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Meet the glass artist who leads community members on scavenger hunts in Ann Arbor

Meet the glass artist who leads community members on scavenger hunts in Ann Arbor
Meet the glass artist who leads community members on scavenger hunts in Ann Arbor 04:12

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (CBS DETROIT) - Ypsilanti-based artist Shawn Bungo has made a name for himself with his scavenger hunts. 

He leaves small creations he's made in parks and nature areas across Washtenaw County for community members to find. 

Bungo, who has worked with glass for the past 19 years, said he started the scavenger hunts years ago when he was living in Knoxville, Tennessee. 

What began as a way to get rid of imperfect pieces or try out new designs ended up being a treasured experience for his neighbors. 

"For about six months, that went on, and then they discovered who was doing it, and it just became a thing," said Bungo. "I have neighbors in that old neighborhood that have hundreds of pieces that they've found over the years that I've hidden. And it became a nice community thing, and I made so many friends over the years."  

When he arrived in Michigan at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, he felt it was the perfect way to connect with his new community from a distance. 

Four years later, he still leads the scavenger hunts and leaves hints on his social media channels. 

During our visit, Bungo took a glass bluebird he aptly named and signed "CBS" to Ann Arbor's Buhr Park. 

He said he had scoped out the area earlier while walking his dog and found a hole in a small tree that would be a perfect spot to hide the bird. 

After placing it, he took a picture of a nearby water tower with a bird on it as a clue and uploaded it to social media. 

He said people comment on his posts once they've found the object. 

"That's great because I love to see who found them, and then everyone else who's hunting knows it's been found," he said. 

Some people find them with remarkable speed. 

"There are some people out there that are just, they got it, they're good," he said. "It's amazing." 

A little over 30 minutes after he placed the bird, local teacher Carly Groves showed up and found the bird.  

"I'm so excited. You don't understand," she said. "Every time these are posted, I want to find one, and me and my kids have flown super fast to the parks and wherever I think it is, and we've never gotten one."  

She shared on social media that she found his bird – a moment she's been waiting years for. 

"My students are at their special, and I was taking a snack break, and I happened to look on Facebook, and I saw the picture of the school with the water tower, and I was like, 'That's our school. It's right out there.'" she explained. "So, I grabbed my teaching partner, who is a very good sport, and I was like, 'Let's go, let's go,' and he's like, 'What are we doing? Where are we going?' We put on our coats, and we're in the snow, and I found it, and I'm so excited."  

It's proof that small acts of kindness and wonder can have a ripple effect within the community. 

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