STATE COLLEGE, PA-Centred Outdoors, an invitation for people of all ages and fitness levels to explore nine outdoor destinations across Centre County, has led hundreds of participants on outdoor adventures all around Centre County. The effort was launched on June 11 by ClearWater Conservancy with support from partnering organizations and funded by a grant from the Centre Foundation. The response to this new initiative has been fantastic, with kids and adults exploring the outdoors on 642 personal adventures and hiking more than 800 cumulative miles during the first 13 outings. People are encouraged to register on the Centerd Outdoors website to participate in the remaining seven events, which are free and open to the public, or to explore these destinations on their own (www.centredoutdoors.org).
“We are extremely pleased that so many people have come out to explore the natural places that make Central Pennsylvania such a healthy and beautiful place to live. We look forward to meeting more new faces at upcoming events happening in State College,” explains Deb Nardone, Executive Director of ClearWater Conservancy.
At some of the Centred Outdoors’ guided outings such as those at Black Moshannon State Park and the Spring Creek Canyon, participants learned about local flora and fauna, while at Bellefonte’s Talleyrand Park and the Poe Paddy Tunnel offered historic perspectives. The events at Spring Creek Canyon during the week of July 16 were led by PA Fish and Boat Commission, Spring Creek Trout Unlimited, and local legends and experts who brought to life the unique habitat and features that contribute to Spring Creek’s reputation as a world-famous fly fishing stream. Fly-fishing legend Joe Humphreys offered instruction to novice anglers, and Mark Nale, an accomplished outdoor photographer and author, guided participants on a relaxing nature walk as he identified plants and wildlife along the cool, shaded trail. Events at Poe Paddy Tunnel featured native plant and bird walks and fishing demonstrations led by Penns Valley Conservation Association and the Penns Creek Chapter of Trout Unlimited, This Sunday, July 30, 78 hikers attended guided walks and visited information stations at Millbrook Marsh Nature Center.
Centred Outdoors participants can follow the event calendar and select their destinations via the website www.centredoutdoors.org, where specific information is listed, including directions and parking, difficulty of trail, and local ecology. Participants who register on the website receive frequent email updates and are eligible to wine prize drawing based on the number of e-trophies they earn. The number of trophies then determines the number of chances to win prizes at the Wrap-Up Party on August 20 at Millbrook Marsh.
“We are thrilled with the generosity of our community partners in providing some spectacular prizes, ranging from back packs to bikes, boats, and fishing poles as incentives to participate” says Deb Nardone. She hopes that the Centred Outdoors model with its newly created infrastructure, including the website, Android app, and print materials will inspire similar future outings and events with the goal to familiarize the local population with its natural environment while promoting healthy lifestyles and engagement with local non-profits.
It is not too late to collect e-trophies for attending Centered Outdoors hikes and walks at the next five events between August 2-August 16 at Millbrook Marsh, the Arboretum at Penn State and Mount Nittany; or by visiting any of the nine sites on your own. All events are free, and open to the public.
Lexie Orr, adventure coordinator for Centred Outdoors and AmeriCorps member explains, “We invite everyone in Centre County to stress less and explore more during our remaining Centred Outdoors events. On August 20, our goal is to report that we collectively hiked over 1,200 miles during 1,000 personal adventures this summer and we are well on our way to reaching this milestone. ”