April 13, 2020

The Great Missouri River Scavenger Hunt

Hello Families and Friends,
Are you running out of easy, creative ideas to entertain the family? Missouri River Relief and Show-Me Stormwater are here to help. We would like to invite your family to participate in The Great Missouri River Scavenger Hunt! We have teamed up to create an adventure challenge just for you.  Are you up for it? Let’s get started!

Goal: to help connect you to your local watershed, have fun in a creek, learn about food webs and how animals are dependent on healthy creeks, and last but not least find ways to help make your creek a better habitat for all animals.

Audience: 2nd-5th Grade

Location: If you’re not able to go to a creek, many of these tasks can be done with a computer that has internet. Alternately, if you do not have internet, many of the tasks can be enjoyed outside.

Approximate time needed for each part of the adventure: 

  • Task #1 30 minutes
  • Task #2-6 30 minutes - 1 hour
  • Task #7-8 1-2 hours
  • Task #9-10 5 minutes 

Materials: a computer or tablet with internet, permission to use social media, transportation to a creek (could be your legs or a bicycle), camera, litter bag, snacks, water, paper and something to draw with.

Concepts covered with parental guidance include pollination (2-3rd grade), watersheds (3-4th grade), and food webs (5th grade).

Safety: Please follow CDC guidance on personal hygiene when going outside and observe CDC’s minimum recommended physical distance of 6 feet from other persons at all times. Do not use parks or trails if you are exhibiting symptoms.

Keep reading to participate or click here for the pdf.

Are you ready for your first task? 

Let’s get started!

Task #1 Find your watershed. Discovering your watershed is like mapping where rain travels, like a road map for rain drops. Find what creek “roads” a rain drop follows in your Boone County neighborhood on its way to the Missouri River by going to this website. If you live outside of Boone County, you can still participate! Try finding your watershed at the websites listed below and then skip part B and C:
 - Watersheds of the Kansas City Region
 - Watershed Inventory of Missouri
 - Missouri’s Watersheds

a) Read about watersheds and how you can help keep our creeks healthy! 

b) Then click on the map, find the magnifying glass, click and type in your address.


c) Click again below the search result box, it will zoom to your watershed and tell how the water flows! 

d) What is your watershed? How does your creek find its way to the Missouri River? 
For example; if you live in the Flat Branch watershed, Flat branch flows to the Hinkson > Hinkson flows to the Perche > Perche flows to the Missouri! Zoom out on the map to find where your creek flows.

e) Sing along to Dem Creeks at this site: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nuuexjlHuD0 

Time to get ready for an adventure at your watershed creek; bring snacks, water, a litter bag, a camera and anything else you might want for your adventure!

Task #2 Now that you know your watershed creek, you can learn more about the animals in your    neighborhood that need clean water. You can also make your watershed safer for animals.

Next step: Find a public area along your creek to visit. If you live in Columbia, MO use page 5 of this map to help you find your creek. When you get to your creek, take a picture! Post your picture with the name of your creek on social media. Use #MoRiverScavengerHunt

Task #3 Find a flower blooming. Take a picture and try to identify it when you get home.

Task #4 Find an insect pollinating a flower.

Task #5 Find something that does not belong in nature and could harm critters. Hint: this is why you brought your litter bag!

Task #6 Think of (or observe) a critter that needs clean water: a bird, mammal (squirrel), reptile (snake) or amphibian (frog).

Time to head home and discover more about your critter (and your flower) here . 

Task #7 Find some paper and draw your critter!

Task #8 Now list or draw 3 things that your critter eats and 3 things that like to eat your critter. Post your drawing and use #MoRiverScavengerHunt

Herbivores eat plants- Rabbit, Deer, & Beaver
Omnivores eat plants and animals- Songbirds & Squirrels
Carnivores eat animals only- Snake, Owl, & Frog
Death & Decay helps complete the life cycle- Snail, Mushroom, & Turkey Vulture

If I chose River Otter:
3 things that River Otters eats and 3 things that eat a River Otter!
Eats: Clams, Fish, Grasses
Eaten by: Bobcats, Coyotes, Hawks
Is a River Otter an Herbivore, Omnivore or Carnivore?

Congratulations, you have made a food web! You also discovered your creek, learned about critters that might use your creek, and you picked up litter. Picking up litter saves critters lives. You are now a trash hero! If you would like to meet some more trash heroes, continue on to complete the Great Missouri River Scavenger Hunt!

Task #9 Find Missouri River Relief on the web. How many tons of trash from the Missouri River have these heroes picked up since they began in 2001. Wow, that’s a lot of trash!

Task #10 All done? Fill out this form to receive your prize in the mail! Everyone who participates wins!

Thank you for joining in the game! 
Can’t wait to see your photos!


Want to get involved with a litter pick up? Contact Missouri River Relief or the City of Columbia.

More information about Food Webs:

 - For younger kids: What is a Food Chain? 
 - For older kids: Who’s in My Backyard? 

Created by Michele Woolbright with Boone County Stormwater and Laura Semken, an AmeriCorps VISTA service member serving Missouri River Relief, 2020

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