The 2013 Driftless Safari begins Memorial Day weekend.
Driftless Safari is a free scavenger hunt spread across Winneshiek County. Participants are given a guidebook and map featuring 20 unique sites in the county, all highlighting a unique natural, historical or cultural place.
Once at a site, participants follow clues in the guidebook to find a wooden post with a special tile participants can use to make a crayon rubbing in their guidebook as proof of their visit. Every guidebook page provides information about the site, gives tips on what clothing or gear might be appropriate for that location, and offers ideas for fun activities to do while there.
"The Safari sites can be visited in any order," said Lilly Jensen, organizer of the 2013 Safari program. "We suggest that you keep your guidebooks and maps handy in a car, purse or backpack so you're always ready to go on a quick Safari while out and about. Some of the sites are accessible by walking, biking or even canoeing, and we encourage participants to use these and other ways of green transportation-like carpooling-when on Safari."
The free program is open to anyone who wants to explore and experience the treasures of Winneshiek County. Participants who are able to visit 15 or more of the 20 Safari sites can return to their library to be entered in a drawing for one of several prizes.
Driftless Safari features 15 new sites this summer, so even those who have participated in previous years have a new adventure in front of them, according to Jensen.
Also new this year are "Extreme Adventures," one-time community events and programs providing opportunities to learn something new, to try a new skill, to play with your friends, and to meet new people that also love to explore. Local businesses and organizations that help sponsor Driftless Safari have agreed to create "Safari Specials," unique discounts and special offers available only to Safari participants.
To participate in Driftless Safari, visit any public library in Winneshiek County to pick up a free map and guidebook. Materials will be available beginning Friday, May 24, so adventures can begin over the long Memorial Day weekend. Winneshiek County public libraries include Calmar Public Library (101 S. Washington St.), Decorah Public Library (202 Winnebago Street), Fort Atkinson Public Library (302 3rd St. NW), Ossian Public Library (123 West Main Street), and Spillville Public Library (201 Oak Street).
The purpose of the Driftless Safari program is to help residents of and visitors to Winneshiek County engage in healthful physical activity, to increase awareness of and connectedness to the natural, historical and cultural environments of Winneshiek County, and to foster a sense of community engagement and environmental stewardship in participants.
The Driftless Safari program receives major support from the Winneshiek County Community Foundation. Additional partners include Luther College, the Iowa Driftless Chapter of Trout Unlimited, the Upper Iowa Audubon Society and the Winneshiek County Conservation Board. Numerous additional local businesses and organizations have also provided support.
For more information, visit driftless-safari.org or call 563- 534-7145.