St Louis River Estuary: The stories and the science

Explore and learn through GeoQuests

GeoQuests combine science, treasure hunting, and technology in the out of doors. We created these quests to bring people to special places around the St. Louis River Estuary, to teach a little bit about the ecology and history of the estuary, and to provide a fun, outdoor activity.

Augmented RealityQuests

The second type of GeoQuest is based on Augmented Reality – players use their mobile phones to “interact" with virtual characters located throughout the estuary, viewing videos, text, or pictures triggered by the phone's built in GPS system. Each of the games has a theme and a mission tied to the stories and science of the estuary.

  • Up River is a quest to create a meal from resources found in and around the estuary. 
  • Barkers Island Quest takes players around the Whaleback ship, marina, and Lake Superior NERR headquarters on Barker’s Island in Superior, WI, in a mission to figure out the origins of Barkers Island and how people and wildlife make use of the island and surrounding estuary.

Play and Create!

The augmented reality quests are based on an iPhone app called ARIS. Instructions on how to install and play ARIS games can be found at the ARIS Website. Students involved in our previous workshops have not only played the game, they have learned to CREATE THEIR OWN!

Geocaching Quests

We developed two kinds of GeoQuests. The first is based on the popular sport of Geocaching, which involves using Global Positioning System (GPS) devices to find hidden containers. Geocaches can be found all over the world - almost 2,000,000 caches have been hidden and over 5 million people play the game. We have created some special ones for this project – they involve hiking, photography, some sleuthing, and collecting stream and lake water quality data to add to our data library.

Stryking Differences

Stryking Differences

takes you along Duluth's Western Waterfront Trail, starting near the bridge at the mouth of Kingsbury Creek and ending at the massive Stryker Bay restoration project.

Chambers Grove

Chambers Grove

This multi cache visits two historic sites in the upper estuary of the St. Louis River - John Jacob Astor Park, site of an outpost for the American Fur Trading Company and Chamber's Grove, where the mansion of brownstone quarrier Michael Chambers once stood.

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Barker's Bug Hunt

Barker's Bug Hunt

This is a geocaching-based quest designed to teach about the use of aquatic insects and other macroinvertebrates as indicators of water quality.