Over the holidays, Kristen, our birding intern, set up a geocache course on the island, sponsored by Mount Pleasant’s Wild Birds Unlimited. It was a pretty flexible experience, because participants could complete the course at their own pace. Need a sandwich or a raincoat? It’s easy to get a quick break while you’re out hunting treasure. Participants started at the landings building, where they picked up the first clue.
The clues gave both a coordinate for a gps, and a google map id point, so you could use your phone to follow the trail around the island. In addition, they required some knowledge of the island and provided some education about birds and birding. One clue was even on the new trail through the Cypress swamp.
When we were in there looking for the clue, a flock of mallards flew off. I seldom get mallards on the bird count, so that was exciting! That clue had a bird call system where you could listen to the bird calls, and when we played a few calls, a chickadee answered.
Another clue staged a bird nest out in the conservation areas on the north end of the island:
Each station had activities designed to get the participants more familiar with birds:
And it was easy (and challenging) for groups of kids to do together without adult help.
Mark Pagano, a newly retired full time owner, said, “We enjoyed it, completing it over a couple of days. Nice to complete a couple of clues at the end of the day. We were almost stumped on the Woodpecker clue as well as #7 which we must have walked past a dozen times.” I had the same experience, sneaking in a clue when I had a few minutes to spare.
Clues led us all around the island, with the final stop at the top floor of the Landings Building. Hidden in one of the seat benches was a prize packet, including coupons to the Wild Birds Unlimited store, some birdseed, and a hand held hummingbird feeder. Danielle, at Wild Birds Unlimited, set up 30 prize packets, the last four of which were claimed by us and Lori and Kristen. That means 28 residents and guests completed the course! We’re so appreciative of Kristen’s efforts.
Resident Caitlyn McDaniel says, “The hunt was just the right amount of difficulty for a fun winter afternoon with friends. People who partook in the caching event went all over the island exploring the true beauty of Dewees. Thank you Kristen Oliver, for setting this up, it was truly fantastic!”