Outdoor Day to Feature Family-Friendly Outdoor Activities on Saturday, June 24
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos today announced that Five Rivers Environmental Education Center located at 56 Game Farm Road in Delmar, will host DEC's first "Outdoor Day" with a celebration of family-friendly activities and presentations from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, June 24. The 445-acre site has long been a destination for area families who enjoy exploring the 10 miles of walking trails through forests, meadows, and wetlands. The area also boasts some of the best bird watching in the Capital District. Five Rivers staff and volunteers have planned outdoor activities for visitors to try first-hand, such as hiking, bird watching, and pitching a tent.
"As part of Governor Cuomo's efforts to connect people to nature and provide increased access to outdoor recreation, the State is hosting 'Outdoor Days' to introduce New Yorkers to outdoor recreation for free," said Commissioner Seggos. "Five Rivers' Outdoor Day will be New York's first and will emphasize connecting to nature through hands-on experiences. I encourage anyone interested to spend the day enjoying the outdoors and trying a new skill."
The day will feature a variety of activities, demonstrations, exhibits, and classes from DEC Friends of Five Rivers and partner organizations, designed to excite families and visitors about outdoor recreation. Activities will include hiking, fishing, birding, and wildlife watching. Instruction will also be provided.
Visitors can begin their outdoor adventure by exploring exhibits highlighting the habitats and history of Five Rivers. Young and old will be delighted to try "What's Your Wingspan?" in the bird viewing area, or count the rings on the "tree cookie" in the forest exhibit to determine the age of the tree. Wayne Trimm's mural, created for the visitor center in 1993, has been restored and installed in its new home, a highlight of the pond exhibit. Visitors can search for more than 100 animals and plants Mr. Trimm incorporated into the work. Kids' crafts and story books area will also be set up in one of the visitor center classrooms.
The event includes:
- A free catch-and-release fishing clinic for parents and children from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Volunteers from the Albany County Conservation Alliance will share information about fishing equipment, techniques, regulations, consumption advisories, and good places to fish. Participants may bring their own gear; a limited number of rods and reels are available for loan. Space is limited. Interested participants should call 518-475-0291 by Wednesday, June 21 to register or for more information.
- A class from Mississippi State University is studying the unique geology of the Vlomankill and will be available to answer questions about their findings. Meet at the visitor center at 10 a.m. for a guided walk to their study site.
- Wildlife rehabilitator Joyce Perry will spend the day at Five Rivers with some of the rescued animals in her care, including the injured barred owl that will be taking up residence in Five Rivers' visitor center. Look for Ms. Perry inside the visitor center.
- Presentations in the visitor center multi-purpose room include a talk on the history of Five Rivers at 11 a.m. and, in honor of National Pollinator Week, "Pondering Pollinators" at 2 p.m.
- The event will also include a visit from Smokey Bear and a chance to meet the Environmental Conservation Officers' K9 unit. Visitors can join Smokey at noon in the covered walkway between the visitor center and the Guided School Program building. The K9 demonstration will begin at 1 p.m. on the lawn.
- At 2:30 p.m., visitors can try their hand at camping basics by pitching a tent on the lawn. When the day is complete, participants will be prepared for an outdoor adventure of their own.
- Displays from the Friends of Five Rivers will describe the group's more than 40-year partnership with DEC, and provide information about their programs, as well how to become a member or volunteer. Volunteer instructors from the Friends' Guided School Program will be on hand to share some of the activities from the lessons they offer throughout the school year: sweep netting for insects, using our senses to explore the outdoors, and understanding birds' adaptations for survival, as well as nature games like "Oh, Deer!"
- Becoming an Outdoors-Woman, a group whose mission is to teach women outdoor skills, will have information about their programs and multi-day workshops. Cornell Cooperative Extension of Albany County will have information about coping with ticks.
For more information on all that DEC's Five Rivers Environmental Education Center has to offer, visit DEC's website.