BUFFALO, N.Y. — Between the beautiful summer weather and the cancellation of many major events, there's no question about it: Western New York's parks have been packed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In fact, the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy has seen a 50% increase in visitors this year. Just in time for the start of the school year, they're rolling out a new challenge with an educational twist.
Their new "Tree-Venture" scavenger hunt that will take families around Hoyt Lake in Delaware Park, as they try to hunt down all the different kinds of trees that live there. It's a partnership between the parks and Univera Healthcare.
You can access an interactive map on the park's website, and then either print it out or pull it up on your phone as you explore.
"Kids are going back to school and I know teachers can hopefully use this content as well for kids to learn about the living environment," said Univera's Community Affairs Director, Olivia Linke. "When the idea came up, we could combine walking with physical activity, obviously we all need a little boost to our mental health. Getting outside, getting some fresh air, we were super excited."
"There are thousands of trees in the park," Olmsted's Director of Development and Communications Catie Stephenson said. "It was really fun to be able to tie the history and the facts about the trees to the safe activity that Olivia is talking about."
So far, the Tree-Venture is happening only around Hoyt Lake in Delaware Park, but Olmsted officials hope to add more parks to the program soon.
If you tag Olmsted Parks in a photo of your scavenger hunt, they might send you a prize in the mail.