Going Tent Camping

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Learn the Land


One of the great joys of going camping is experiencing nature.   For this reason, it pays to have a good working knowledge of the area you are camping.   This knowledge will become invaluable to you if you are able to name trees, rocks, gems, plants, and wildlife while camping.   Not only will this make your camping experience richer, it gives you the opportunity to share what you have


Here, are some tips on how to gain knowledge of the different plants, trees, and wildlife in your camping area.


  1. Purchase a good book on each subject.  Find books on plants, trees, rocks, gems, wildlife that are focused on the part of the country. 
    1. The book should have a lot of pictures in it for easier comparison in the field. 
    2. You can usually find some good cheap books in this area at half price bookstores or even garage sales. 


  1. Find a guide.  Determine if there is someone in that part of the country who could teach some of these differences prior to going on the camping trip.  Then, you can teach them to your kids.  Or you can use the books in the field and see if you guys can figure them out. 
    1. Make a game of it, by having you take back the leaves of these plants to a local expert and see how you guys did. 
    2. Possible guides could be game wardens, local scout masters, park rangers and locales in the area.
  2. Talk to a Professor .  Go to the Local University and talk with professors in the botany and geology departments.  They will most likely be more than happy to share with you what they know about the local plants, rocks and wildlife. 
    1. As a bargaining chip, offer to buy them lunch.   The knowledge you could receive will be well worth the extra $10.00. 


  1. Take home samples.  After camping, take home samples of leaves, rocks, gems and plants.  Follow-up with the guide and the professors to see if your identification is correct. 


If you follow this method and have several consecutive camping trips in the area, there is no reason why you shouldn’t become relatively skilled in identifying the plants, trees, rocks, and wildlife in the area. Once you do learn this skill, be sure you pass it on to someone else. If you have kids, this is a good way to bond with them. If you don’t have kids, volunteer your services to scout groups in the area. It will give you a chance to show off what you learned and is an excellent way of showing appreciation for those who helped you. Sadly, this type of information rarely seems to be passed on to future generations. This is unfortunate because it only lengthens the disconnect between humans and nature. Just think your efforts to educate yourself could actually help reduce that disconnect and encourage others to go camping.


*To find out how to use your GPS while camping, take a look at GPS For Camping.


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