I remember when my sons Derek and Tyler used to play Pokémon on their Gameboys and collect the trading cards. I never really understood it then, and I'm not sure I fully understand it now; but, I did download Pokémon Go on my phone.
The most exciting part of this new game is how it gets kids and families outdoors and walking around. It is also designed to get people to historical and cultural locations within their communities, and that is where the gardening aspect comes in.
The game is an Augmented Reality (AR) game because it is partly animated, yet happens in real time in real places. There are three main parts of the game (as I understand it).
First, you catch Pokémon with pokeballs. There are 150 critters to find. The first Pokémon I caught was a Bulbasaur, and I thought was so cool since it is a plant. I caught in on my living room couch seconds after downloading the game.
Second, you'll find Pokestops at various historical and cultural locations. They are at churches, schools, libraries, parks, etc. These are places where a player spins an orb to collect special features that help them play the game better.
Third, gyms are towers where players battle against other teams. These are also located at interesting locations such as water towers, tourist stops, or art installations. This is the part I don't understand, though I do know it takes great strategy and knowledge to be successful.
Since you can catch Pokémon almost anywhere, I recommend visiting a garden or park near you to see what you can find. I recently caught a rare Tauros at Anderson Lake conservation area in Fulton County!
Research shows that Millennials (those age 15 – 34) don't relate to the label 'gardener.' To them, a 'gardener' is from the older generation or are plant experts. But, even if Millennials don't 'garden,' they are interested in 'growing' edibles. Wouldn't it be great if Pokemon GO takes the younger generation to gardens, and while they're there they begin to connect with the multi-generational world of gardening?
I would like to create an index of Master Gardener locations where there are Pokestops and gyms. We can also catalog which Pokémon are caught at these sites.
Join the craze and let me know what you find! There might just be a Bellsprout, Pikachu, or Caterpie lurking in a garden or park near you.