way, in addition to learning about navigation satellites and using a GPSR, my hope is that another valuable lesson was also imparted to the students. About reading directions.


Nichole1980 said...

I just wanted to let you know that I am now following your blog. Thank you for posting about geocaching, as a newb I am always looking for some good advice!

Jack said...

Did you communicate with the teacher why you archived the cache?

Here is the problem with someone reading this blog. This story sounds a bit mean-spirited.

Granted the teacher had not read the cache permanence part of the guidelines. But the way you present it, it almost seems as if you archived the cache on the day that the teacher was to give the lesson out of spite.

I may be reading it wrong. But you should be careful either in how you present the facts in your blog, or, even worse, how you conduct yourself as a reviewer.

There is a danger in being a reviewer for so long. It can get to the point that you have seen so much nonsense that you unconsciously react in a way that is contrary to the way you really wish to. You may not even realize that you are passive aggressively retaliating against this teacher for something that 10 other geocachers have done.

It may be time for you to reevaluate why you are doing this. A short hiatus from the position may give you a chance to get away from the nonsense you encounter daily and then come back to the job with fresh eyes.

If not, you may need to ask yourself if you really need to continue reviewing for Groundspeak.

IowaAdmin said...

" unconsciously react in a way that is contrary to the way you really wish to. You may not even realize that you are passive aggressively retaliating against this teacher for something that 10 other geocachers have done..."

Wow. Can we make this a civil discussion about geocaching instead getting into long-distance psychoanalysis?