Instructables

Geocache-A-Forest DIY Kit

Picture of Geocache-A-Forest DIY Kit
 Geocaching is a fun activity where members of the consortium geocaching.com, hide and seek caches (which are boxes that are hidden physically and geocoded online). My kit adds another activity for environmentally conscious members of this community wherein they trade ‘tree seeds’ instead of normal objects usually traded in the cache. Moreover, it allows them to hide more caches at locations where these seeds are planted to become trees. These caches become more like a landmark always available in the geocaching.com site for people to seek them as long as they are maintained well by the owners.

 

Things Needed To Construct Kit

1.    Tupperware Box (Size based on requirement)

2.    Geocaching.com membership (Free or Paid)

3.    Geocaching.com official stickers

4.    Tree Seeds

5.    Pill holders

6.    Instruction Templates

7.    A log book


P.S : This Instructable assumes basic/intermediate experience with geocaching. If not, please look at geocaching.com for further info. 

 
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Step 1: Cache Preparation - Log book & Cache Note

Picture of Cache Preparation - Log book & Cache Note
 Choose the box based on sizes given in the guidelines section of geocaching.com. I’m using a traditional cache container, not a micro or special container.

There are official logbooks and pencils available from geocaching.com, but you can use any pencil/pen/scroll(!) of your choice with a logbook to track visitors to the cache. 

The Logbook tracks visitors of your cache and needs to be inside the cache along with a cache note (also available at geocaching.com in the hide your cache section) of which I've provided a simple sample below.

  ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
GEOCACHE SITE - PLEASE READ

Congratulations, you've found it! Intentionally or not!

What is this hidden container sitting here for?  What the heck is this thing doing here with all these things in it?

It is part of a worldwide game dedicated to GPS (Global Positioning System) users, called Geocaching. The game basically involves a GPS user hiding "treasure" (this container and its contents), and publishing the exact coordinates so other GPS users can come on a "treasure hunt" to find it. The only rules are: if you take something from the geocache, you must leave something in the geocache, and you must write about your visit in the logbook. Hopefully, the person that hid this container found a good spot that is on public property and is not easily found by uninterested parties. Sometimes, a good spot turns out to be a bad spot, though.

IF YOU FOUND THIS CONTAINER BY ACCIDENT:

Great!  You are welcome to join us!  We ask only that you:

·	Please do not move or vandalize the container. The real treasure is just finding the container and sharing your thoughts with everyone else who finds it.
·	If you wish, go ahead and take something. But please also leave something of your own for others to find, and write it in the logbook.
·	If possible, let us know that you found it, by visiting the website listed below.

Geocaching is open to everyone with a GPS and a sense of adventure.  There are similar sites all over the world. Currently, the organization has it's home on the Internet. Visit our website if you want to learn more, or have any comments:

http://www.geocaching.com

If this container happens to be sitting on private property and you wish it removed, please let us know. We apologize, and will be happy to move it.
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Step 2: Cache Preparation: Tree Seeds

Picture of Cache Preparation: Tree Seeds
japaneseredmaple.jpg
treeseeds1.png
Choosing the tree seeds is the most important part of the project. Do some research on the zone of the region you are planning to plant the tree and the cache. As an example I will be providing the instructions to grow the Japanese Red Maple tree from seeds and a template following that so that traders of the seeds know how to plant and grow their tree.

The best place to find those instructions were at Mike Groarty's freeplants.org site. I'm providing the instructions as per Mike and the link to the instructions below and sincere thanks for the wonderful guidelines. Also in the instructions are general maintenance and planting tips for the Japanese Red Maple along with zones favorable for the tree. Download 'Japanese Red Maple Instructions.doc', print it out and place in the cache with seeds from
seedrack. I place the seeds in a pillbox container so that they can be sorted. I label the seeds with their biological name and common name (eg. Acer palmatum 'atropurpureum' | Japanese Red Maple), so that they can be mapped to the right instructions, if there are more than one kind of seed in the cache.

PLEASE NOTE: These are just instructions for The Japanese Red Maple.  Other geocachers seeking this cache can have the template that is attached to the instructable printed out and filled with instructions for growing the seed of their choice before seeking this cache so that when they trade in their seeds others have access to the instructions quickly.  
  

Step 3: Planting The Tree & Hiding the Cache

Picture of Planting The Tree & Hiding the Cache
 The instructions you prepared for the cache will be really useful for you to plant the tree. In my case, I'm planting the Japanese Red Maple according to all the instructions at a location in Chicago. I'm also placing some of those seeds in the cache as trade items. 

What you would do with your cache is upto you. You decide the seeds you want to trade, download the template "Seed_Planting_Instructions_Template.doc" and put in all the information the seed traders would want access to so that they can plant and maintain the tree.

Here, in this project there are two things to plant/hide and maintain. The tree itself which needs constant maintenance and the cache which constantly keeps changing based on geocaching members visiting, logging and trading away. 

Firstly, you plant your tree during the best time of the year for them to start. 

Secondly, you take your prepared cache with seeds, instructions, instruction template copies for visitors to take, geocoins, tradable items and other items (part of a normal geocache which you can read about at their site) to the location where you planted the tree.

Thirdly, in accordance with the guidelines at geocaching.com, you hide it in a location in and around the latitudinal/longitudinal location of your tree and submit the cache to geocaching.com in the form provided by them at this link.

With this step you will be all set to watch your tree grow and maintain the cache that is close to it.
Watch it as people visit your tree. Notice if they actually engage actively in seed trade. If they do, t
they will start their own geocache-a-forest with this DIY kit. Eventually, you have a geocache that is attached to a location where your tree is growing with people logging in the stage at which your tree is in, documenting its life along with the life of your cache. 
canida3 years ago
Oh, cool!  I love the idea of giving away/swapping tree seeds at your cache. 
Brilliant, and such a great fit for the location.
meralgia3 years ago
Are you saying that in placing the cache, you also plant a seed?  Have you checked with the landowner before placing the seed?  If Groundspeak caught wind of your idea, you'd likely be banned.

I would argue that planting a tree violates the following guideline, "Caches that deface public or private property, whether a natural or man-made object, in order to provide a hiding place, a clue or a logging method."  Although the tree isn't the cache, unfortunately you don't have a right to place one without the landowner's consent.  Doing so openly gives geocaching a bad name.

If, however, the tree seeds are put in a geocache as swag, it might work.  Unfortunately your phrase "as long as they are maintained well by the owners" is the clincher.  Depending on your area, caches often get wet, and the seeds could be ruined.  That, and often folks don't inspect the swag; they just sign the logbook.
rrarunan (author)  meralgia3 years ago
Yes. I include that as a disclaimer in the cache. And yes, I am aware of the guidelines at geocaching.com. The last thing I would do is go against them. And Yes, I have permission from the landowner. The seeds are just like a trade item and this activity is just an option. Yes, you are right when you say  " folks don't inspect the swag; they just sign the logbook." which is well and good. Thanks a lot for pointing these out. I'm well aware of these concerns.
rrarunan (author) 4 years ago
Oh.. yeah.. I was thinking how I would get around that problem. Desiccants might be the solution. Thanks iPodGuy! The cache should be hidden by next week.
iPodGuy4 years ago
I would really recommend a packet or two of desiccant  inside the cache.  You don't want any of those seeds to sprout!

I kind of like the trading seeds idea of a cache.
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