Native yellow sunflowers in a field
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Scavenger Hunt at Minnesota Valley State Rec Area

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

SPLIT GILL

Appearance: Clusters of white, fan-shaped caps with fuzzy tops and gills under.
Found: On stumps, logs, and sticks of dead hardwood, especially oak.
Fun Fact: One of the most common mushrooms on the planet.
CAUTION: Never eat any mushroom unless knowledgeable.

photo: Mark Lingl/P&TC Contest
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2 / 22

COMMON GREENSHIELD LICHEN

Appearance:  Looks like a leaf of lettuce glued to a tree. It's pale yellow-green with wrinkly, wavy lobes.
Found: On the trunk of broad leafed trees such as maples, oaks, etc. and shrubs.
Fun Fact: Some people use it to dye wool.

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

BALD EAGLE

Appearance: White head that turns white by age 4-5.
Found: Soaring high overhead or perched near top of white pine trees near water.
Fact: A conservation success story--nearing extinction by the 1970s, it rebounded after a ban on DDT pesticides.

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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

COMMON YELLOWTHROAT

Appearance: The male looks like the masked bandit of the bird world with its black mask on yellow body. Female doesn't have a mask.
Found: Secretive birds flit in the brush near marshes or wetlands.
Listen for: Cheerful song of "witchity-witchity-witchity-witchity"

photo: Dan Pancamo /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

NORTHERN LEOPARD FROG

Color: Bright green with spots that look like a leopard.
Found: In wet meadows and fields near wetlands or lakeshores.
Listen for: Long, deep snore lasting several seconds and ending with "chuck-chuck-chuck"

photo: Ryan Hodnett / Wikimedia CC
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< Birds       Flowers >

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10 / 22

COMMON MILKWEED

Blooms: June - August
Commonly Found: Along shores and wood edges.
Petal Color: Pink or white.
Fun Fact: Monarchs lay their eggs soley on milkweed.

photo: USFWS
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11 / 22

GOLDENROD

Blooms: July - September
Found: In the sunny areas.
Petals: Branching clusters with small, yellow flowers
Note: MN has 17 types of goldenrod that look similar with small yellow flowers.

photo: Elfosium / Wikimedia CC
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12 / 22

BLUE FLAG IRIS

Blooms: May - August
Found: In part shade to sun in wet meadows.
Petals: Typical iris shape, 3 to 4 inches across, blue to blue-violet, sometimes red-purple and rarely pale blue.

photo: Jennifer Quam / P&TC photo contest
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< Amphibians & Reptiles      Mammals >

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13 / 22

BEAVER (lodge or chew marks)

Lodges (Beaver homes): Look in shallow water for mounds of sticks. Beavers made these by chewing, carrying and placing each stick in place with mud. The entrance is underwater.
Chew Marks: Beavers gnaw on trees to fell them and use them in building dams. The marks are unique to beavers and one of the best signs of beaver presence.

[photos: Kyle T. Ford/P&TC photo contest; Keith William/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

WHITE OAK

Leaf: 5-9 finger-like lobes that can be notched deeply or shallow.
Bark: Pale gray with scaly ridges and shallow fissures.
Acorn: light brown and enclosed in a bowl-shaped cap.

photo: 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

SUGAR MAPLE

Leaves: 3 pointed lobes with 2 smaller points near the stem (symbol on Canada flag).
Bark: Smooth, light gray to brown becomes almost black with irregular plates or scales.
Fun Fact: Maple syrup is made from this tree by collecting sap in the spring.

photo: MnDNR
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< Mammals      Arthropods >

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19 / 22

GRASSHOPPER

Found: Near tall grasses in late summer and fall.
Fun Fact: They are jumping phenoms, leaping 20 times their body length, which equates to a human jumping 120 feet.

photo: Will Brown / WikiMedia CC
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20 / 22

PILL BUG (Roly Poly)

Found: Lift up a large rock or log on the forest floor and you may see this bug scuttle away.
Fun Fact: They can roll up into a ball shape.
Key Role: They eat decaying plant material so it can be mixed into the soil and grew new life.

photo: Twosistersinthewild / Wikimedia 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 mail me this window cling and more info about Parks & Trails Council of MN

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