Get the kids exploring nature, in a way you never imagined
Junior Ranger Spring BioQuest - Holiday Activities Are you looking for ways to encourage your kids to get outside and explore nature this school holidays? Parks Victoria is holding its Junior Ranger program again, which provides park ranger-led activities during school holidays and this school holidays there is the Spring BioQuest, which takes adventure to a new level, allowing kids to challenge park rangers in search of different plants and animals.
There are even some prizes up for grabs!
Photo: Courtesy Parks Victoria
The ranger-led activities are fun and varied but have limited places, so it's best to book in early. But there is no limit to the Spring BioQuest and it can be done any time during the school holidays, 23rd September to 8th October. It is an interactive activity which encourages kids to explore parks for insects, birds, plants and more.
Junior Ranger Activities
The Junior Rangers activities are aimed at children aged 6 to 12. There are a range of free activities over various locations in Melbourne, Mornington Peninsula, Dandenong Ranges, and throughout regional Victoria.
Some of the activities include: Minibeast Discovery - discover bugs and look at them under the microscope. Behind the Scenes - includes feeding animals in the sanctuary. Flora Explorer - learn about and how to identify our native plants. Wildlife Detective - kids learn to use their senses to find clues and discover which wildlife has passed through the bush. Rockpool Ramble - find out what lives on our rocky shores. Guided Bike Rides - just outside of Melbourne's CBD. Rainforest Explorer- discover why rainforests are so special. Ranger-guided BioQuest - sessions where park rangers helping you identify plants and animals, with the QuestaGame app.
The Spring BioQuest embraces technology and encourages kids to explore parks. You can challenge yourself, your friends and the local rangers as you search for some of Victoria's magnificent plants, animals and even fungi.
You need to download the QuestaGame app which is an outdoor, multiplayer mobile adventure game. When you see different species, take photos and submit the sightings.You can use this app anywhere you like, but the BioQuest is held at 15 participating parks throughout Melbourne and Victoria during the school holidays.
The goal is to upload as many unique species as you can find. There are bonus points for finding the listed species for each location, as well making field notes on your observations. You even get bonus points for any species that you can identify yourself. But don't worry if you're not an expert, you just submit the photos of your sightings and you'll receive a notification telling you the name of the specimen and how much gold (points) you've earned for it. The gold you earn depends on the rarity of the species in your location. This gold is totalled to give you a chance to win prizes for the family.
The prize for the "Quest Hero" is 4 nights camping accommodation at Wilsons Promontory National Park. This will be awarded to the player who completes the most park quests
There are 3 category prizes of 2 nights camping accommodation bookable through ParkStay. The categories are:
• Champion Spotter - Highest overall score for an individual based on sightings submitted
• Best Find - Highest scoring individual sighting
• Champion Identifier - Highest number of correct IDs provided by an individual
You can find out more competition details here
There are 15 participating parks, and for each park there are 3 species of plants or animals that will give bonus points during the BioQuest.
Lysterfield Park - Echidna, Eurasian Coote, Blue Tongue Lizard Barwon Bluff Marine Sanctuary - Chiton, Neptune's Necklace, Hairy Stone Crab Mornington Peninsula National Park - Coastal Bear-heath, Bower Spinach, Pacific Gull Plenty Gorge Park - Black Swan, Pacific Heron, Eastern Grey Kangaroo You Yangs Regional Park - Koala, Echidna, Wedge Tail Eagle Anglesea Heath - Echidna, Common Heath, Running Postman Great Otway National Park - King Parrot, Swamp Wallaby, Koala Grampians National Park - Eastern Yellow Robin, Southern Water Skink, Gang-gang Cockatoo Serendip Sanctuary - Magpie Goose, Chestnut teal, Welcome Swallow Mount Buffalo National Park - Lyrebird, Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo, Currawong (pied) Wilsons Promontory National Park - Common Wombat, Soldier Crab, Bidgee-widgee Buchan Caves Reserve - White-winged Chough, Eastern Grey Kangaroo, Buchan Blue Wattle Cathedral Range State Park - Satin Bowerbird, Eastern Grey Kangaroo, Kookaburra Lake Eildon National Park - White-winged Chough, Cherry Ballart, Swamp Wallaby Castlemaine Diggings Heritage Park - River Bottlebrush, Blackwood Wattle, River Red Gum
If you find the 3 species listed for the park that you're in, that will give you bonus points. There are also bonus points for those who participate in the BioQuest at multiple parks.
Don't worry, you don't need to be a science wizz, and it's not about being technical. The real mission of this game is for kids to discover or develop an appreciation for life on this planet. However scientifically speaking, your species collection will be shared with national and global biodiversity bases.
Knowing what's living in our State and National parks is useful information for park rangers and Parks Victoria, as this data is used to support science and the development of management plans. There are park rangers and experts behind the scenes who will be identifying your specimens. So the data that is collected is not just for fun, but it could also help to protect our parks.
If telling the kids that this game is full of science will make them run because it's too school for cool, then don't tell them, just let them have fun. But if they readily admit they love science than they can brag that they are helping to record information about plants and wildlife. If you want to support the preservation of nature then of course you'd want to be a part of that, even if there wasn't an app or prizes.
You never know this could be the inspiration for a future park ranger, botanist, zoologist.....
Parks Victoria Education and Interpretation Coordinator, Roellen Gillmore said that "These activities are designed to inspire curiosity and help kids connect with the natural world around them. It's wonderful to see them getting out of the lounge room to explore and enjoy Victoria's beautiful parks". So why don't you register for the Spring BioQuest and get out into nature with the kids.
And please feel free to comment below and share any photos of awesome finds or stories of your BioQuest adventures!