Native yellow sunflowers in a field
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Scavenger Hunt at Gooseberry Falls 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

YELLOW FLY AGARIC MUSHROOM

Appearance: Yellow cap with white specks.
Found: On the ground under conifers, aspen, or birch.
Fun Fact: Appears in many fairytales.
CAUTION: Never eat mushrooms unless knowledgeable.

photo: Steve Young/P&TC
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2 / 22

LIPSTICK POWDERHORN LICHEN

Appearance: Red tips on a green stalk that are about 1 inch tall.
Found: On dead wood and often at the bases of trees.

photo: bjoerns/WikimediaCC
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3 / 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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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

BLUE JAY

Appearance: Bold blue and white with crest on its head.
Found: In the forest.
Listen for: Loud shrieks.
Fun Fact: They are considered one of the most intelligent birds and have tight family bonds.

photo: Jongsun Lee / WikiMedia CC
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6 / 22

RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD

Appearance: MN's smallest bird at only 3 inches. Only male has red throat.
Found: At forest edges, meadows and along streams.
Fun Fact: Their wings flap so fast it creates a humming sound.

photo: Michael Janke/FlickrCC
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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

WOOD FROG

Color: A masked frog with grayish body.
Found: In forested areas under logs and rocks or in leaf piles. Breed in wetlands and lakes.
Listen for: Ducklike cackling: ca-ha-ha-ac, ca-ha-ha-ac, ca-ha-ha-ac,

photo: Ryan Hodnett / Wikimedia CC
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< Birds       Flowers >

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10 / 22

CANADA ANEMONE

Blooms: May - July
Found: In moist fields and along shores.
Petals: White petals sit atop a long-stem.
Leaves: Large and jagged.

photo: USFS
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11 / 22

BUNCHBERRY

Blooms: May - July
Found: In shade of moist woods and bogs.
Petals: Four white petals.
Leaves: Whirl of smooth, pointed egg-shape. Easy to spot even after the petals are gone.

photo: Lisa Filter / P&TC
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12 / 22

BLUE VERVAIN

Blooms: June - September Plant is 1-3 feet tall.
Found: In sunny, wet ditches and shores.
Petals: Flowers are on spikes 2-5 inches tall. They attract bumblebees and other important pollinators.

photo: Andrew C / Wikimedia CC
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< Amphibians & Reptiles      Mammals >

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13 / 22

SNOWSHOE HARE

Very similar to the common cottontail. Has larger feet and black edge around its ears. In winter they turn white.

photo: Marit & Toomas Hinnosaar/FlickrCC
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14 / 22

RED SQUIRREL

A cute little critter with a loud bark/chatter. The white ring around its eye only adds to the cuteness.

photo: Pixabay
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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

QUAKING ASPEN

Leaf: Rounded with saw-tooth edge. Leafstalk is flattened, which allow it to "quake" in the breeze.
Try: If you find a leaf try rolling it by its stem with your fingers to feel the way it moves.
Bark: Greenish-white and smooth upper with black splotches. Base is grayish and furrowed.

photos: MnDNR
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17 / 22

WHITE CEDAR

Needles: Flat and scale-like and have aromatic scent.
Bark: Gray to reddish brown, separating in long, vertical shreddy strips.
Found: In moist, rocky places.

photo: MnDNR
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18 / 22

BALSAM FIR

Needles: Lay flat on twig and each needle is flat, soft and blunt-tipped.
Bark: Smoothish gray with horizontal ridges.
Smell: When needles are broken they give off a smell that reminds many people of Christmas.

photos: 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

LADYBUGS (Ladybird Beetles)

Size & Shape: Most common ones are the non-native species (shown in photo) that are reddish with black spots. Minnesota is home to 50+ species of rare ladybugs.

photos: Dominik Stodulski/Wikimedia CC & Larah McElroy/FlickrCC
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21 / 22

DRAGONFLIES / DAMSELFLIES

Appearance: 140 species in MN come in a rainbow of colors.
Dragonfly: Bigger and keep wings spread out when resting.
Damselfly: Smaller and close their wings when resting.
Fun Fact: They can fly upside down, backward, and turn 360° on a dime.

photos: John Wright / Flickr CC; Jim Johnson / iNaturalist CC; Wayne Fidler / iNaturalist CC
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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