Geocaching Avian Adventure
Grab your binoculars, GPS unit and get ready to fly!
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. This two-year program offers modern-day treasure hunters an exciting adventure filled with a variety of challenges, rewards, and bird-brained fun! The program began June 9, 2012 and will conclude in June of 2014.
A Geocaching Avian Adventure Bird Cache has been hidden in every one of Minnesota's 75 state park 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 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 state's 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.
Avian Adventure Challenges
First to Find
Each cache's Bird Guestbook includes a special message and signing page for the first three geocachers to find it, and the first to find will also be recorded on Geocaching.com. Even if you're not the first, though, all finders can collect a Minnesota State Parks and Trails Bird Card from each of the Bird Caches.
Find the geocaches in each biome and collect the bird card in each cache. Each bird card is color-coordinated to one of the state's four biomes: Prairie=yellow; Deciduous forest=green; Coniferous forest=blue; Tallgrass aspen parkland=brown.
Slideshow of some of the cover photos from the Avian Adventure Geocaching Challenge cards. This slideshow requires the latest version of
Adobe Flash Player
Photos of some of the collectible Avian Adventure Bird Cards
Final Biome Bird Challenges
When you find your last cache for a biome, show park staff your completed collection of all the bird cards for that biome, and they'll give you the coordinates for the Final Biome Bird Challenge. If the park office is closed there will be a puzzle clue visible outside the office so you can still figure out and locate the final Biome Bird Challenge cache.
The parks where the four final biome challenges are hidden are:
- Camden State Park (prairie grassland biome)
- Nerstrand Big Woods State Park (deciduous forest biome)
- Savanna Portage State Park (coniferous forest biome)
- Lake Bronson State Park (tallgrass aspen parkland biome)
Minnesota State Bird Challenge
After completing the four final biome challenges, take all 81 of your bird cards to Itasca State Park where you will find the very last challenge. Stop by the park's visitor center to show staff your collection of cards, and they'll give you the coordinates for the super-secret final Minnesota State Bird Challenge cache.
After you've found the Minnesota State Bird Challenge cache, take a picture of yourself with the final card. (Yes, by all means include your family, friends, dog, and anyone else that helped you complete the Avian Adventure Geocaching Challenge!) Caption and upload your photograph using this link, and we'll add your picture to the Avian Adventure Finishers Gallery. (It can take a few days to do this, so please be patient.)
* What's 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!