MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A new geocaching program centered on Minnesota bird life will begin on Saturday (National Get Outdoors Day), offering long-time and novice geocachers the chance to learn about native avian life and the challenge of finding new caches in state parks, the DNR said.

Adding to the incentive, all state park admissions will be free on Saturday, in celebration of Get Outdoors Day.

Geocachers can find clues on where to find the new “Bird Caches” by visiting this DNR website at 8 a.m. Saturday.

Geocaching is a high-tech treasure-hunting game played by people with GPS devices throughout the world, according to geocaching.com. The object of the game is to find the cache and then sign the logbook to show other geocachers that one has found the location. Some geocachers leave items near the cache for others to have.

The DNR says at least one of the new bird-themed caches will be camouflaged and hidden at each of Minnesota’s state parks and recreation areas.

The caches will “nest,” as the DNR put it, collectible cards with pictures of native birds as seen by the lenses of nature photographer and birding expert Don Martin. The cards list facts about birds so as to help nature-lovers identify birds by their song or plumage. The cards are also color coded to distinguish between Minnesota’s natural habitats (or biomes), which are: prairieland, hardwood forest, pine forest, and tallgrass aspen parkland, the DNR said.

The new program comes after the Wildlife Safari geocaching program, which started in 2009, ended in early May. That program was host to 9,000 first-time geocachers.

The DNR offers beginner geocaching classes at the following locations:

• Northeast Region — Friday, June 8, 1-1:30 p.m. at Gooseberry Falls State Park (Two Harbors).
•Northwest Region — Saturday, June 9, 2-3 p.m. at Buffalo River State Park (Glyndon).
• Central Region — Saturday, June 9, 10-11 a.m. at Interstate State Park (Taylors Falls).
• Southern Region — Saturday, June 9, 1-4 p.m. at Camden State Park (Lynd) and 7-8 p.m. at Sibley State Park (New London).

For more state park geocaching information, visit the DNR website.


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