It’s that time of year when many of us are feeling starved for outdoor fun or trapped with too much indoor time. It might be hard to find the motivation to get into nature when winter lingers.
If you’re seeking a new way to have some winter forest fun, try a photo-scavenger hunt. All you need is a device (camera, cell phone, tablet) that captures images, a list of things to find and photograph, and warm layers to keep out the chill. Unleash your creativity and find a way to make each photo interesting by getting up close or changing the angle.
To make this outing easier to plan for your friends, family, walking group, or partner, here’s a 20 item list for your winter exploration in Altona Forest:
- A cut tree showing its growth rings
- A bracket fungus/mushroom on a tree trunk
- A woodpecker hole
- A plant with berries
- An animal trail in the snow
- A bird (hint – winter is great for spotting woodpeckers)
- Something bright green
- A nature sculpture
- A piece of nature caught in ice
- A tree with some leaves still on it
- Something that shouldn’t be in the forest
- A trail sign/marker
- A bent tree
- Boardwalk (over wet areas)
- A cone on/from an evergreen tree
- Someone hugging a tree
- Something that starts with the first letter of your name
- Tree bark so interesting it looks like art
- A bench (preferably with you and your group on it – to remember your visit)
- One great photo to post on My Altona Forest facebook page (tag it with PhotoScavengerHunt if you want to see it on the page’s main wall)
Don’t forget your list as you head out the door. This list is comprised of 3 types of items; easy to find items, difficult to find items, and items that invite creativity or interpretation. Check things off as you find them – and look for things you can add to future lists if you want to re-create the challenge.
I have based this list on an easy walking loop (#1 below) in the forest but consider the other routes as well. Take along the map if you are unfamiliar with the trails:
- Start at the Summer Park entrance and follow the blue trail from posts 15-25, along the boardwalk from 25-27 near post and then back out near post 15.
- A very popular extended loop is following posts 15-24, then along the boardwalk in ascending order (28-30) and then onto the trail from 31-35. Turn north/east at the fork and follow posts 13-15 and exit back to Summer Park.
- A third winter walk for your scavenger hunt is entering at post 1 (Strouds Entrance) and walking north to at least Lacey’s Pond (post 12) before turning back.
Doing the same list on a different route – or in a different conservation area – makes this a brand new challenge.
A photo-scavenger hunt gives you a bounty of great photos you can collage or post to social media. If you are sharing publicly, please consider tagging #AltonaForest so we can enjoy your views and perspective of the forest!
Beyond getting out for some fresh air and exploration of nature, a photo scavenger hunt gives you reason to look more carefully, get closer, and discover new things along familiar routes.
PS Here’s a young-kids version of a winter scavenger hunt – you can use it in tandem with the grown-up photo version above – enjoy!
Winter Photo Scavenger Hunt ~ © 2017 Natasha G