Manatee County Natural Resources Department will launch new Taking Flight GeoTour through Manatee County’s preserve system today.
Participants can use their GPS devices to find hidden “geocaches” throughout Manatee County’s publicly owned preserves. Each geocache location has an educational focus and the entire tour is themed around birds, their habits, and habitats.
Melissa Cain Nell, volunteer and education division manager for the natural resources department, described the tour as a high-tech treasure hunt in some of Manatee County’s most beautiful locations.
“As trail trekkers travel to each point on the tour they will learn about Manatee County’s unique feathered creatures and discover different aspects of bird life such as migration and nesting,” Cain Nell said. “The GeoTour spans all of Manatee County, from the beach on Anna Maria Island all the way east to Duette Preserve. In between, geocachers can find caches at 10 different conservation properties, three of which are currently undergoing restoration.”
The geotour is free and easy. All you need is a GPS locator or GPS-enabled device like a smart phone. You’ll also need a copy of a free Taking Flight GeoTour Passport available at the natural resources office at 415 10th St. W. The passports are also available on the county website at http://www.mymanatee.org/takingflightgeotour.
“The first 300 people complete at least 12 of the 15 caches on the passport will receive a free trackable geotag that they can place in another cache and track as it travels around the world,” Cain Nell said. “Once you answer the questions on your passport, turn it in or mail it in to the office to receive your tracking tag.”
If you just want to fo on a trasure hunt you can hunt for the caches without completing the activities by looking them up on Geocaching.com.
The cache sites will go “live” today on the Geocaching.com and will officially be available for people to find. The caches themselves can be looked up on geocacing.org or can be seen on the official County webpage at http://www.mymanatee.org/takingflightgeotour
The County page also features an interactive Google map with all of the cache coordinates, downloadable copies of the passport, basic geocaching information, and news and updates about the new project.
The Taking Flight GeoTour is sponsored by Manatee County Natural Resources Department, Sarasota Bay Estuary Program, Tampa Bay Estuary Program and Charlotte Harbor National Estuary Program.
For more information on Manatee County’s Natural Resources Department call (941) 748-4501, ext. 4605 or visit www.mymanatee.org/naturalresources.
Visit the Natural Resources Department on Facebook at www.facebook.com/manatee.natural.resources and find your favorite preserves at their preserve pages too www.facebook.com/Robinson.Preserve