Geocaching @ the Moss Rock Festival

Birmingham/Hoover, Ala. (October 24, 2006) – This November 4 & 5, The City of Hoover, Ala. and the Freshwater Land Trust will jointly present the Moss Rock Festival at The Preserve, a classic American neighborhood. Appropriately named because of its juxtaposition to Hoover’s very own 250 acre Moss Rock Preserve, this unique and vibrant fall festival will be celebrating NATURE & OPEN SPACES through ART & DESIGN.

Moss Rock Festival will be utilizing the wooded, naturally diverse and beautiful 250 acre Moss Rock Preserve for two of its festival activities, the first being a new game called geocaching, using Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) technology to explore the Preserve grounds. The second is a series of guided hikes led by Friends of Moss Rock.

TechBirmingham and the Alabama Geocachers Association (AGA) have partnered with the Moss Rock Festival to organize the first of the two events.

In the age of GPS geo-location technology and online mapping and satellite imagery software like Google Earth, a new breed of outdoor enthusiast has emerged that take part in hiding and finding geocaches (hidden containers with a logbook and perhaps some toys to trade) around the globe. There are over 348,000 geocaches hidden all over the world and currently registered at a popular website, www.geocaching.com. All geocaches can be found by using a unique latitude & longitude intersection coordinate that is entered into GPS receivers. Anyone can participate in the fun. Whether it is introducing people to a beautiful view you want to share, some thing or place unique or historical, geocaching is all about sharing places and information. This new technology has brought people together from all backgrounds for the hunt…old and young, families and singles, from techies to hikers to businesspeople.

There will be four introductory sessions from 11am to 2pm, each beginning at the top of the hour. Participants will get a short presentation on the topics, (What is GPS?) (What is geocaching?). They will then head into the Preserve with a guide and a GPS, loaded with the coordinates for locating the various geocaches hidden there. Finding all of the geocaches will allow each participant to enter into special drawings, which will be held during both the morning and afternoon sessions.

There will be 4 sessions from 11am to 2pm, each beginning at the top of the hour. Participants will get a short instructional presentation, then head into the Preserve with a guide and the proper equipment, armed with the coordinates for locating the various caches hidden there. Finding all of the caches will allow each participant to enter into special drawings, which will be held during both the morning and afternoon sessions.

It is widely known & accepted that geocachers are not allowed to disturb the natural environment (i.e. digging is prohibited) during any geocache installation, which is why the festival is endorsing this new game. Geocachers ascribe to an ethic called Cache In Trash Out (CITO) which calls for them in organized group events and as individuals to collect and pack out trash found along the trails while geocaching. The AGA will conduct such an event Saturday from 8 a.m. until noon, when geocachers from all over the South will gather at the Preserve to clean along roadways and trails. There will also be a 24-hour Cache Dash competition to find the most geocaches from 1 p.m. Saturday till 1 p.m. Sunday. Anyone is welcome to join and play… it’s all free! See http://tinyurl.com/juxrj for details.

On November 4 & 5, experience this new technology & game first hand at the inaugural Moss Rock Festival. With 18 geocaches permanently hidden within the 250 acre natural expanse adjacent to The Preserve neighborhood and festival site, what better way to explore this beautiful natural space?

But that is not all one will encounter at the Moss Rock Festival. There is something around every corner for visitors to discover including thousands of juried works of art primarily inspired by or depicting nature and/or made from recycled or natural materials at ARTIST ROW; an outdoor room design rendering & model competition and large-scale installations by architects, designers, landscape designers & artists at ETC.SPACES; eco-friendly organizations & innovative products on exhibit at ECO-IDEAS; great eats & drinks at the FAN FARE TENT; the NATURE OF WEDDING CAKES – an expo; original music live at the CRESCENT STAGE; WONDERKID ART STUDIOS; college FOOTBALL screening room; and more. Bring the whole family.

And it’s all FREE!

All visitors will PARK & RIDE to the festival. The FREE festival shuttle will run from the Hoover Met parking lot to The Preserve between 9:30am and 6:00pm.

Directions to the Hoover Met: Take I-459 to Hoover/Bessemer exit 10. Go back under freeway. At 3rd light take a right onto Stadium Trace Parkway and follow signs to parking entrance – about 2 minutes. The stadium will be on your left.

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