Puget Sound Explorer campaign invites kids to connect with nature, culture, and history

Five organizations join together on a campaign to get kids active outdoors

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 1st to October 20th, 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.

Kids are immediately attracted to natural living things and processes. We have a wealth of opportunities nearby but many children do not encounter them.  Photo: Morf Morford

Kids are immediately attracted to natural living things and processes. We have a wealth of opportunities nearby but many children do not encounter them. Photo: Morf Morford

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 within 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.

About the Partners:

About Agents of Discovery:

Agents of Discovery, winner of the 2016 Best App-Based Game at the European Conference on Game Based Learning, is an innovative educational tech platform that utilizes web, mobile and the latest in augmented reality technologies to get kids active and learning about the world around them. Agents of Discovery provides educators with a unique way to gamify information, incentivizing kids to be active while learning and exploring. The easy-to-use Mission Maker allows educators to pull challenges from their extensive Agency Library or to create customized content specific to their site. Educators can then easily publish Missions for kids to complete on tablets or their own smart devices. For more information, please visit Tacoma Nature Center:

The Tacoma Nature Center is a 71-acre nature preserve encompassing Snake Lake and the surrounding wetlands and forest. Stroll nature trails to experience native birds, animals and plants. Visit the indoors exhibit area to see native invertebrates, reptiles and amphibians up close.

The U.S. Forest Service:

The U.S. Forest Service is a multi-faceted agency that manages and protects 154 national forests and 20 grasslands in 43 states and Puerto Rico. Within the Pacific Northwest, the Forest Service works to protect and improve over 20 million acres of public land. The agency’s mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The Forest Service augments their work through partnerships with public and private agencies to support, natural resource conservation, outdoor education, recreation, rural communities, local economies, fish and wildlife, and much more!

Gifford Pinchot, first Chief of the Forest Service, summed up the mission of the Forest Service: “to provide the greatest amount of good for the greatest amount of people in the long run.”

Pier 57 Miner’s Landing: In 1897, the steamship Portland, weighed down with the first load of gold from the Klondike, docked at the pier where Miners Landing now stands. Now, pier 57 is home to the Miners Landing, a family-friendly shopping, restaurants and entertainment complex. Pier 57, where Miners Landing now stands went on to play an important role in the trade between North America and Asia for several years.

Metro Parks Tacoma: Metro Parks Tacoma (MPT) is a CAPRA-accredited, independent park district that leads efforts to build a healthy, sustainable community. Metro Parks’ mission is to create healthy opportunities to play, grow and learn while their vision is to create a vibrant, active and engaged community. Metro Parks Tacoma is a great place for the community to get active, explore nature and learn about heritage & culture.

Agents of Discovery Mission locations within the District include Swan Creek Park, Titlow Park and the Tacoma Nature Center.

Canadian Consulate in Seattle: The Consulate General of Canada in Seattle has agreed to be part of this promotional campaign to help raise awareness about the Puget Sound Explorer campaign.

– Puget Sound Explorers