Five partners, including The Tacoma Nature Center, U.S. Forest Service, Metro Parks Tacoma, Pier 57 Miner’s Landing and the Canadian Consulate in Seattle have joined forces in an initiative to encourage kids to explore the wonders Puget Sound has to offer. Through Agents of Discovery®, an educational platform that allows educators and interpretive staff to create, edit and publish their own augmented-reality, interactive games which engage visitors with their facility, these five partners are launching the first annual Puget Sound Explorer Campaign.
The Puget Sound Explorer Campaign runs from July 1 to October 20, and encourages young explorers, or “Agents”, to visit as many participating locations as possible to earn real-life and digital rewards. Kids and their families can participate in the campaign by downloading the Agents of Discovery mobile app to access free “Missions” (games) at each of the participating locations. Missions are completed by solving educational “Challenges” (questions) created by the site’s interpreters in order to learn about local ecosystems, culture, and history. At the Tacoma Nature Center, for example, kids can explore the nature trails, native birds, animals and plants by uncovering fascinating must-see spots within the site.
“It is really nice to see families using their digital devices in the park and getting just as excited about nature as they do about “catching” fictional characters,” says Michele Cardinaux, Supervisor at the Tacoma Nature Center. “As one family said: ‘Loved it! Very informational – great way to learn, be in nature and spend family time.’”
“The Olympic and Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forests offer the most amazing opportunities to learn about science and nature. With Agents of Discovery, kids can experience the Forests as they play. Whether you are visiting specifically for education, exploration, or recreation, Agents of Discovery provides parents and educators with an amazing opportunity for youth engagement, making outdoor education even more exciting!” ? says Colton Whitworth the public affairs specialist at the USDA Forest Service.
When an Agent completes a Mission, they receive a digital and hard-copy reward specific to that site; once three Missions are completed, an Agent will be designated a Puget Sound Sockeye. After completion of six Missions, an Agent will be designated a Puget Sound Grizzly Bear. With nine Missions completed, an Agent will be designated a Puget Sound Orca.
The Missions to be played as part of the Puget Sound Explorer Campaign include: Tacoma Nature Center, Heather Meadows, Iron Goat Trial, Swan Creek, Titlow Park, Pier 57 Miner’s Landing, Great Gold Rush Adventure at Pier 57, Want to be a Forest Ranger?, Rainforest Exploration, Olympic Discovery Trail, Mt. Walker Viewpoint and Smokey Bear, REI Seattle Flagship Store, and Big Four Ice Caves.
To download the free Agents of Discovery app, go to Google Play or the App Store. Once downloaded, find the participating site’s Mission within the app and hit “Play” before you head out. No WiFi connectivity is required to download or play the Missions.
In Tacoma, you are invited to join in on the fun at our launch party on July 1 at 1:00 pm at the Tacoma Nature Center. Take your picture posing as our Mission avatar, explore the park while completing the Mission, then enjoy a delicious treat when you come in to claim your prize. If you like, you can then go play any of the other local Missions, or save them for another time.