When is the last time you played "hide and seek" or really looked inside that flower to see what's there, or slowed down just enough to have fun outside? Too often the answers to those questions are "rarely."
Well, the Robert W. Monk Gardens helped approximately 575 people do all of this last year through our successful letterboxing program. Letterboxing is nature's scavenger hunt, an intriguing activity combining navigational skills and rubber stamp artistry in a charming treasure-hunt-style outdoor quest. The Robert W. Monk Gardens is bringing back the program for its winter season beginning this December.
How does letterboxing work? When you arrive at the 20-acre gardens, you will be given a picture with several clues to follow in order to find the treasure: a letterbox. Inside the letterbox is a logbook, a pencil, a rubber stamp and an ink pad. Once you find the letterbox, you use the ink pad and rubber stamp to make a stamp in the logbook. Use the pencil to write a message and date your stamp.
Ah, but there's more discovery to be had. Along with getting outside, having fun and exploring nature, you will get an education! Every set of clues provides a "nature note." For example, when you find the camouflaged nest attached to the cattails, the nature note will help you understand that this nest is home to red-winged blackbirds.
Thanks to a letterboxing grant from the Kiwanis Club of Greater Wausau, the Monk Gardens plans on having four levels of adventure - pre-kindergarten through second grade, third through fifth grade, sixth through eighth grade, and high school/adults/families - and there will be up to 15 clues provided during each of our four seasons of fun: winter, spring, summer and fall.
We already know that letterboxing is a great activity because it's in our list of "Top Ten Things To Do" at the Robert W. Monk Gardens (www.rwmonkgardens./org). We've also heard rave reviews from the Wausau School District's after-school program, which brought summer school programs to the garden throughout 2012 to experience letterboxing.
But how will you know it's great? Bring your scout troops, your school class or your family to the Gardens to experience it for yourself. Contact us at email@example.com to schedule this activity anytime. We encourage having fun while learning!
The Robert W. Monk Gardens welcomes volunteers to help with this activity and others. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if interested.