Written by: Gary Lewis, Senior Director of Education and Outreach, The Geological Society of America
EarthCaching is different – while part of your geocaching experience, it involves a lot more than finding, logging and replacing a physical geocache. A visit to an EarthCache involves a lesson, a opportunity to think, discuss and ponder and a chance to be rewarded with achievements beyond your number of finds.
EarthCaching started in January 2004 when I placed the first EarthCache with my daughter on a headland in southern Australia. My goal was to teach geocachers more about the wonderful geology of our planet. So Earthcaches involve you visiting a site and undertaking a logging task that teaches you some aspect of geology related to what you see. There are now over 18,000 active EarthCaches around the globe – and at least one on every continent!
I realized early on that the effort required to place an EarthCache needed to be rewarded. On top of the normal geocache needs, an EarthCaches require some research and planning to meet the guidelines. Out of that realization was born the EarthCache Masters Program – which rewards caters for visiting and placing EarthCaches.
The genius of the EarthCache Masters Program is that it’s quite simple.
- The first level, Bronze, requires you to visit and log three EarthCaches. The trick is, those three EarthCaches cannot be in the same state/province/country. We want you to travel to experience the geology away from your home location.
- The next level, Silver, requires you to visit and log six EarthCaches and develop and have published one EarthCache. So after you have visited a handful of EarthCaches you get rewarded for the effort you put into having your very own EarthCache published by the Geoaware team.
- Beyond this the levels are Gold (visit 12, create 2)
- Platinum (visit 20, create 3).
Being an EarthCache Master shows the community that you are not only committed to learning about our Earth, but committed to having even more fun geocaching!