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Whitecourt geocachers clean up Westward grounds for Earth Day

With roughly 100 geocaches hidden within Whitecourt area and another 500 or so more to find if you are willing to drive out into the province a bit, geocaching is definitely a fun hobby to get involved in. Just recently, the 3,000,000th active geocache in the world was placed showing just how popular and far reaching it is. There are caches on every continent, in lakes, even on the space station and with no age requirement to take part, it’s fantastic for families.

One of the types of geocaching events is what’s known as a CITO which stands for Cache In Trash Out. This means that geocachers come together and collect trash. On Saturday, April 29, the Whitecourt Geocachers held a CITO event at the Westward Community Centre.

Event organizer, Sharlene Munday, explains that cleaning and being a positive change for the environment is a big part of being geocachers.  “Cachers are known for CITO-ing anyways, even without an event, and technically our motto is that we leave it cleaner than when we arrived so the CITO coincides with Earth Day events. People all over the world are going to be doing these events. They could be cleaning, they could be planting gardens, but they are doing something for Mother Earth.”

Thirteen members of the group from Whitecourt, Sangudo, Peers, Niton Junction, and Hinton descended on the complex grounds. With picks and garbage bags in hand, the group worked hard and cleaned a big area. “We did 101 acres for the Agricultural Society which is a non-profit, so it’s always nice to be able to help out somebody who has that big of a property and that runs on volunteers,” said Sharlene.

Wade Kingdon has been geocaching for years and very much enjoys it, calling it a “fun treasure hunt” and full of puzzles. “Geocaching is a great thing to do with the family. I started doing it when my kids were in grade one and now they’re in University and in grade 10.”

There’s also a lot that can be learned from geocaching including pieces of history. “The thing about a cache is that it’s always going to bring you somewhere that you might not normally go. I mean, I didn’t know there was a POW camp around Edson. I didn’t know we had hoodoos in Airdrie. It’s taken me places that I wouldn’t normally have gone, off the beaten path,” said Sharlene.

To learn more, search the group Whitecourt Geocachers on Facebook or call Sharlene at 780-779-4915.

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