Geocaching Avian Adventure

A new geocaching program offers modern-day treasure hunters an exciting adventure filled with a variety of challenges, rewards, and bird-brained fun!

The Minnesota State Parks and Trails Geocaching Avian Adventure will take you across Minnesota—discovering the hidden gems of the state and revealing exciting facts about Minnesota’s favorite friends of flight.

Centered on Minnesota bird life, Geocaching Avian Adventure will begin this Saturday, June 9 (National Get Outdoors Day), offering long-time and novice geocachers the chance to learn about native avian life and the challenge of finding new caches in state parks, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

Adding to the incentive, all state park admissions will be free on Saturday, in celebration of Get Outdoors Day.

A Geocaching Avian Adventure Bird Cache has been hidden and waiting to be discovered in all 75 Minnesota state parks and recreation areas, as well as on one state trail. Your challenge is to locate the Bird Cache using a hand-held GPS (global positioning system) unit.

Most sites have multi-caches featuring several hidden caches with quizzes and puzzles to solve; all have a collectible Bird Card in the final cache.

Each camouflaged Bird Cache includes an instruction card, the Bird Guestbook (logbook), and a collectible Bird Biome Card specific to the state park, recreation area, or state trail.

Each Bird Card is color coordinated to one of the states four distinct natural communities or biomes. Also included in the cache may be small trinkets left by a previous geocacher. If you find a trinket, it’s your to keep. If you choose, leave a trinket in return for the next Avian Adventure geocacher to find.

The clues to their exact whereabouts will be posted at 8:00 a.m. June 9 on the DNR website, mndnr.gov.

“The Geocaching Avian Adventure will be fun for new and experienced geocachers alike,” said Kathy Dummer, interpretive services coordinator for the DNR’s Division of Parks and Trails.

“Everyone who participates will get a little better acquainted with Minnesota’s birds and biomes along the way.”

GPS demonstration parks provide free tips and equipment for beginners.

At 25 designated geocaching demo parks, GPS units can be checked out for free, and Geocaching 101 workshops will provide hands-on instruction for first-time geocachers.

Geocaching 101 programs are scheduled in each region of the state:

  • Northeast Region – Friday, June 8, 1:00-1:30 p.m. at Gooseberry Falls State Park (Two Harbors)
  • Northwest Region – Saturday, June 9, 2:00-3:00 p.m. at Buffalo River State Park (Glyndon)
  • Central Region – Saturday, June 9, 10:00-11:00 a.m. at Interstate State Park (Taylors Falls)
  • Southern Region – Saturday, June 9, 1:00-4:00 p.m. at Camden State Park (Lynd) and 7:00-8:00 p.m. at Sibley State Park (New London)

Since the Geocaching Wildlife Safari began in 2009, the interpretive naturalists at Minnesota state parks have offered 325 Geocaching 101 programs that have reached more than 9,000 participants. GPS units were checked out from the demo parks more than 2,754 times in 2011 alone.

What Is Geocaching?

Geocaching is a high-tech treasure-hunting game played by people with GPS devices throughout the world. The object of the game is to find the cache and then sign the logbook to show other geocachers that one has found the location. Some geocachers leave items near the cache for others to have.

What Is a Biome?

Minnesota is rich in natural diversity, providing essential habitat for a variety of plants and animals, especially birds. Minnesota is home to four major biomes, named for the dominant or most common plants that grow there: prairie grassland, deciduous forest, coniferous forest, and tallgrass aspen parkland.

Some birds are found in only one biome while many move between or across different natural communities. Minnesota State Parks and Trails preserve and manage significant fragments of these essential natural landscapes, making them great sites for birds, and for parks and trails visitors, too!

Worth Pondering…
There’s gold, and it’s haunting and haunting;
It’s luring me on as of old;
Yet it isn’t the gold that I’m wanting
So much as just finding the gold.
—Robert Service, The Spell of the Yukon

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Great Outdoors Week

If you are an RVer, then you already take advantage of the great outdoors every chance you can. But did you know that the second week in June is the National Great Outdoors Week?  This is a chance for people all across the country to enjoy the outdoors lifestyle, as well as honor some of those who make recreational outdoor life so great.

Let's Go RVing to Brasstown Bald, Georgia during National Great Outdoors Week. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved.

Planning is well under way for another eventful Great Outdoors Week, the American Recreation Coalition’s (ARC) annual celebration of outdoor recreation and its important contributions to the well-being of the American people and their communities.

According to a press release, the week begins with the observance of National Get Outdoors (GO) Day on June 11 and will include special events showcasing key recreation programs and recognizing the outstanding efforts being undertaken across the country to improve outdoor recreation experiences. Great Outdoors Week is one of the focal points of Great Outdoors Month, proclaimed nationwide by the president and by state governors in every state throughout the U.S.

The GO-Day launch of Great Outdoors Week will be marked at more than 100 sites where the public—especially young people—will be invited to enjoy different recreation activities and learn about additional, easily accessible recreation opportunities.

The U.S. Forest Service will celebrate GO-Day as Fee Free Day, waiving fees on millions of acres of national forests. And dozens of marina operators celebrating National Marina Day on June 11 will welcome thousands of visitors to these family-friendly gateways to wonderful boating experiences.

Programs featured during Great Outdoors Week will include:

  • The Obama administration’s America’s Great Outdoors Initiative to link the American people to their magnificent public lands
  • The Let’s Move Outside campaign launched by first lady Michelle Obama to combat childhood obesity
  • The ED OUT partnership program to encourage outdoor learning and fun
  • The Recreational Trails Program, which serves as the foundation for state trail programs all across the country
Let's Go RVing to Newport, Rhode Island during National Great Outdoors Week. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Great Outdoors Week will also include several different award ceremonies recognizing individual and collective achievements within the recreation community.

The Coalition for Recreational Trails will salute outstanding trail programs and projects funded by the federal Recreational Trails Program.

ARC will present its Legends Awards to exceptional individuals from seven federal agencies whose personal efforts have led to substantial improvements in outdoor recreation resources and management.

ARC’s Beacon Awards will recognize the innovative use of technology in visitor services and recreation management on public lands.

And, finally, the Sheldon Coleman Great Outdoors Award—the recreation community’s most prestigious award—will recognize the leadership, vision and accomplishments of one extraordinary individual whose personal commitment to the value and importance of recreation has contributed significantly to the welfare of the American people.

Let's Go RVing to Santa Fe, New Mexico during National Great Outdoors Week. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

“Great Outdoors Week gives us a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the people, places and programs that bring healthy outdoor fun to millions of Americans every day of the year,” said ARC President Derrick Crandall. “They really put the ‘Great’ into the Great Outdoors.”

Details

American Recreation Coalition (ARC)

The American Recreation Coalition (ARC) is dedicated to the protection and enhancement of everyone’s right to health and happiness through recreation.

U.S. Forest Service

Worth Pondering…
Two roads diverged in a wood, and

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.

— Robert Frost, The Road Not Taken

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