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Geocaching

GPS Unit on Map

Geocaching is a fast growing activity among nature lovers.

  • Ten Geocaches

    These ten geocaches are virtual caches located at Seney National Wildlife Refuge. To verify your find and collect a prize take a picture of yourself at the site with the identifying feature. Bring the photo to the Visitor Center (May 15 - Oct 20 from 9 a.m. -5 p.m., 7 days a week) or the refuge office (Oct 21 - May 14, 9am-3pm - Mon-Friday) or you can email or mail your verification photo to:

    Seney National Wildlife Refuge
    ATTN: Visitor Services
    1674 Refuge Entrance Road
    Seney, MI 49883

    or email the Visitor Services Staff

    Remember to include your name and mailing address and we will mail you a prize. Unfortunately, because of constraints on geocaching sites these locations can only be found on the Seney National Wildlife Refuge website. We are sorry for any inconvenience this may cause. Good luck and have fun! All coordinates are given in latitude/longitude (hddd˚mm.mmm') using the WGS 84 map datum and converted to UTM.

    To do this activity you will need a camera and a GPS unit. If you do not have a GPS unit the Visitor Center has two available for checkout during business hours. GPS units are available on a first come first served basis.

     

  • Master Angler

    Osprey

    N 46˚15.887 by W085˚58.890
    UTM: 16T E578487 N 5123971

    Brief Description: Can you find the home of this master angler?

    Sometimes called the "fish hawk," and rightfully so. Some individuals have been noted to have a greater than 90% success rate when diving for fish. They are the only bird of prey that actually dive into the water after fish (eagles simply snatch fish up from the surface of the water). Another interesting fact is that they rarely feed on dead fish - picky, picky. Being a migratory bird, you will not be able to find an osprey at Seney NWR year round. However, the structure you seek is their summer home.

  • House Made of Sticks

    Beaver

    N46˚18.738 W086˚06.703
    UTM: 16TE568393 N 5129130

    Brief Description: We aren't talking about the three little pigs here, but this animal does have hairs on its chinny, chin, chin.

    Some fun facts about the builder of this home: Typical weight is between 30-60 lbs. There is record of one weighing over 100lbs! Early morning and late evening are the best times for observation. They eat buds, leaves and bark in the summer and woody vegetation in winter. Typically, it focuses on trees less than 15" in diameter, but has been documented in felling a 5 1/2' diameter tree. They don't always build dams. The largest lodge ever documented was 16ft tall x 40ft long. All that construction, without ever lifting a hammer! Can you find a sign of this animal for your voucher photo?

  • BBS

    A mated pair of eastern kingbirds

    N 46° 14.863 W 085° 57.284
    UTM: 16T E 580575 N 5122102

    Brief Description: What is the BBS? 

    The Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) is a long term, large scale, international bird monitoring program initiated in 1966 to track the status and trends of North American bird populations. Each survey route is 24.5 miles long, stopping at 0.5 mile intervals. At each stop a 3 minute point count is conducted. A point count is used to count every bird sighted or heard within a quarter mile. Surveys start 30 minutes before sunrise and take about 5 hours to complete. Can you find proof the BBS stops at this location?

    Learn More
  • Two Out of Three Ain't Bad

    Red Pine

    N 46° 17.576 W 085° 56.926
    UTM: 16T E 580968 N 5127132

    Brief Description: Enjoy the pine fresh scent as you take a rest.

    Did you know that out of the 100+ species of pine trees found throughout the world, Seney National Wildlife Refuge is home to merely three? Out of the three, search for the two species can be found near this wonderful place to sit and relax while you enjoy the scent of the pines as the wind whispers through their boughs.

    Can you tell the difference between the pines? Its dependent on the length of the needles and how they are grouped. If you were to look at the branch of a pine tree you would notice that the needles are clustered together in small groups called bundles. For instance, a white pine has five needles per bundle. jack pines and red pines have two needles per bundle. So how can you tell a jack pine from a red pine? Jack pines needles are much shorter than red pine needles. To verify your find take a picture of yourself relaxing with needle bundles from the two pine species found at the site.

  • Nature's Time Capsule

    A cat face on a red pine - 1950.

    N 46° 17.394 W 085° 56.947
    UTM: 16T E 580946 N 5126794

    Brief Description: Find out how researchers go back in time to learn about the history of fire at Seney National Wildlife Refuge.

    Midwest forests have changed a lot in the last 200 years due to human activities such as logging, habitat fragmentation, and fire suppression. Let’s say you want to take a look back in time, to see what major events have happened in a forest. How would you go about doing that? Why is it important to understand why and how things have changed?

    These are questions researchers have asked themselves and have found creative ways to answer. The answer to the first, is to take a look at nature’s time capsules – trees. Some kinds of trees grow for hundreds of years and looking at their growth rings can give you an idea of what the climate was like, when droughts occurred, or if the tree encountered disease. It can even tell a trained eye when certain wildfires occurred right down to the time of year – winter, spring, summer, or fall. As to the why… Knowing the history of a forest can help managers find out how and why it has changed and decide how to treat it. For example, if we can find out how often wildfires burned through an area in the past we can figure out how often we should use prescribed fires to keep the forest healthy.

    Throughout the refuge, wedge shaped samples have been extracted from pine trees. These samples show the fire history of our forests. Look around the base of pine trees throughout the area, can you find the one missing a wedge?

  • Fruitless Farm

    Apple Tree

    N 46° 14.174 W 085° 57.091
    UTM: 16T E 580840 N 5120829

    Brief Description: An old farm site located at Seney National Wildlife Refuge.

    This tree is a remnant of a bygone era at Seney NWR, when folks tried their hand at farming and failed. The sandy soils of what would become the refuge would not support their crops. Although the farms are gone, this ghost of the past can still be found haunting the refuge. Once planted near a farmstead you can trace the roots of this tree to ancient Europe and Western Asia. It would be unable to make its delicious fruits if it were not for insect pollinators. It is said that one a day keeps the doctor away. To verify your find take a picture of yourself with the tree.

  • A Triumph for National Pride

    Bald Eagles

    N 46° 16.496 W 085° 57.339

    UTM: 16T E 580464 N 5125125

    Brief Description: Read the story of our nation's symbol. 

    August 9, 2007 was a triumphant day for the nation.  One of our nation’s symbols, the bald eagle, was removed from the Federal List of Threatened and Endangered Species, making it one of the great success stories of conservation.  Bald eagles, like so many other species, lost vital habitat when the virgin American forests were cleared.  They lost not only their homes, but animals they hunted for food, such as shorebirds and ducks, which suffered from habitat loss and overhunting.  In the not so distant past, eagles were commonly shot by those who perceived them as a threat to livestock.  A chemical not fully understood at the time, DDT, caused their egg’s shells to be weak and crack before the chicks could hatch.  All these factors contributed to the decline in the bald eagle population.  Between 1963 and 2006, the bald eagle population increased in the lower 48 states from 487 breeding pairs to 9,789.

    How did we bring the population back from the brink?  Rachel Carson, an American biologist, wrote the book “Silent Spring” in 1962 chronicling the impacts of the heavy use of DDT and other pesticides in America.  In 1967, the bald eagle was declared an endangered species before the Endangered Species Act was even passed.  The U.S. banned DDT in 1972 helping the population begin to rebound.  The killing of eagles was prohibited and steps were taken to improve water quality and protect bald eagle nesting sites.  As the population continues to increase, we can look to the bald eagle for inspiration on how to save other threatened and endangered species.  From your vantage point, you should be able to see a sign that the bald eagle is present at Seney NWR.

  • A Tropical Vacation? Or Something More...

    Yellow Warbler

    N 46° 17.607 W 085° 56.745
    UTM: 16T E 581200 N 5127192

    Brief Description: What in the world is a Neotropical migrant?

    Driven by an ancient need, many birds migrate to Central and South America for the winter, returning to North America during the summer. These birds, called Neotropical migrants, aren’t the only animals to migrate, but what would drive an animal to do this? Regardless if you are an insect, mammal, or bird, the same motivations apply, survival and instinct!

    Imagine you are a bird and winter is on its way. The food supplies are limited. The seeds or insects you depend upon to eat begin to wane and there will not be enough food to go around. If you are a bird such as a chickadee, a woodpecker, a jay, or a nuthatch you will remain in the north, exploiting the food stores that remain. If you are a migratory bird something inside you is different, maybe it is where your ancestors began, maybe something else, and your instinct motivates you to start the long journey south. Your kind has done this for millennia, returning to the same places each time. Wintering in the south helps your species survive the winter hunger.

    Why fly back, why leave the south for the north? Generations of your ancestors have made the flight and something inside you tells you when to begin your journey. When you arrive in the north you find plants blossoming and making seeds. Insects are hatching, millions of insects! What a great way to feed a young family! As the summer ends and the fall begins you begin your preparations for the long flight south again, and the new generation begins its first migratory flight. Can you find examples? To verify your find take a picture of yourself learning more about these Neotropical migrants.

  • A Blemish in the Wilderness

    Initials carved into a tree.

    N 46° 14.328 W 086° 13.786
    UTM: 16T E 559383 N 5120868

    Brief Description: This scar will take a long time to heal.

    Take a trip into the wild. Wilderness Areas (PDF file size 1.7 MB), like the one found at Seney NWR, are special areas that have been not been significantly changed by society. These wild areas have no roads and are undeveloped. Motorized vehicles and equipment are not allowed. Even mechanical transportation, such as bicycles, are not allowed. One of the purposes of Wilderness areas is to provide a place of solitude and peace, a place to reconnect with nature. Sixty-three National Wildlife Refuges contain about 20 million acres of Wilderness.

    You can help safeguard Wilderness areas by practicing “Leave No Trace” guidelines. This requires people to plan ahead and prepare, dispose of waste properly, leave what you find, minimize your impact, be respectful to wildlife, and be considerate of other visitors. Verify your find by taking a picture of something that defies these practices. Remember, these areas should be left as natural as possible.

  • WigWam

    The Wigwams Public Use Area in 1945

    N 46° 17.517 W 085° 56.058
    UTM: 16T E 582084 N 5127037

    Brief Description: A part of history.

    These structures were built in 1937 by the efforts of the Civilian Conservation Corps and Works Progress Administration. Together these "New Deal" agencies built many of the facilities that have now become landmarks in our beautiful country.

    Wigwams are traditional seasonal homes of the Northeast tribes. There are two basic forms, conical structures, such as these, and domed structures. Wigwams were covered with whatever was convenient and available in the area - grasses or reeds made into mats, birch bark, hides, cloth or another material. They were said to be able to stand up to the worst weather, keeping the occupants warm and dry. These wigwams were originally covered in a material meant to mimic birch bark. In the 1960's the covering was replaced with asphalt shingles which were eventually replaced with the wooden shingles you see now. Relax and enjoy the view of the pools, don’t forget to take a photo to verify your find.

Page Photo Credits — GPS Unit on a Map - Sara Giles/USFWS, Osprey Eating a Fish - John W. Hysell/2012 Photo Contest: 3rd Place Wildlife Category, Beaver - John W. Hysell/2010 Photo Contest, Eastern Kingbird - David Chase/2011 Photo Contest, Red Pine - Kathy Koets/2012 Photo Contest, Burned Spot on a Red Pine (Cat Face), 1950 - USFWS, Apple Tree - Dale Maxson/USFWS, Bald Eagle - David Chase/2011 Photo Contest, Yellow Warbler -  © Keith Perish, Initials Carved in Tree - Dale Maxson/USFWS, The Wigwams Public Use Area in 1945 - USFWS
Last Updated: Feb 10, 2014
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