My Dirt Time The Adventures of Tom Sciacca

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Shadow box for finding direction

This is a box Marty had prepared for this purpose. if you don't have a compass, this is great preparedness for getting your bearings. Marty also mentioned the idea for this box to help learn tracks. Basically smooth out some soft sand and overnight leave some treats in the box. You can experiment with this also. Try peanut butter, fruit or whatever you think your local wildlife would like. The next morning you'll see footprints in the sand (hopefully not your kids) and you can see if you can identify the animal that left them.

Here is how the shaw stick works.

  • The sun moves across the sky from east to west and its shadow gradually changes in length which is what makes this direction finding method work.
  • Clear a flat area of dirt or sand. Grass will work, but not as well.
  • Find a stick about 2 or 3 feet long and stick poke it into the ground so it stands up.
  • Get another small stick or pebble and place it exactly on the end of the shadow line.
  • Eat a trail bar or relax for a half hour.
  • Place another stick or pebble at the end of the new shadow. If you have time, wait another 1/2 hour and repeat.
  • The line between the two pebbles runs east-west direction with the first mark being west and the second being east.
  • If you are in the northern hemisphere, North direction is perpendicular to the east-west line heading away from the sun. It's South down under.

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