Hank the Hawk, our Mascot, was born (i.e. introduced) on January 2nd, 2015. The idea for him, believe it or not, was born out of a thread in our forums started by a cacher who couldn’t find their own cache listings on our site. We quickly figured out he was confusing us with Garmin’s now defunct opencaching.com, a rather common mistake when that site was still live. He commented how our site looked a little different then he remembered, and there was no “little blue mascot guy thingy”. 🙂 We then started our own thread in our own sub forum visible only to our admins and volunteers, and the idea for Hank was born. Hank is a red-tailed Hawk, by the way.
Why is he a red-tailed Hawk?
The idea for the red-tailed Hawk came from OCNA Admin DudleyGrunt. He said “We could make him a Red-Tailed Hawk, since they are an exclusive to North American bird, and the most common Hawk in North America”. There is a “distribution” map if you follow that link, and you can see the red-tailed Hawk is found throughout North America (Canada, The U.S. and Mexico). That’s our OCNA territory, and all the OCNA admins quickly agreed the red-tailed Hawk would make an excellent mascot.
Why is he named Hank?
He is so named as a tribute to Hank, last name unknown, the somewhat mysterious founder of The OpenCaching Network. The idea for the name too was hammered out relatively quickly in our “secret sub forum”. The story of Hank and the founding of OpenCaching is outlined in our 2nd ever blog post from March 2013. Although Hank himself never got Opencaching.com off the ground, he inspired the German team behind OpenCaching.de to get their project up and running, and even had a sub forum in his forums for them to discuss their project. He in fact wrote several of the base php files still used to this day throughout the OpenCaching network of websites. For example, here is a screen shot of some commented text that appears at the top of the source code of the file register.php on our website:
Who made this mascot?
Hank was designed (with lots of input from the OCNA admins) by Nancy of The Deadliest Cachers, a Geocacher from Derby, New York. Her cache page graphics are sort of legendary in Western New York. She has also designed several Pathtags for fellow Geocachers. Feel free to contact her via her profile on Geocaching.com, as linked above, if you’re interested. The basic Hawk is a stock image, but he has been significantly altered. Unlike copywrited Frogs and Squirrels, we plan on creating a creative commons license, and releasing Hank into the public domain. See the downloads section of our Wiki.