The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Fe University to host orienteering class


July 18, 2019

MERCER, Wis. — With the prevalence of smart phones and GPS, it’s increasingly rare to get around without the assistance of digital technology. However, Fe University is teaching an orienteering class next month for those interested in improving their skills with a map and compass.

The class will be held Aug. 13 and 20 from 1-3 p.m., and 1-4 p.m. Aug. 22. The first two classes will be held at the Mercer Public Library. The third class will be held in the field, at a location still being decided.

“Participants will explore compass types, discover why a compass works, and learn how to use a compass to find a location. They will be introduced to a map’s features and discover how to select routes of travel, plot courses on the map with a compass, and determine locations using a map and compass,” a spokesperson said. “In the final class students will work in small groups utilizing a map and compass to locate clues to navigate to a group rendezvous point. Participants will be off trail and in the woods for this session.

“GPS and useful phone apps will also be discussed. By the end of the course, participants will be able to plan a route of travel to a location utilizing a map and compass, follow a route to a destination using a compass, predict current location using terrain features and compass, determine map coordinates, and discuss pros and cons of utilizing map/compass versus GPS.”

No prior experience with a map and compass is needed for the class, although participants will have to be able to walk 1 to 2 miles on “variable terrain.” A “baseplate compass like the Suunto A-30 Compass, Silva Compass Expedition 4, Suunto MC-2G or similar” is required, according to the spokesperson.

Sterling Strathe is teaching the class. Strathe has worked in outdoor education since 1989, according to the spokesperson, and has led trips to Alaska, Costa Rica, Wyoming and the Bahamas. He is now retired and lives with his wife near Eagle River, Wis.

Class size is limited, so participants are encouraged to register early. There is a fee to participate, and a discount for those who register before July 31.

To register, people can download a form off; or visit the Mercer library or University of Wisconsin-Extension office in the Iron County Courthouse in Hurley.

—Richard Jenkins


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