Forest Preserve District of DuPage County invites all geocachers -- outdoor explorers who use GPS units to navigate to hidden caches -- to join its free 2013 Geocaching Challenge Passport program, which begins Sunday, May 12.
In celebration of the agency's upcoming 100th anniversary, the passport program will lead geocachers to eight caches hidden in forest preserves that relate to the district's history between 1941 and 1965. Each cache contains a passport sticker, and anyone who collects five or more different stickers will earn a custom trackable geocoin for 2013.
"We have a few new caches, but some will be familiar to experienced trekkers," said Dave Andrusyk, a naturalist at Fullersburg Woods Nature Education Center and the geocaching coordinator. "In fact some people who received district permission to place their own caches in the preserves are helping by placing stickers in those locations as well. As the program moves into 2014 and 2015, it's going to be exciting to help visitors explore new areas and to see how far our trackable geocoins circulate."
New passport booklets for 2013 are available at three district education centers: Fullersburg Woods Nature Education Center, 3609 Spring Road, Oak Brook; Kline Creek Farm, 1N600 County Farm Road, West Chicago; and Willowbrook Wildlife Center, 525 S. Park Blvd., Glen Ellyn.
Trackable geocoins from the 2012 passport challenge are still available, too. Individuals with questions can contact Dave Andrusyk at firstname.lastname@example.org or (630) 850-8113.
For people who would like to join the techno treasure-hunting fun but lack experience or equipment, the district offers a few options. Free introduction to geocaching programs will take place Sunday, May 19; Saturday, June 8; and Wednesday, June 19, at Churchill Woods Forest Preserve in Glen Ellyn. Registration begins two weeks before each program; participants should call the district's Visitor Services at (630) 933-7248. Additionally, individuals 16 and older with valid identification and credit cards can borrow GPS units from Fullersburg Woods Nature Education Center for free, although the district will charge credit cards if units are lost or damaged. Reservations are available through Fullersburg Woods at (630) 850-8110.