National Get Outdoors Day

The June program page has info on events and activities on the Trails of History through the end of the month.

Stan Hess leads walk on sustainable forestry trail
Retired forester Stan Hess leads a wildflower walk on the PA Lumber Museum's Sustainable Forestry Trail, May 2017 (via Facebook)
Tomorrow, June 10, is National Get Outdoors Day. I know, it snuck up on me too. Always does. I read about it in the electronic newsletter of the PA Parks and Forests Foundation. I was reminded of a tourism study from last year (I think) that showed that people who like to do outdoor activities also seem to really like exploring history (going to historic sites, etc.).

And that made me think about how many sites on the PA Trails of History offer some of both to the public. Many of our sites have beautiful grounds and parkland that people enjoy just for the sake of being outdoors. They may not even think about the history nearby. And many of our sites are looking for ways to gently remind those folks about the work and investment (of public and private dollars) it takes to maintain the grounds and preserve the history. But I digress.

Increasingly, staff and volunteers at PHMC sites are working with colleagues at state parks, which are part of the PA Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR), to provide the public with experiences that satisfy or nurture historical curiosity alongside an appreciation of nature and of sustainable ways to interact with nature. (You may know that in early 2016, Washington Crossing Historic Park formally moved from PHMC's portfolio to DCNR's although it remains part of the PA Trails of History.) Recently, two programs came across my radar that reflect the cooperation between the two agencies.

Eckley Miners' Village forsythia
Spring at Eckley (via Facebook)
Last Thursday, as part of a program series geared to older adults and retirees, staff from Nescopeck State Park in Luzerne County teamed up with staff from Eckley Miners' Village. Attendees toured the village, learning about the history of anthracite mining, life in a patch town, and features of the natural landscape. Eckley has also been working to regularly interpret (through graphics panels on the grounds) natural features and the geology of coal, as well as attracting outdoor enthusiasts using the newly expanded Rails-to-Trails project connecting the village to Hazleton.

In late May, 73 students from Northern Potter Middle School visited the PA Lumber Museum. A Facebook post by the school district recounted that the students "toured the museum and the grounds and learned about lumber uses and the history of the lumber industry in Pennsylvania. They learned how foresters use different types of maps to make forestry decisions as well." Museum staff report that the students were really engaged and interested. The group then moved on to Lyman Run State Park, where they participated in hands-on activities to learn about logging methods and how loggers floated logs downstream. In addition, they assisted the museum with testing out a raft-building exercise for an upcoming summer camp program. (Photos of all of these activities are in the School District's Facebook post.)

In a different vein, The State Museum of PA's popular Story Time program moved outside last week to take advantage of some tree-shaded areas outside the museum.

Outdoor special events planned for June 10 are listed below. There are many more opportunities to be outdoors on the Trails of History (check the June program listing for more info):

Fort Pitt Museum
Living History Series—today's focus is the Ft. Pitt Fife and Drum Corps. Noon-4 pm.

Old Economy Village
Saturday Spotlight19th-century Foodways: Bread-baking and Cooking. Included in regular admission, so please start at the Visitor Center. 10 am-5 pm.

Pennsylvania Lumber Museum
Youth and Family Field Day—this event, which runs 9 am-4 pm, is geared for students between the ages of 10 and 16, accompanied by an adult family member. Qualified instructors will teach a variety of outdoor skills: Wildlife Identification, Turkey Lore/Calling, Archery, Pellet Shooting, Astronomy (observing the sun through a special telescope), Fly Casting, Trapping, and Tree Identification. Thanks to sponsorships, this event is free, but registration is required. Registration closed yesterday, so if you're interested you must call TODAY, June 9, to see if space is available.

Washington Crossing Historic Park
Historical and Nature-related Programs—environmental educator Katie Scott will lead a river's edge bird-watching session, 8:30-9:30 am (meet at the visitor center), and staff from Bucks County Library (Yardley branch) will offer storytime and a nature activity for kids of all ages, 2:30-3:30 pm in the picnic area across from the visitor center (visit Washington Crossing's events page for more information.

Updated info - additional outdoor opportunities on the Trails of History:

Ephrata Cloister is participating in the Ephrata Public Library's "Get Outdoors" program, as one of the stops on the program's landmarks scavenger hunt. Kids and their families use a map to visit parks and other outdoor venues in and around Ephrata. Each stop has a post with a metal symbol on top that is used to make a rubbing on the map. Ephrata Cloister's post represents a post office. For more information visit the project website.


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