Searching for Earth Day events in Denver, I came across something awesome. I stumbled upon Denver Ultra Dash, a first annual Earth Day citywide scavenger hunt.
I like to consider myself somewhat knowledgeable on the the topic of citywide scavenger hunts. Ever since I organized one in Palma de Mallorca and then wrote an article about how to organize a citywide scavenger hunt, I’ve been approached by several people online looking for advice. A new fantasy profession was born: scavenger hunt planner/consultant.
As it turns out, there really are people who plan these events for a living. The non-profit organization Green Up Denver teamed up with Kaz Productions to organize this Earth Day fundraiser event. Green Up Denver works with festivals and events in Denver to lower their environmental impact, and Kaz Productions plans events for non-profits. Together they orchestrated Denver Ultra Dash.
I started looking for a team to compete in the hunt. With a $600 prize for the first place hunt winners and a $300 prize for the costume contest winners, I saw it as a lottery ticket of sorts. I recruited my sister Diana. We figured that we have more of a flair for costume design than an athletic advantage for the hunt, so we went all out on our “bag lady” costumes. We came up with plastic bag tutus and reusable bag corsets. Hot, but not quite hot enough to beat the “It’s Easy Being Green” trio.
The scavenger hunt itself was a two-hour relay around Downtown Denver. Teams of two or more people were given 15 clues to scout out. Once we solved each clue and found the spot, we had to complete a digital media task such as taking a photo or shooting a video on location.
One design aspect of the hunt that I liked was the awareness raising. As teams of green-clad hunters shooting videos with total strangers on 16th Street pedestrian mall about Earth Day, we all heard a lot of “today is Earth Day?” That was great. Also, contestants with bicycles had an advantage over those on foot.
Another aspect I liked was the digital overlay. Smart phones were a must, and some clues required us to upload photos on the spot, which made for a real-time online coverage. Check out the Denver Ultra Dash on Facebook to see some of the results.
There are a few aspects I would have changed about the rules, such as team size in order to curb some of the dividing and conquering that went on. I also would have spent a little time on “bag lady” headpieces so that we could have taken first place on costumes. But these are all things to keep in mind for Denver Ultra Dash 2013, which I definitely hope to attend.
Here are a few of the clues from this year’s hunt:
“Take a picture of your team ‘Where the future takes root’.”
“This local brewery and restaurant was named after the first sheriff that governor of the territory, James Denver appointed. (Hint: Ned) Find out what sustainability efforts they are making.”
“This local nonprofit provides a work program for people who are homeless and low-income to learn skills and create Earth-friendly products that sustain people and the planet. Find this awesome nonprofit and take a picture of their garden. Hint: Crema Coffee House.”
“Name three ways you can reduce your carbon foot print and make a quick 1-minute video showcasing this throughout the city.”
“On average one car with a local green taxi company drives how many miles per year? Find one of these taxis and take a picture of your entire team with it while each of you holds up the first number with your fingers.”