CITO: The Philosophy
Don’t you just love getting into a new sport or hobby when it seems like EVERYBODY around you is speaking in some sort of weird code? That’s exactly what happened to me with the CITO term in geocaching.
I kept trying to make that into a word instead of an acronym. I was thinking to myself: “See-To”? “Sit-o”? “Chee-to”? (Gotta say THAT one with an Italian accent!)
So, I looked it up and found that it stood for: “Cache In, Trash Out” Ah! Now I know what this is all about!
Then, I came across a cache where some previous cacher had written in the log that this would be a great place for CITO. After visiting the cache, I agreed that this place would really benefit from some trash being removed. But, I still didn’t understand the underlying principals of CITO.
The geocaching.com website explains:
Cache In Trash Out is an ongoing environmental initiative supported by the worldwide geocaching community. Since 2002, geocachers have been dedicated to cleaning up parks and other cache-friendly places around the world. Through these volunteer efforts, we help preserve the natural beauty of our outdoor resources!
But it isn’t until further down the page that the whole concept begins to make sense:
Cache In Trash Out doesn’t just happen once a year. It can easily happen on every geocache adventure. Bring a trash bag along with you on your walks in the woods and pick up the occasional piece of trash you see on the trail. Even this small act can make a huge difference.
Get the grabbers!
Wow! Now, that was something I could get my head around. For YEARS I’d been making ESP Boss pull over in the woods for me to pick up glass bottles and aluminum cans. I would even keep a special bucket in the back of the truck for my recyclable “treasures.”
But, unfortunately, like any geocaching novice, I didn’t put 2 and 2 together and realize that CITO wasn’t just an event, it was a philosophy. Like ‘Leave No Trace’ principles or ‘Pack It In, Pack It Out’ it was up to every geocacher to do their part.
In doing more research about how to have a CITO event, I ran across the CITO Handbook, put out by the Florida Geocaching Association.
Wow! I highly recommend reading this guide even if you aren’t planning an event. It gives excellent tips about how to incorporate CITO in your everyday caching experiences.
And don’t be afraid to look for other ways you can help in your area! In Prescott Valley (about forty minutes away from my city) the Parks & Recreation Department had a great program where businesses or organizations could adopt a park.
For a year, EatStayPlay.com adopted Fain Park and participated in cleanups about every 6 weeks. (For all the photos of our Fain Park cleanups, please CLICK HERE!) We tied it into a picnic or going for coffee and invited the families of all my staff. The best part was that even the littlest trash picker-up-ers felt that they were really making a difference. Since I’m back to being a one-woman-show in the EatStayPlay.com office, I’ve asked for another organization to continue the efforts. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t bring gloves and a trash bag whenever I visit the park!
My big tip:
LOTS of water to drink and LOTS of hand sanitizer because, well, YUCK! Trash is just — YUCK!
I encourage all cachers to not only practice CITO when they are caching, but also just when they’re out and about.