AcuRite Weather Station
The AcuRite Weather Station is an excellent addition to Girl Scouts of Middle Tennessee’s Camp Sycamore Hills! The wireless weather station mounted near the horse barn will be used to monitor rainfall amounts and temperatures that impact the health and safety of both our 40+ horses and our girl participants. With the addition of the lightning detector, we will also be able to track the proximity of lightning, which could be a threat to the safety of riders since horses can become nervous and unpredictable when lightning strikes nearby. Because the staff spends much of their time outside, being able to access the weather data and weather tracking tools remotely is critical to have the most up-to-date information.
Girl Scouts of Middle Tennessee provides between 5,000 to 6,000 traditional horse-related experiences such as trail rides, lessons, and horsemanship classes for Girl Scouts annually. In addition, we serve 500 to 600 elementary students annually with equine-based STEM experiences. The full-time staff responsible for the management of the horses and programs constantly make decisions regarding safe conditions for these activities. When temperatures drop below freezing or the heat index rises above 100 degrees, programs must be modified to protect participants, staff, and horses. Our local official weather stations report temperatures that are often quite different than the actual temperatures at Camp Sycamore Hills. Winter temperatures can be as much as 12 degrees colder at camp. A camp weather station is essential for monitoring, tracking, and staying ahead of any potentially dangerous weather conditions.
We will also use the rain amounts to predict if our entry road or lowest pasture are in danger of flooding. We get the Sycamore Creek level from the USGS monitor. When combined with the amount of rain we actually receive, we have a pretty good idea of whether we need to move horses, cancel a program, or prepare participants to leave camp before being stuck by rising water and flooding.
As the equestrian manager, I live on camp so that I can take care of the horses when no other staff is around. I constantly use the Atlas Weather Station to monitor rainfall, and I am grateful that future equestrian managers will be able to do the same with this camp weather station. It is critical in weather emergencies for someone to be able to check on the horses, move them if necessary, and see to their needs. Being able to have time to get back to camp in the event of unexpected rainfall, which happens now and then, will be very important!
In addition to the equestrian area, the weather station will also benefit the other parts of the camp. Our camp director and adventure coordinator will use the weather monitoring tools to make decisions about modifying or canceling outdoor programs such as challenge course, canoeing, kayaking, and zip line since these activities are on the creek or on the other side of it. Even activities on the main part of the camp, especially those at our aquatics center, will benefit from information from the weather station. We serve over 1200 girls for resident camp each summer as well as provide over 14,000 girl experiences through troop camping and individual outdoor experiences every year.
For updated information on our Girl Scout program, please visit our Facebook page, or our website at www.gsmidtn.org