The Parklands


The winners for the first round of Parklands Madness are in! Keep reading to learn about the skills our players used to survive and advance. There were even a few upsets!

Whose bracket is already busted? Remember to follow our Facebook event page to vote for your favorites in the next round! 

Prairie Region:

Monarch Butterfly v. Bumblebee

In the matchup of The Parklands greatest pollinators, speed and endurance went head to head. Although, bumblebees have been recorded flying up to 16 yards per second, the monarch can fly up to 100 miles in a day, slow and steady won the race this time. 

Bobwhite Quail v. Killdeer

Bobwhite quail and killdeer are both masters at trickery. In this case, the killdeer was the better actor. Its broken wing show worked perfectly as it cried loudly and flapped its wing luring the Quail into immediate danger.

Milkweed v. Black-eyed Susan

It was a close battle of native prairie flowers; however, milkweed’s defense for being eaten—having a milky, sticky sap that can glue young caterpillar’s jaws shut—was something the black-eyed Susan could not compete with. Milkweed advances to the next round.

Groundhog v. Eastern Mole

The competition against these two diggers was ground breaking. The eastern mole used its small size to hide in burrows the groundhog could not fit in. Although the groundhog waited for the mole to come up for air, the mole outlasted the groundhog utilizing his special blood cells that recycle oxygen. 

Coyote v. Red Fox

The Red Fox, being the smallest member of the canine family, was clearly out sized by the coyote; however, the fox used its size to its advantage, as late in the match it retreated to its burrow. The coyote was too big to penetrate the fortress and eventually had to give up.

White-tailed Deer v. Elk

The battle of the antlers were on full display during this game. Surprisingly, it wasn’t the size of the Elk’s body nor antlers that won him the fight. The elk’s loud bugling calls, that can be heard from miles away, scared the skittish deer away before the fight even began.

Striped Skunk v. Eastern Cottontail

The striped skunk had some trouble aiming as the eastern cottontail tried to escape the noxious sprays by running in its zig-zag pattern. It was looking like the cottontail might get out of this stink free, as the skunk can only spray so many times consecutively until it runs out. On the skunk’s final shot, the cottontail was hit, and the skunk moves on to the next round. 

Meadow Jumping Mouse v. Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Upset alert! The Ruby-throated Hummingbird had no problem defeating a mouse that can jump 12 feet in the air. The precision flyer evaded the mouse with perfect swooping arcs and high-speed getaways that reached 25 miles per hour.


Arboreal Region:

Red-Tailed Hawk vs. Cicada

Cicada’s hard exoskeleton was no match for the Red-Tailed Hawk and its sharp talons, as it dove at speeds in excess of 100 mph. The Hawk came out victorious in this battle.

American Kestrel vs. Screech Owl

While the Kestrel’s small size gave it the advantage of agility, ultimately, it was the larger bird who took this match. The Screech Owl will advance to the next round.

Gray Squirrel vs. Flying Squirrel

In this matchup of closely related competitors, the flying Squirrel ultimately took the prize because it’s smaller, nimble size allowed it to be more agile than the Gray Squirrel. This unique squirrel will advance to the next round.

Opossum vs. Raccoon

This nocturnal match was hard-fought! Ultimately, the slow Opossum fell to Raccoon’s quick speed and sharp claws.

Rat Snake vs. Queen Snake

It was a hard-fought battle between the Queen Snake and the Rat Snake! Ultimately, in a battle in the forest, it was the rat snake whose superior tree-climbing abilities led it to victory.

Cardinal vs. Bluebird

This battle in the sky was especially hard-fought. The Bluebird’s excellent eyesight, along with the Cardinal’s bright red coloring did not allow the Cardinal to camouflage at all; however, the Cardinal’s stronger wings and larger size ultimately led it to victory.

Honey Locust Tree vs. Beech Tree

These two unique trees had an interesting matchup, but ultimately, the Beech Tree was no match for the larger Honey-Locust Tree and its four-inch thorns.

Great Horned Owl vs. Praying Mantis

Upset alert! Despite the Great Horned Owl’s clear size advantage, the Praying Mantis’ camouflage and dangerous arms allowed it to be victorious. Praying Mantis will advance to the next round.


Aquatic Region:

Crayfish vs. Fowler’s Toad

Upset alert! You might have thought the large sharp pinchers of the crayfish would be no match for the seemingly defenseless fowler’s toad. However, as the crayfish went in for the death pinch, it met the bumps on the fowler’s toad’s back. Commonly thought to give someone warts, they can actually secrete a toxin, which can be poisonous to small predators.

Painted Turtle vs. Red-eared Slider

It was splitting hairs between these two very similar aquatic turtle species. However, this was no normal red-eared slider, it was Ranger Randy, The Parklands Education Ambassador. With the help of The Parklands education team, she secured the win.

Soft-Shell Turtle vs. Snapping Turtle

It was a true match of defense versus offense in this battle. They say defense wins championships, but today the large aggressive jaws of the snapping turtle were just too much for the softy’s master of disguise.

Hellbender vs. Northern Water Snake

The water snake showed off its best skills—it flattened itself to appear as the larger, venomous copperhead snake. The hellbender, who can live up to 50 years, had seen the trick once or twice and wasn’t fooled. The hellbender came out victorious. 

Muskrat vs. Beaver

The beaver simply outsmarted the muskrat in this one. The beaver can change a whole landscape to be suitable to its way of life. The only living thing with a better home court advantage is a human.

Tadpole vs. Freshwater Mussel

The tadpole has a fast-paced life; a here today gone tomorrow sort of lifestyle. The freshwater mussel knew the stakes, being anchored into the creek bed for years gave it perspective. Being strongly rooted and having a slow-paced life gave the mussel the wisdom to win the battle.

Otter vs. Mink

This battle of the mustelids was close but eventually size won out! The otter has a strong tail and can weigh up to 20 pounds. This was too much for the mink’s 3-pound frame to handle.

Duck vs. Blue Heron

The battle of these aquatic birds was highly contested. However, blue herons spend 90 percent of their lives stalking their food. This patience paid off for this mammoth bird who was able to stand very still and attack at just the right time.


Arthropods/Insects Region:

Dragonfly vs. Stonefly

They may be larvae, but this match-up was still a tough one. In the end, the Dragonfly Larvae’s odd adaptations gave it the edge over its aquatic competitor, the Stonefly!

Water strider vs. Orb Weaver

These leggy creatures often cause fright among human observers, but their gentle demeaners made this a close game. In the end, the colorful Orb Weaver spun a web that the Water Strider just couldn’t get out of!

Leech vs. Tick

The battle of gross-ness reached an epic level with these two bloodsuckers fighting it out for the title. The leech’s slinky, slimy body pushed it past the finish line as the tiny tick struggled.

Damselfly vs. Mayfly

In this Fight of the Flies, the strong, colorful damselfly lost in a stunning upset to the small but bountiful Mayfly, whose tail was just long enough to whip the damselfly out of the competition!

Hellgrammite vs. Caddisfly 

These two creek-dwelling arthropods are creepy enough to bring about nightmares, but the eight legs and formidable pincers on the Hellgrammite gave it a nudge over the stone-protected Caddisfly!

Snail vs. Water Penny

These tiny invertebrates, often left out of sight, had a quiet, yet close battle. In the end, the strong shell of the snail gave it victory over the Water Penny’s scraping scuttles. 

Scorpion vs. Centipede  

This ferocious fight was one for the ages. Both of these insect predators fought valiantly until the end, but ultimately the stinging surprise of the Southern Devil Scorpion beat out the leggy attacks of the Stone Centipede! 

Worm vs. Roly Poly 

In this match-up, these two kid-favorite insects were friends instead of foes. In the end, the wiggly worm was just too impatient, and the rolling ability of the Roly Poly gave it a well-earned victory!

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