Ingress Community Helping Our National Parks With #OpClearField Events

Originally shared by Niantic

Ingress Community Helping Our National Parks With #OpClearField Events

I recently completed my first “Operation Clear Field” last night, a micro-service event that we are doing in conjunction with GoRuck. Operation Clear Field or OCF is a series of events being run in 120 cities across the United States that combine Ingress gameplay, a scavenger hunt, and community service. I call these ‘micro-service’ events because they are designed to bring the fun to Ingress communities all across the country versus our typical model of having a mega-event that people have to travel to.

Since Ingress and GORUCK are both best enjoyed in the great outdoors, we decided that all proceeds from this series would be donated to the National Park Foundation, the official charitable partner of the National Park Service. I personally spend a lot of time outdoors, from cycling to work to camping with my family to attending Ingress events around the globe, so I’m excited to be able to help give back to our National Parks.

On the night I attended, we obtained and donated food to a local food bank, visited local community aid organizations, captured Portals and created Links between Portals located at community sites, met and talked with a homeless person and brought him dinner, and stopped to socialize along the way.

What was it like? It’s hard to explain the feeling of being in a place you know well in a different context at a different time of day than you normally see it. This particular event started at 6PM at Oakland’s Lake Merritt. In the ‘golden hour’ light extending past sunset, we found ourselves hustling along the lake under its strand of lights, poking our heads into nearby community service organizations, picking up trash along the way, completing our tasks and documenting everything by jamming ourselves into Instagram selfies.

Even though I have been through that park hundreds of times, it looked different. I found myself gazing at Art Deco building facades I had never seen before and taking in the flowers and redwood trees in the park with fresh eyes, helped by an out-of-town visitor who was shocked to see this beautiful side of Oakland.

There were a few moments that linger as mental snapshots-- the look on the face of an Oaklander when we, with his permission, posed to take a photo with his dog beside the lake (a confused expression eased into a smile), the ornate interior of the Veterans Memorial Building (a 1926 gem that functions as a senior citizen resource center, among other things), and the view of the “Necklace of Lights” (first turned on in 1925) across the lake as we sipped a drink at the outdoor tables on the pier behind Lake Chalet.

I hope you will be able to join one of the OCF events this summer. They are based on service but don’t do it because you think you need to do something for someone else, do it for yourself. It’s a fun and energizing way to spend an evening or afternoon and you are sure to meet some other great people.

Find the closest #OpClearField event to you here:

Got questions? Check out the Operation Clear Field FAQ here: