Native yellow sunflowers in a field
7

Scavenger Hunt at Forestville-Mystery Cave State Park

Welcome! You are tasked with finding up to 22 "items" from these categories:

  • Mushrooms/Lichens
  • Birds
  • Amphibians/Reptiles
  • Wildflowers
  • Mammals
  • Trees
  • Arthropods

Whether you find just 1 or all 22, you can enter the weekly drawing for a $20 gift card to Minnesota State Parks by filling out the form at the end of the hunt. Winners are selected each week among all participating parks.

Happy scavenging!

Note: Icon below shows # of entries at this park for the year.

 

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1 / 22

ARTIST'S CONK

Appearance: Semi-circle with brown top and pure white underside.
Found: On tree trunks of hardwood trees and some conifers.
CAUTION: Never eat any mushroom unless knowledgeable.

photos: Cyndy Sims Parr/FlickrCC
George Chernilevsky/Public domain
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2 / 22

ELEGANT SUNBURST LICHEN

Appearance: Rich red-orange rosettes with radiating fingerlike lobes.
Found: Common on rocky shores. Found on every continent except Australia.
Fun Fact: Thrives under bird perches where it absorbs nitrogen from poop.

photo: Björn S.../WikimediaCC
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3 / 22

RIM LICHENS

Appearance: Pale white-green-yellow with waxy surface. Inner area forms cup-like bodies with yellowish centers.
Found: Forms like a crust on rocks.

photo: PJason Hollinger/WikimediaCC
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Next: Birds >

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4 / 22

BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEE

Appearance: Back cap and chin.
Found: Year-round residents of MN forests and common visitor to bird-feeders.
Fun Fact: A friendly bird that has been known to eat seeds from human's hands.

photo: Minette Layne / Wikimedia Commons
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5 / 22

NORTHERN CARDINAL

Male: Bold red with crest on head.
Female/Immature Male: Brownish-red.
Found: In open woodlands and common visitor to bird-feeders.
Listen for: Loud, sweet whistle songs.

photo: Jack Bulmer /Pixabay
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6 / 22

INDIGO BUNTING

Appearance: Male is vibrant blue, while the female is all brown.
Found: Mostly seen along woodland edges eating bugs.

photo: Gareth Rasberry / WikiMedia CC
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< Mushrooms       Reptiles >

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7 / 22

AMERICAN TOAD

Color: Brown, olive green, or reddish.

Found: Near water or moist areas.

Toads are amphibians that start life as tadpoles then emerge onto dry land as tiny toadlets about the length of a fingernail.

photo: National Park Service
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8 / 22

PAINTED TURTLE

Color: Red-orange bottom shell (appears painted on) and black-olive upper shell. Yellow stripes on neck.
Found: On logs in lakes.

These rather adorable reptiles are docile and have no teeth.

photo: Steven Katovich / Bugwood.org CC
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9 / 22

COMMON GARTER SNAKE

Color: Black with 3 yellow lengthwise stripes.

Found: In the brush or sunning themselves on a paved trail.

No need to fear these reptiles who mind their own business.

photo: Christina Butler/Wikimedia CC
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< Birds       Flowers >

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10 / 22

JEWELWEED

Blooms: July - September
Found: In thickets along shorelines or wetlands.
Petals: Orange or yellow horn-like shape.
Try: Gently pinch the base of petals and tiny seeds may explode outward!

photo: Blue Ridge Kitties / FlickrCC
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11 / 22

WILD BERGAMOT

Blooms: June - September
Found: In sunny fields,
Petals: Shaggy pink petals and is great for birds and butterflies.

photo: Joshua Mayer/FlickrCC
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12 / 22

BUTTERFLY WEED

Blooms June - September
Found: In the sun, dry fields, and prairies.
Petals: Flat-topped clusters with up to 25 orange flowers.

photo: Eric Hunt / Wikimedia CC
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< Amphibians & Reptiles      Mammals >

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13 / 22

THIRTEEN-LINED GROUND SQUIRREL

Long body with 13 stripes on back. Found scurrying along ground or darting into its underground home.

photo: Marit & Toomas Hinnosaar / FlickrCC
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14 / 22

GRAY SQUIRREL

Found across Minnesota from woods to urban yards. Build leaf nests in summer.

photo: BirdPhotos.com / WikiMedia CC
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15 / 22

WHITETAIL DEER

One of the largest mammals in MN yet camouflaged and stealthy. Sleeps in different spot each night. Only males grow antlers.

photos: Justin Pruden / P&TC photo contest
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< Flowers       Trees >

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16 / 22

BUR OAK

Leaf: 7-9 rounded lobes with deep and shallow notches. Tips large and wavy.
Fruit: Acorn with fringe around cup. These feed many wildlife.
Tree Form: Relatively short trunk with heavy, sprawling branches

photos: MnDNR
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17 / 22

BASSWOOD (LINDEN)

Leaf: Heart-shaped with jagged teeth. Bees love to make honey from basswood flowers.
Bark: Smooth grayish red when young. Grayish brown with shallow, narrow ridges.
Fruit: Small nutlet under leafy bract.

photos: MnDNR; University of NE-Lincoln
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18 / 22

SILVER MAPLE

Leaves: Same shape as all maples (think Canada flag) but very jagged with deep notches.
Bark: Smooth when young, becomes shaggy with age.
Found: In floodplains and can withstand seasonal floods.

photo: MnDNR
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< Mammals      Arthropods >

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19 / 22

LEAFHOPPER / SPITTLEBUG

Size & Shape: Small bug (~1/4") in variety of different colors.
Spittle:
They surround themselves with bubbles as they eat leaves.

photos: Pixahive & Gbohne/WikimediaCC
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20 / 22

LAND SNAIL

Size & Shape: Tiny (~1" long) and shells are swirls or cones. 
Found:
Around logs, hollow trees and rocks in wooded areas.
Key Role: They eat decaying plants so it can be mixed into the soil and grew new life.

photo: Scott King / iNaturalist CC
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21 / 22

SWALLOWTAIL BUTTERFLY

Color: Yellow with black outline or black with yellow marks.
Shape: Large wings with a set of tails at the end.
Found: Among wildflowers and along rivers, creeks and fields.
Fun Fact: In addition to eating flower nectar they also eat dead animals, dung and urine.

photos: James St. John/WikimediaCC
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< Trees      Write-In >

22 / 22

WHAT OTHER INTERESTING THINGS DID YOU FIND?

Fill in the following information to be entered in our weekly drawing for a $20 gift card to Minnesota State Parks, which will be mailed to the winner.

You may also opt to receive this 4"x 4" window cling with dots showing each Minnesota State Park.

state of mn with dots for each state park

Please note: An adult must fill in the information for anyone age 12 and under.

Please mail me this window cling and more info about Parks & Trails Council of MN

Your score is