This page is an event report for one of the Chapel Hill - Carrboro City Schools ARDF events directed by Kelly and Patrick Sears. For comments, suggestions, and questions; please contact Kelly Sears [ksears (at) chccs (dot) k12 (dot) nc (dot) us].
It was a wonderful winter day for running around in the woods, sunny and crisp, and a super way to finish our fall 2016 season. As usual, we met on the edge of the Seawell Elementary School parking lot and the course was set in the adjacent section of Carolina North Forest. Seven teams went out. In total, we had 14 participants (7 middle school students and 7 family members). As with last time, we also had help from Nadia and Charles Scharlau from the Backwoods Orienteering Klub (BOK), and also Ginger (Nadia and Charles' Dog Volunteer). They helped teaching, taking students on the course, and picking up controls at the end. Thanks again guys!
The course style was our usual short 80m classic (5 foxes and one homing beacon). The farthest control was not as far out as last time but the two furthest were placed in a way that made the course more zigzaggy. So in the end, the straight-line best path through all the controls was still 2 km. The longest distance across the course area was 1.1 km.
We didn't place the practice transmitter. It didn't appear to be that useful last time. The homing beacon is pretty close anyway. By adding one more frequency to the dial, the practice transmitter may have caused as much confusion as it helped dispel. Also, the cold was effecting the receivers with the frequencies ending up all over the dial. Actually, we had quite a few problems with the receivers. We think it was all due to the cold, but we're not certain. All the participants quickly adapted and dealt with the technical problems. This was part of ARDF ☺.
Thanks to all the middle school and high school teachers and staff who helped get the word out to the students. We weren't sure how the season would go with our late start and then the hurricane. As it turned out we had three fantastic events. Our last two had the largest turnouts of any weekend event we've put on! So thanks again: Rachel Hopler (Science Teacher, Culbreth Middle School), Christine Lippy (Science Teacher, McDougle Middle School), Dale Haiducek (CTE Teacher, Phillips Middle School), Haley Wamble (Science Teacher, East Chapel Hill High School), SaCola Lehr (Media Specialist, Chapel Hill High School), Libby Diesel (Library Assistant, Chapel Hill High School), Paula Dey (Science Teacher, Carrboro High School). Thanks also to Marny Ruben (Principal at Seawell Elementary School) for the use of the Seawell area and Greg Kopsch (Park Manager at Caronlina North Forest) for the use of CNF.
We are sill calling this our Participant Activities section rather than a Results section. Most participants are still new to ARDF, although some are getting quite good and a few are getting that competitive spirit. We did record the time-on-course for some, but it wasn't done precisely. Not a single one of our chronometers worked in the cold! Again, instead of a single class, we broke up into groups looking for the homing beacon while getting instruction and then continued onto the course. Quite a few confident participants went out on the course straight off. And we had some participants doing a bit of teaching themselves! This time, foxes #1, #2, and #5 were the closest, a bit over 200 m away. Fox #1 was tucked way up in the northern most corner. Foxes #3 and #4 were closer than usual but placed close to opposite edges. This sometimes led to interesting choices in strategy. Go for 3, then 4 and 5, then back to the center for 2? Or 2 first, then out to 3 before 4? Or... The possibilities were numerous and much depended on how much you had figured out about locations by the time you made it out of the exclusion zone.
Once again, there were too many people to comment on everyone's experience. So just a few mentions. Toby brought a friend, Henry, and did a bit of teaching himself. Very cool ☺. Patrick (volunteer) and Charlie had a super interesting time strategizing after following the wrong null out of fox-2 in search of fox-5. By the time they got to the edge of the course, Charlie had figured out general directions to fox-1 and fox-3. On the way to fox-1, they met Ewan and his father coming up from behind. They were also after #1, their last one before the homing beacon! Fox-1 was off-cycle, so we started talking. But Charlie knew we were close and had gotten a good bearing when fox-1 had gone quiet. He kept his eye searching through the trees. Suddenly, he took off, "I found it!". Great fun!
The entries are not listed in any particular order, it's just the order in which the sign-in sheets were stored. Some participants went out as a team, which makes for fun teamwork. Others worked independently to find transmitters, also much fun. Once again, we did not note which participants worked independently, so participants signing in together are listed here as a single group. One exception, we did see Stella and mother Sara as one team and Gus and father Ben as another. Also, we noticed a pattern that has worked well for students that are getting really good. The student goes ahead and the parent follows a bit behind. The student gets a bit of independence. The parent gets to see their child in action (and get pictures ☺) while also getting to do their own fox-hunting. But mostly, it is wonderful to see all the families doing their own thing.
The finds column notes the controls found: foxes 1 through 5 and the homing beacon (H). When noted, times on course are very rough. The schools are abbreviated, Phillips (PMS), Smith (SMS).
|entry #||participants (school, grade)||finds||time(h:mm')|
|1||Evan Milledge (SMS 6), father Tom.||1 2 3 4 5 H||1:39'|
|2||Stella (SMS 6) and mother Sara.||2 5 H||1:51'|
|3||Gus and father Ben.||5 H||1:15'|
|4||Avani Muldavin-Hoop (SMS 6) and mother Brenna.||4 5 H||---|
|5||Toby Reed (PMS 6) and Henry Webb (SMS 6), Toby's father Jason.||1 2 3 4 5 H||1:07'|
|6||Charles Lyerly (PMS 6)||1 2 5 H||---|
|7||Ewan Crain (SMS 7), father Quentin.||1 2 3 4 5 H||1:05'|
Clicking pictures will bring up original full-sized versions. All participants are listed as seen in the picture from left to right.
Patrick (volunteer) and Charlie. Troubleshooting the receivers while listening to the homing beacon.
Henry and Toby. They just found fox-4 and are collecting their tags. If you look carefully, you can see pink flagging tape marking the radials on the ground behind Toby and the transmitter (dark blue box) in the background just to the right of Toby's head. 
Brenna (Avi's mother), somewhere in the woods. That's probably Avi or Nadia or both behind the trees.
Brenna and Avi showing the tags they found. Henry is over to the right, experimenting with his receiver.
Jason at left, Ewan's father Quentin and Ewan in center, Nadia in back at right. Ginger (dog volunteer) can also be seen at right. Check out all the tags Ewan found! Excellent!
Gus' father Ben and Gus, Henry in back, Quentin, Nadia. Gus and his father where out on the course for the first time today. You can see a homing beacon finder tag in Gus' hand. Outstanding!
Patrick (volunteer) following Charlie in the last stretch toward the finish. After finding fox-5 at the last minute, they rushed back following the homing beacon signal until they could see the school rooftops over the hill, and then turned toward the finish.
Patrick, Charlie, Nadia. At the finish table talking about their time on course. Charlie is emptying his pockets of finder tags, fox-1 (orange) and fox-5 (black) are already on the table. Prodigious!
Ben (father), Gus (in front), Stella, and Sara (mother). Enjoying a post-hunt hot chocolate. Gus showing off the finder tags they collected. Superb!
Henry putting a lid on his post-hunt hot chocolate, compass still around his neck. Kelly (our Event Director) at the finish table. 
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