Frontier Students Seek And Replace Buried Treasure

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Knowing which way is magnetic north on a compass is a good skill for burgeoning treasure seekers to have.

It is also a necessary skill for an activity called Letterboxing, as students in Rich Ormand's physical education classes at Frontier Elementary School recently learned.

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If a GPS unit is too expensive, Rich Ormand recommends letterboxing instead, as it only takes a compass, directions and/or a map to take part in. These student seekers are Alyssa Hagler, Abby Hazelo, Tierney Phillips, Jake Beeler and Brooks Randall.

Letterbox seekers get coordinates from a site Online such as www.letterboxing.org.

They use a compass and a map to locate the waterproof box another letterboxer has buried. Seekers must have a stamp or paper punch of their own and a notebook.

The box contains a rubber stamp, a stamp pad and a visitor's notebook.

Upon locating a Letterboxing site, seekers stamp or punch the visitor's book with the stamp they brought along and use the buried stamp or punch to mark their own notebooks.

"What I learned: first, we get to trade something. Second, we got to go in the forest, and we never get to go in the forest, Third, you need to have a compass everywhere you go so you won't get lost. Fourth, you always follow the directions!" third grader Abby Hazelo said .

While pursuing his master's degree in physical education at West Virginia University, Ormand learned that one size does not fit all when it comes to physical education.

"What I personally liked about the unit is that it promotes lifelong fitness activities, and incorporates other subject areas, geography, mathematics and language arts into the unit.Not to mention team-building skills," Ormand said.

Letterboxing is similar to geocaching, which uses a global positioning system (GPS) and instead of a stamp, there are usually little items to trade.

When Geocaching, the only thing FES students used to find the Geocache boxes were a GPS unit and longitude and latitude coordinates.

"I liked it because you get to trade stuff, and you get to follow a map and read, and go on all the trails in the forest.I love the forest, and want to spend time out there, and geocaching and letterboxing is the way to do it." third grader, Anthony Mustaca said.

Ormand felt the unit was a "good fit" for Payson children because "many of our kids already enjoy outdoor activities with their families such as hunting and hiking."

Plus, there is a small amount of forest on the east side FES campus.

"I believe it has been one of the most popular and exciting units I have taught in the past five years," Ormand said.

"I liked it because I learned how to figure out which way is north, east, south and west.It is also a good way to learn how to find the way home if you get lost," third grader, Brooks Randall said.

To continue ‘treasure hunting,' all the students have to do is go to letterboxing.org or geocaching.com to get started finding them all over the Payson area, as well as the rest of the country.

"Imagine taking a car trip with your family to Portland Oregon, and along the way you could stop and do some letterbox or geocache hunting to help make the trip more enjoyable for the whole family," Ormand said.

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