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For Immediate Release: 7/1/2014
Montgomery County Launches Stormwater Awareness “Geocaching” Program; Residents learn how to reduce stormwater pollution through educational, fun activity

On June 28, the County’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) launched a new educational program entitled, “Caching the Rain,” a stormwater awareness geotrail. County residents of all ages who follow the local geotrail, can learn how to reduce stormwater pollution and improve water quality through a fun, family-friendly, outdoor scavenger hunt activity called “geocaching.”
Under the new program, participants (known as “geocachers”) will use Global Positioning System (GPS) enabled devices, such as smartphones, to locate and find camouflaged containers of a variety of shapes and sizes called “geocaches.” DEP invites County residents to find all six geocaches within the geotrail and learn how they can help improve water quality in their local streams and rivers.

DEP’s geocaches are easily accessible for participants of all ages and are placed on public property nearby stormwater management practices, such as rain gardens, bioretentions, and stormwater ponds. Each geocache contains a laminated card with interactive information, activities, and trivia questions that educate participants about actions they can adopt to improve the health of our local streams. The simple actions can range from picking up pet waste to installing rain gardens. A pencil and logbook are located in each geocache so participants can log their “find.”

The first 145 persons to complete the geotrail and answer trivia questions correctly will be eligible to receive an official Caching the Rain souvenir geocoin. Experienced geocachers participated in the official launch on June 28. Katherine Tracey, who completed the geotrail, said, “It was a great opportunity to teach our grandson about rainwater runoff and how to put it to work to help clean up pollution. Congratulations on a great program in Montgomery County and a fun and educational geotrail.”

DEP Director Bob Hoyt said, “DEP thrives on thinking up new and exciting ways to generate enthusiasm for restoring our streams and the Chesapeake Bay and the ‘Caching the Rain Geotrail’ is one of the very best yet. Families and friends can enjoy a fun, hands-on learning experience about stormwater runoff while touring County projects. Most importantly, we’ll show them simple actions they can take to improve water quality.”

The Caching the Rain Geotrail is a pilot program partially funded by the Chesapeake Bay Trust. It was created by the DEP’s Chesapeake Conservation Corps volunteer as part of a required capstone project. Partners in this project include the Maryland Geocaching Society, Montgomery Parks, Montgomery County Public Libraries and Montgomery County Recreation.

To get started and learn about the Caching the Rain Geotrail, visit the Caching the Rain website (www.montgomerycountymd.gov/geocache). For questions regarding the Caching the Rain Geotrail, e-mail DEP.geocaching@montgomerycountymd.gov. Brochures about the program will be available within the coming week at Montgomery County Public Libraries and Community Recreation Centers.

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Media Contacts: Jessica Jones, (DEP), 240-777-7753;
Bonnie Ayers or Esther Bowring (PIO) 240-777-6507


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Release ID: 14-277

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