Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Great Swamp Scavenger Hunt: You've Never Seen The Swamp Like This Before

Did you know that you can watch bald eagles hunt for fish in suburban New Jersey?  Were you aware that the best place to catch a glimpse of America’s newest frog species is right here in Morris and Somerset Counties?  Do you remember why George Washington thought Morristown was a great place to camp the Continental Army during the worst winter of the Revolutionary War?

If you answered “no” to any of these question, then it’s probably time to take a refresher course on all of the amazing sites of natural, cultural, and historic importance hiding in your own backyard.

Starting at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday, May 19, The Great Swamp Scavenger Hunt offers you, your family, and your friends a chance to reacquaint yourself with a few of the places and people that put New Jersey’s Great Swamp region on the proverbial map.  Oh yeah, it will be LOTS of fun too!

Since January, the Great Swamp Watershed Association has been working with the Friends of the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, Harding Land Trust, the Morris County Park Commission, the Morristown National Historical Park, the New Jersey Audubon Society, The Raptor Trust, the Somerset County Park Commission, and the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge  to create a one-of-a-kind interactive tour of the 55-square-mile Great Swamp Watershed.

Armed with a list of both GPS coordinates and street addresses, your own sense of adventure, and the Great Swamp Scavenger Hunt Clue Kit you pick up at Loantaka Brook Reservation (75 Kitchell Rd. in Morristown), you will get the chance to spend as much time as you like exploring more than a dozen sites of local, regional, and national significance, including the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge (Harding), the Morristown National Historical Park (Morristown), the Great Swamp Outdoor Education Center (Chatham), the Somerset County Environmental Education Center (Basking Ridge), the Scherman Hoffman Wildlife Sanctuary (Bernardsville), and The Raptor Trust (Long Hill).

Along the way, your Clue Kit may prompt you to get out of your car or off your bicycle to find out what each destination is all about. Other challenge questions can be answered from the convenience of your car. Pay close attention at each stop because you will need to answer several challenge questions to prove that you have completed all your explorations.

Scavenge as much as you like, and wherever you like. But, remember, the more places you visit and the more Great Swamp challenge questions you answer correctly, the higher your Scavenger Hunt score will be.  Those who return to Loantaka Brook Reservation at 4:00 p.m. with the highest scores will be eligible receive special prizes provided and made possible by underwriters at PSEG, PNC Bank, REI – Recreation Equipment, Inc. (East Hanover), Blue Ridge Mountain Sports (Madison), and BaseCamp Adventure Outfitters (Bernardsville).

While you wait for your Scavenger Hunt score to be tallied, the Great Swamp Watershed Association will treat you and your fellow scavengers to a picnic in honor of all you have seen and experienced throughout the day. Celebrate! You earned it!

If this sounds like fun for you, your family, and your friends, you can register to participate in the Great Swamp Scavenger Hunt by visiting on the Web right now!  Registration is FREE, although donations are most welcome.  If you prefer, you may register to participate onsite at Loantaka Brook Reservation on May 19 between 9:00 a.m. and noon.

Click here to download and print a scavenger hunt flyer!

For more information about The Great Swamp Scavenger Hunt, please visit, call 973-538-3500, or send an email message to

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