Video Content

10 Minute Wilderness Word Break

Guest - March 25, 2020

Looking for a 10 minute break? Who doesn’t love learning new words and having a laugh at the same time. This video collection of not so common outdoor vernacular teaches us about nature and great ways that we can protect it.  Without peeking, how many do you know the meaning of?

  • Crust
  • Karst
  • Broadcast
  • Pothole
  • Carr
  • Humus

Here’s a great way to teach some of these words to your kids too. Find each of the 6 words in the search below, watch each corresponding video one by one, and reinforce what each word means in relation to our outdoor recreation with them afterword. The answer key for the search is located on the bottom of this post.


Living soil crust (a.k.a. cryptobiotic soil) is a hardened layer of living organisms such as cyanobacteria, fungi, algae, and mosses as well as non-living soil. If crushed it can contribute to spring runoff beginning as much as 50 days sooner than usual. Cryptobiotic soil also holds the desert floor in place reducing erosion, fixes nitrogen to plants and has the ability to intercept and store water. When hiking in areas with living soil crust, stick to trails and watch your step to avoid damaging this unique and important resource.


Karst is a type of landscape formed when water dissolves soft rock, producing land features such as steep cliffs, underground waterways, or caves. Some specialized recreation happens in Karst environments, check out this Leave No Trace guide to caving for more on how to protect this special ecosystem.


Broadcasting is a method for disposing of wastewater while outdoors with the goal of dispersing the impact across a wide area. This is an excellent way for us to sustainably wash dishes, gear, or ourselves in nature without polluting waterways. If you are washing dishes try to strain out your food particles. Now is a perfect time to practice this skill in your backyard.


In the desert, a pothole is like a miniature oasis. Not to be confused with the blighted bumper denting holes on most city streets, a desert pothole is a depression in rock layers that holds water for an extended period of time.  Potholes are also home to tiny desert animals and a rare water source for the larger wildlife. Don’t walk through desert puddles, mud holes or disturb surface water in any way.


A carr is a variety of wetland characterized by low woody plants like willows and alders. It’s like a swamp, but with shrubs instead of trees. This is sensitive habitat and is susceptible to human trampling. When hiking through a carr, stay on the designated trail, even if your boots get wet. And they will get wet. Stick to the trail when hiking in a carr, and definitely don’t try to drive a car through a carr. 


Humus is the dark organic material in fertile soils, full of microbes that can break down human waste. It’s the perfect environment if you need to dig a cathole. Hummus, on the other hand, is a Middle Eastern chickpea spread that goes great with pita chips. It’s not the right environment for digging a cathole. Knowing about both can be helpful in your daily life for satisfying snack cravings and disposing of waste properly.


Wilderness Word Search Solution


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