|Type||Nature of Science|
Nature Quest is a trial event that requires participants to navigate through a pre-designed course using nothing more than a compass. The two-person teams need to have a working knowledge of compass use, and also must be able to accurately pace a given distance. A woodlot is the preferred area for competition, but if there are no available woodlots, any open area works as well.
At the Competition
Generally at competition, teams approach a starting station inside of a building where they are given a set of directions. The first direction might read "Travel 8 meters at 30 degrees Northeast," which would direct a team down a hallway to a grouping of pieces of paper on the ground with different letters. One piece of paper will be placed those exact 8 meters away, with the others just being decoys intended to hurt teams that can't accurately judge distance traveled. The team would then move on to the next direction, and continue until they reached the end of the course.
Another way of performing the event is to hold it in a large field or similar open place, where the compass bearing becomes far more important than the being able to walk/run a given distance. Teams are ranked first based on how well they navigated the course (most correct signs/pieces of paper/etc.), with time also being an important factor in the tiebreaking process.
The best way to prepare for the event is to practice. By practicing the use of the compass and judging distance in a variety of settings, it will get easier to navigate through a course quickly, accurately, and efficiently. Orienteering, which uses similar concepts, may be a good way to get practice in a fun setting.