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By James Kinneen
Hometown Weekly Reporter
Whether they were looking to burn off some turkey, stuffing and pie, get out some pent-up anger at something a family member said, or just get their kids out of the house and into the fresh air on a day off from school, on Friday, visitors to Hale Reservation enjoyed a Fall Family Scavenger Hunt consisting of six stops around Noanet Pond.
For Hale, the event was an opportunity to show off the grounds and get a little publicity for the reservation. To that end, the introductory sign encouraged visitors to use the hashtag #halescavengerhunt on social media. Hale also wanted to emphasize the five “impact areas” they feel define their vision and programming for the future. Developed after a reflection on 100 years of Hale, the five impact areas were “Reimagining Learning," "Building Community," "Achieving Equity," "Fostering Wellness" and "Protecting Nature.”The first thing families were to do was grab a pencil and a map at the Wellness Center, then follow the pink ribbons to the next box. The second box showed off a Fern Valley Yurt, which offered a brief respite on a cold day and gave hikers a sheet of paper with animals and plant species they might encounter during the hike, including maple and sassafras trees, as well as ravens and white-tailed deer
As part of the community building Hale would like to see from its visitors, the third box gave hikers the material to make friendship bracelets, as well as a piece of sidewalk chalk for participants to add a picture of themselves and their family.
After taking scavenger hunters to the guard shack and art cabin, the later boxes pointed to how much Hale does for the community, with the sixth box noting that Hale “subsidizes its official partner camps so that thousands of kids can experience summer in the open air.” Overlooking the pond, that box tasked kids with stacking crates high enough to see over the railing.
After celebrating the reservation's 100th birthday, the team at Hale identified five impact areas it felt their programming best exemplified. On Friday, they celebrated both the good they do and the beautiful space itself with a scavenger hunt - one that did a whole lot more than burn off holiday calories.