2017-04-08, Spring #1
Event Report

Island Creative Time
The family website of Kelly and Patrick Sears

The day warmed up beautifully. We met on the edge of the Seawell Elementary School parking lot. The course was in Carolina North Forest. The pre-event posting and emails mentioned a 1.1 km course but it was actually 2 km. Three teams went out. In total, we had 7 participants (4 middle school students, 2 family members, 1 teacher). Dale Haiducek (Phillips Middle School teacher) was there support us and to try out the course. And Nadia and Charles Scharlau helped teaching, taking students on the course, testing equipment, and picking up controls at the end. Dale, Charles, Nadia; thank you so much for coming out!

As with last season, the course was a short 80m classic (5 foxes and one homing beacon). Foxes 1, 2, and 3 were not too far beyond the 300 m exclusion zone. Foxes 4 and 5 were a few more 100 m out. The straight-line best path through all the controls was 2 km. We used the same course area as last season. The longest distance across the course area was 1.1 km. There was a time limit of 2 hours on course. Usually the times listed in the table are rough estimates of the time on course. The course timing system will change that but it's not ready yet. Anyway, this time we had fewer participants and we were able to get everyone's time down to within a minute.

By the end of last season, we finally had enough money collected for the Smith Middle School ARDF Club to finally order their own receivers. And we were super excited for their first use at this event. Four participants went out with shinny new club-owned R3500D receivers. Thanks for all those who helped make this happen. Brilliant!

With some of our ARDFers getting so good, we need a bit larger course. And we're preparing for it. For the first time, we used a transformer on the homing beacon antenna. This made it easier to hear through out all of the west side of CNF. And after the event, Charles Scharlau experimented a bit with some antenna tuners he brought along. We'll probably use them next time. Thanks Charles.

Thanks to all the middle school and high school teachers and staff who helped get the word out to the students. 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), Kara Watson (Media Specialist, 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.

Participant Activities

We only had seven participants and all but one had done ARDF before. So we didn't have the class. Instead we had quick refreshers as people arrived. Our one newcomer was Jacob and he did a fantastic job on his first time out, getting every fox and the homing beacon in just 86 minutes. A big thanks to Toby's father Jason for taking Jacob out to the homing beacon and then onto the course. This was especially helpful this time because Nadia was already out with students and Patrick was waiting at the start in case we had arrivals that had not registered.

This time, many participants came with their own compasses, which was super. Toby and Henry were here early. We had a quick refresher discussion. Instead of giving the usual one-minute-warning, the starter box suddenly gave long moan and died. There is always some technical glitch. But no problem, we had the foxes precisely timed. So one minute later, when fox-1 came on, Toby and Henry ran out onto the course, simulating a championship event. After starting out with Nadia, they spent quite a while listening to the foxes, thinking about how to optimize a run, and planning a strategy for this particular course. They were both experienced and, even with the time spent developing new strategies, they finished in just 66 minutes. While they went out, Jason (Toby's farther) stayed by the start waiting for Jacob, who arrived just fifteen minutes later. We also had the chance to meet Jacob's father Tim. Thanks for stopping by to talk to us, Tim. We always like meeting the parents. After the event, we thought it would be great to show visitors how the receivers work. We'll definitely do that next time. The homing beacon and all the foxes can be heard from our start location and it's interesting to hear what the participants are listening to. Soon after Jacob arrived, Stella and her mother Sara also appeared. We talked for a while. They had to keep it short because they were going out to Bear Island that day. We are so jealous! Somehow, we didn't think to give them compasses. Oops. Sorry guys. They met Nadia on the course and somehow managed to get three foxes including one of the far ones. Super!

The entries in the table are not listed in any particular order, it's just the order in which the sign-in sheets were stored. In the past, we didn't list teachers on the course. But Dale Haiducek has been such a good sport, going out every time, and he's getting really good. So we decided we would start listing teacher times also. 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), Culbreth (CMS).

entry #participants (school, grade)findstime(h:mm')
1 Toby Reed (PMS 6), Henry Webb (SMS 6). 1 2 3 4 5 H 1:06'
2 Jacob Bradshaw (CMS 6), Toby's father Jason. 1 2 3 4 5 H 1:26'
3 Stella (PMS 6), mother Sara. 1 2 5 1:13'
4 Dale Haiducek (PMS teacher) 1 2 3 4 5 H 0:52'


Clicking pictures will bring up original full-sized versions. All participants are listed as seen in the picture from left to right.

Setup time. Event Director Kelly Sears getting the table ready for the start.

First arrivals. Toby's father Jason, Patrick (volunteer), Toby, and Henry. Everyone is getting familiar with the receivers again.

Jason, Nadia (volunteer), Toby, and Henry. OK, we're almost ready to go.

Dale Haiducek (Phillips Middle School teacher) arrives to help support the event.

Jacob and Toby's father Jason talking about how to handle the receivers.

Stella's mother Sara and Stella. Getting ready to go on course.

Our Event Director and Charles (volunteer) talking as we wait for the first participants to return.

Toby and Henry making their way back through the forest. Running to the finish line.

Toby and Henry, proudly displaying the tags that prove they found every transmitter. Prodigious!

Toby and Henry: Snack time and post-hunt debriefing on the lawn. An important part of ARDF.

Toby's father Jason and Jacob returning from their hunt.

Toby's father Jason and Jacob showing all the tags they found. Excellent!

Kelly (Event Director), Jason (Toby's father), Jacob, and Toby.

Bringing up the full picture, you can see a shadowy creature running through the forest. What is that creature? Is it the North Carolina Sasquatch? Nope. It's Dale Haiducek (teacher), racing toward the homing beacon.

Stella, Sara (mother), and Nadia (volunteer) returning.

Sara (mother), Stella, Patrick (volunteer), and Nadia (volunteer) at the start/finish area.

Stella, Sara (mother), and Patrick (volunteer). Recording the foxes found and time on course. They even found one of the far foxes (#5). Outstanding!

Dale (teacher) returning from the course and Nadia (volunteer).

Patrick (volunteer) taking down one of the antennas. After the participants are all gone, it's pick-up time.

Jacob, Henry, and Toby. Hanging out after their time on course. [1]

[1]. Thanks to Jason Reed for these pictures.

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