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Join the popular Take It Outside Challenge this summer for free, nature-themed fun

Image showing logo for Take It Outside challenge on green background with selfies of participants

Sign up for the Forest Preserve District’s summer Take It Outside Challenge which runs through Sept. 21 to explore nature and compete for prizes totaling more than $2,500. 

The 12-week Summer Soiree challenge is the perfect way for families to spend time together while the kids are out of school, for couples to bond and get in shape and for individuals to explore the preserves and make new friends. 

This will be the third seasonal challenge in 2024 after the Winter Workout and Spring Fling contests concluded. Take It Outside has transitioned from a yearlong competition in 2023 to a seasonal challenge. 

Each week during the Summer Soiree, missions will be released, and participants will complete them to earn points and prizes. Missions include checking in at preserve locations; taking selfies with preserve backgrounds; photographing flora, fauna or points of interest; and answering quiz questions. 

To participate, download the free Goosechase smartphone app from the App Store or Google Play. Search for each seasonal challenge by name or enter the join code. The Summer Soiree join code is BD13J5. Point totals will be listed on a leaderboard so you can see how you and others are doing in the competition. 

Bigger prize pool

There will be more prizes and more chances to win during the summer challenge. 

The first, second and third place finishers will receive $500, $250 and $150 Amazon gift cards, respectively. Other prizes that will be awarded at random for those who complete specified missions or simply take part in the challenge include: 

  • Three Summer Fun Monee Reservoir prize packs consisting of four 1-hour kayak rentals, four meal deals (sandwich, chips, pop and ice cream) and four Monee Reservoir can koozies. 
  • Three half-day kayak rentals at Monee Reservoir with two can koozies.
  • Bird-themed prize packs furnished by Wild Birds Unlimited Joliet.
  • Six 6-pack cookie cards provided by Crumbl in Mokena.
  • Gift cards for the Forest Preserve District, OutsiderThreads.com merchandise, Dairy Queen and Dunkin'.
  • Take It Outside prize packs consisting of a Take It Outside shirt, hat, mug and bandana. 

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In addition to more prizes, more missions will be released each week, but they will be geographically clustered. Participants can complete them all in one day without having to drive to different corners of the county, or they can be accomplished at a slower pace. 

“Based on feedback from participants, we have focused the location-specific missions to a few preserves each week," said Chad Merda, the Forest Preserve’s head of digital marketing strategy/engagement. “The intent is to cut down on how much people are driving from location to location and instead, spend more time really exploring the preserve where those missions are located."

The Forest Preserve's mascot, Willy Woodchuck, will again be popping up in the preserves for people to find but will be playing a smaller role. This is another way the challenge is being fine tuned to appeal to everyone, whether they're on a quest to complete every mission or are a more casual user. 

Merda said he’s hoping people who haven’t joined the challenge in the past give it a go this summer. 

“We’re hoping to get a new surge of people to do it and learn more about our preserves, or find a new favorite spot to enjoy the great outdoors,” he said. “It provides free nature education for kids and it’s a great thing to do as a family during summer break.”

The final challenge of the year will be the Fall Frolic, which runs from Oct. 6 through Dec. 14. The join code for this challenge is ED7MGP. 

Be sure to read the online rules before you begin competing.

The Take It Outside Challenge is sponsored by The Nature Foundation of Will County

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