Taking Flight Geotour

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Visit the sites along the Taking Flight GeoTour, hunt for and find geocaches, and learn about Manatee County’s wild spaces and the amazing feathered friends that live in them.

Taking Flight Passport

Download a printable passport and complete the activities to be eligible for a Taking Flight Tracking Tag.

TFGT News

7/25/18 All caches are available except the Rye Preserve cache

TAKING FLIGHT GEOCACHE LIST

TFGT #1: Flooded Flight

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This is an Earthcache that teaches about sea level rise and its potential impact on nesting bird habitat, and challenges finders to become citizen scientists.

TFGT #2: Flight of the Invaders

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This is a Letterbox Hybrid Cache that contains a stamp. The cache teaches about exotic invasive species that are introduced to the habitat, either intentionally or accidentally, and can have an extremely negative impact on the environment. 

TFGT #3: Fire Flight

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Riverview Pointe has some pretty unique habitats for such a small area, including the extremely rare coastal scrub habitat, the oak-filled hardwood hammock, and the coastal mangrove forest. This cache explores the importance of fire in managing the land.

TFGT #4: A Flight to the Rookery

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The challenge at this cache is to test your bird knowledge! You will find out whether you are truly a “bird brain.” Inside the cache, you will find the Bird Brain Trivia quiz.

TFGT #5: Snagged Flight

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In addition to finding the cache and logging your visit, you will need to become a land manager and survey the habitat to determine its suitability for red-bellied woodpeckers, a medium sized woodpecker common to the area. Find the cache, log your visit, make your observations and collect the data.

TFGT #6: First Flights

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Explore the nesting shorebirds of Manatee County. Look in this cache to find the shorebird identification card. See the types of birds found on Anna Maria Island and learn what you can do to help nesting shorebirds.

TFGT #7: Flight Span

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Stretch out your arms wide and look from fingertip to fingertip. Take a look at the wingspans for the different types of native Florida birds and learn which bird has the closest wingspan to yours.

TFGT #8: Flight of the Roseate Spoonbill

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This is a Letterbox Hybrid Cache that contains a stamp. One of southwest Florida’s most famous birds can often be seen here at this very spot in Emerson Point Preserve. This location is one of the best places in the preserve to catch a glimpse of the roseate spoonbill’s brilliant pink plumage.

TFGT #9: Flight in the Estuary

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Which estuary bird are you? Follow the directions at the cache site (please leave the activity card in the cache box!) in order to obtain your wing flapping rate and determine your estuarine bird.

TFGT #10: Tangled Flight

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Participating in a “cache in, trash out” (CITO) is a favorite event of geocachers and one of the many ways cachers help care for the lands they visit while looking for caches. Please come prepared with a plastic grocery bag to collect trash and lend a hand to clean up. What was the strangest piece of trash that you found during your “cache in” and “trash out?” Record your trash treasure in the Passport, and be sure to dispose of it properly!

TFGT #11: A Long Flight Home

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This is a Letterbox Hybrid Cache that contains a stamp. Jiggs Landing offers a unique mix of freshwater wetlands habitat that provides homes and temporary stop over places for migratory birds. Keep an eye out for any species you may see flying overhead – perhaps they are heading on their annual flight!

TFGT #12: Freshwater Flight

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You will need to be a careful observer as you make your way up river to the cache site. This cache is accessible only by water. It is located in Twin Rivers Preserve, a preserve that is not currently open to the public but has been made accessible for this cache. It is on land, but you will need to paddle to get there. Also, on land there are no set trails so please be careful as you move through the landscape.

TFGT #13: Silent Flight

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This is a Letterbox Hybrid Cache that contains a stamp. Whooooo’s been here at night and heard the sounds of the forest? Rye Preserve’s woods are filled with nocturnal creatures, from bats and opossums to armadillos and spiders. But one of the most famous night time animals is also one of the hardest to spot. Whooooo is it? Rye Preserve’s owls of course!

TFGT #14: Flight of the Florida Scrub Jay

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Welcome to the scrub! The land here is one of the oldest ecosystems in Florida, a remnant of the ancient sand dunes when much of modern day Florida was covered in water. One animal in particular, the Florida scrub-jay, has become the spokes-bird for this rare and rapidly disappearing habitat.

TFGT #15: Fertilizer and Flight

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Tampa Bay Estuary Program has created a program called “Be Floridian” that is committed to “Protecting the Fun” and helping to support practices that are “Florida friendly.” You may have seen their flock of plastic flamingos at local area events which help remind people to think pink and use less fertilizer during the summer. Take a photo of yourself with the cache container at ground zero to include in your find log and draw a picture of the cache in your Passport.

TFGT Rules

  • Prizes are available on a first-come basis while supplies last.
  • Only one prize may be awarded per person with an authorized Geocaching.com account (a free service), per year. For families, one tag will be awarded per family.
  • Prizes are awarded only to fully completed, validated passports.
  • Participants may keep their passports.
  • Participants must sign the physical cache log for each geocache they find in order to be eligible for the trackable tag.

About the Taking Flight GeoTour

Visit the sites along the Taking Flight GeoTour (TFGT) and learn about Manatee County's wild spaces and the amazing feathered friends that live in them. Along the way, you will be challenged to become a citizen scientist, a preserve ranger, a detective, a historian and of course an excellent geocacher in order to find all of the caches on the trail. Caches are located in birding "hot spots" throughout Manatee County's publicly accessible conservation preserves. Each one highlights a specific bird species or aspect of bird life providing you with opportunities to learn more about these creatures and what we can do to help them survive. Caches also focus on protecting the region's waterways, bays, and natural watersheds, and habitat areas for many of our area's feathered friends.

The Taking Flight GeoTour launched August 20, 2012 and includes 15 caches within Manatee County. Trackable geotags were awarded to the first 300 participants to complete the tour, with an additional 300 provided beginning in 2016. To be eligible for the tag, geocachers must download and print a passport (click link to download and print out your passport) or pick one up at the Manatee County Parks & Natural Resources Department office at G.T Bray Recreation Center 5502 33rd Ave Dr W, Bradenton, FL 34209. Geocachers must log at least 12 finds, answer the question from each cache on their passport, and complete any additional requirements for specific caches (such as posting photos for earth caches).

After finding a minimum of 12 caches, participants can have their passports validated in person or via mail at the Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources Department office at G.T Bray Recreation Center 5502 33rd Ave Dr W, Bradenton, FL 34209 during office hours

TFGT Cache Map

View Cache list in a larger map

These are the approximate locations of the caches within the County. For the exact coordinates, please look at the cache links list below or visit Geocaching.com

Thank You GeoTour Sponsors!

The Taking Flight GeoTour was made possible by funding from four different partner agencies. Manatee County's Natural Resources Department developed the GeoTour in partnership with the County's three National Estuary Programs: Sarasota Bay, Tampa Bay, and Charlotte Harbor. Each of the NEP organizations contributed $1500 towards the project, matched by the Natural Resources Department's contribution in staff time designing the project and volunteer time reviewing and helping to place the caches. This project is an inter-agency partnership and a wonderful example of working across boundaries to accomplish a great goal. Thanks partners for all of your help!