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News.bytesNews.bytes Extra, issue 354

"Take It Outside!" GPS Treasure Hunt at Hidden Valley with BLM and Girl Scouts

Fifty Girl Scouts and leaders took part in a "GPS Fun Day” at Hidden Valley Wildlife Area on Oct. 11. The event, sponsored by the San Gorgonio Girl Scout Council, taught GPS (global positioning system) use, compass use and Leave No Trace skills.  The Junior through Ambassador age girls learned how basic map and compass skills support GPS use, and how to set and find waypoints, tracks and routes. The highlight was using the GPS devices to search for a geocached "treasure."

Two girls examine the GPS unit's screen
Two girls peer at a GPS unit's screen

Cadette Girl Scout Troops 348 and 403 helped with the GPS training, and taught the Leave No Trace activities though an ”Impact Monster” skit and  a “CSI Crime Tent Investigation.”  Hidden Valley naturalist Marge Valdez led a half-mile discovery hike --and found coyote, raccoon, and mouse tracks.

A BLM advisor advises the girls to orient their map to the North
A BLM advisor advises the girls to orient their map to the North

Girl Scouts earned badge requirements for a "Know Your Way,” and Geocaching Teen Girl Scout Interest Project Patch. The GPS devices will be available for Girl Scout leaders to check out for troop program use though the San Gorgonio Council’s "Program in a Box." 

Two girls closely examine a compass
Working on compass readings

Jo Ann Schiffer-Burdett of BLM’s California Desert District and and Monique Lewis, outdoor program specialist with the San Gorgonio Girl Scout Council, partnered for a $5,000 “Take It Outside” grant to fund the 12 Garmin Vista HCx GPS devices for the GPS Fun Day Event.

The "Impact Monster" helps a new student with her GPS unit
A Cadette Girl Scout who played the part of "The Impact Monster" helps a new student with her GPS unit

BLM’s "Take It Outside" program promotes and supports outdoor activities and experiences of children on the public lands. The program strives to improve the health of our nation's children, families, and communities, while at the same time developing the next generation of public land stewards. The BLM’s Take It Outside initiative stemmed from author Richard Louvs’ book “Last Child in the Woods.”  He coined the term “nature-deficit disorder” to describe what happens to young people who become disconnected from their natural world.

Taking time out for a group photo:
A group photo with many girls and their leaders

- J. Schiffer-Burdett, 10/14/08

BLM-California News.bytes, issue 354

Last updated: 10-22-2008