Native yellow sunflowers in a field
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Scavenger Hunt at Nerstrand Big Woods State Park

Note: The 2022 Scavenger Hunt Season is now closed.

You are welcome to use this scavenger hunt, but there are no more weekly drawings.

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

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

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

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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3 / 22

TINDER CONK (HOOF) MUSHROOM

Appearance: Looks like a horse hoof on a tree.
Found: Mostly on birch trees.
Fun Fact: The famous mummy, "Otzi the Iceman" was carrying this mushroom to use as tinder.
CAUTION: Never eat mushrooms unless knowledgeable. This slow-growing mushroom cannot be harvested in state parks

photo: Photo © Walter Baxter
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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

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

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

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

COLUMBINE

Blooms: May - July
Found: On cliffs and forest edges.
Petals: Red/pink with club-like petals.
Fun Fact: Hummingbirds drink nectar from this flower.

photo: Jelieta Walinski/P&TC photo contest
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< Amphibians & Reptiles      Mammals >

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13 / 22

MUSKRAT (or its lodge)

Not actually a rat, this creature is a close cousin to beavers, except muskrats' tails look similar to rat tails.
Found: In ponds, marshes and streams.
Lodges (Muskrat homes): Mounds made from mud and vegetation such as cattails and other plants woody materials.

photo: Don Burkett/FlickrCC & Brianne/FlickrCC
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14 / 22

FOX SQUIRREL

The largest tree squirrel in MN. Reddish fur on chin, belly, chest and feet. Build leaf nests in summer.

photo: Nancy Jahnel / P&TC photo contest
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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

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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17 / 22

BITTERNUT HICKORY

Leaf: 7-11 narrow leaflets with pointed tips and fine-toothed edge.
Bark: Light gray-brown, smooth when young, then lightly textured shallow and narrow fissures with age.
Fruit: Round nut is too bitter to eat but used in smoking foods.

photos: MnDNR
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18 / 22

GREEN ASH

Leaves: 7-9 leaflets per stem.
Bark: Dark brown tinged with red; strongly ridged.
Note: An invasive insect known as the emerald ash borer is spreading across the state and killing off many ash trees.

photos: MnDNR
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< Mammals      Arthropods >

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19 / 22

ANT

The lowly ant plays an important role in the environment. They aerate the soil, which helps plants grow; they keep things tidy by feeding on organic waste, and dead animals; and some wildflowers (such as trillium, bloodroot and violets) rely on them to transport their seeds.

photo: Galpert / WikiMediaCC
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20 / 22

MOSQUITO

Bzzzzz...thwap! Lucky you--you found a mosquito. At least you can check it off the list, even if, like most people, you weren't happy to find it.

photo: James Gathany / Flickr 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