Greenhorns welcome: Central PA Trails Day reacquaints couch potatoes with outdoors

For the CDTMay 16, 2014 

  • if you go

    What: Central PA Trails Day

    When: 10 a.m.-3 p.m. May 17

    Where: Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center, 3400 Discovery Road, Petersburg

    Info:, 863-2000

    Schedule of events

    • all day: Natural Science Expo and campfire cooking

    • 10 a.m.-noon: Chestnut forest walk

    • 10:30 a.m.: Day hike safety

    • 11 a.m.: Firemaking

    • 11 a.m.: Stream study

    • 11:30 a.m.: Pacific Crest Trail talk with Dave Gantz

    • noon: Stream bugs, knots and casting demonstrations with the Spring Creek Chapter of Trout Unlimited

    • 12:30 p.m.: Backpacking stove tips

    • 1 p.m.: Leave No Trace hike

    • 1 p.m.: Caving in central Pennsylvania with Dave Brumbaugh

    • 1 p.m.: Meet the birds

    • 1:30 p.m. Chestnut tree revival

    • 2 p.m.: Yoga nature walk

    • 3 p.m.: Backpacking 101

After such a vicious winter, it’s time to spend the spring free from the clutches of your humble abode. Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center, the Allegheny Outdoor Institute and ClearWater Conservancy will team up to host Central PA Trails Day, an event that aims to familiarize people with the outdoors.

“Central Pennsylvania is a great place to live if you love the outdoors,” ClearWater Conservancy outreach and volunteer coordinator Chris Hennessey said. “Trails Day is a celebration of the bounty of outdoor recreation opportunities we have here. The idea is to help people learn to enjoy the woods and waters through informative hikes and demonstrations. We’re operating on the premise that the more you know about the natural world, the more interesting it becomes.”

The Get Outdoors PA initiative-approved event is an afternoon of reacquainting oneself with the natural world with guided hikes, slideshows, presentations and other educational activities. Nature newbies might find fly-casting, fire-starting and backpacking workshops helpful.

“People can pick and choose what most interests them from what we have to offer, or they can just decide to go off on their own and have an adventure,” Hennessey said.

“The day will be action-packed with larger expeditions, which are the guided hikes, and more in-depth workshops running hourly, while the smaller clinics are set for every half an hour,” said Jason Erdman, founder of the Allegheny Outdoor Institute.

Even more avid outdoorsmen still may find the event to be an eye-opening experience.

“This event builds on our heritage as an active, rural community,” said Johanna Jackson, a public programs assistant at Shaver’s Creek.

“My favorite moments at festivals are when people run into each other by surprise, and maybe they haven’t seen each other in a while and they renew a connection together,” she added.

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