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How to Navigate Using Nature

A quick and breezy introduction to some basic wayfinding techniques from Fran Scott and BBC Earth Kids. Unless you went to camp as a kid or have spent a bunch of time outdoors, at least some of these techniques will be new to you. I’d never heard of trees growing in a check mark shape. From natural navigation expert Tristan Gooley:

Obviously, all green plants need sunlight. So it’s logical that plants will, all things being equal, tend to grow more abundantly on the side the light comes from. In the northern parts of the world, where the sun is due south in the middle of the day, that means plants are growing more abundantly on the south side.

Try noticing this in a tree the next time you take a walk outside. You should see that there’s more tree on the south side, unless there are other factors-for instance there are amazing examples of glass buildings that can make trees grow the wrong way. But generally speaking, there should be more of the tree on the south side.

Gooley is the author of The Lost Art of Reading Nature’s Signs: Use Outdoor Clues to Find Your Way, Predict the Weather, Locate Water, Track Animals โ€” and Other Forgotten Skills and several related books. (via the kid should see this)