You don’t need a reason to get outdoors with your family. But with April’s celebrations of Earth Day, Arbor Day and the centennial anniversary of our National Parks, you’ll have plenty of events to add to this month’s “get outdoors” to-do list.
Earth Day Full Moon Hike
Lancaster County Environmental Center
1 Natures Way, Lancaster
April 22, 8:30 – 9:30 p.m.
The Lancaster County Environmental Center has oodles of events planned this spring, but the full moon hike caught my eye. Have you ever gone hiking at night? I have. And, let me tell you, I don’t care how brave an adventurer you are by daylight, traipsing through the woods at dark will bring you very close to an instinctive animal state of being. And my instincts all said, “Hide, you fool!”
A walk with a guide and a group sounds like a much more enjoyable way to experience the wild nightlife. The ultimate antidote to too much screen time, kids especially will tune in to frequency settings on their vision and hearing they didn’t know they possessed.
Spring Into Action Volunteer Weekend
Gifford Pinchot State Park
2200 Rosstown Road, Lewisberry
April 23, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m
Nothing fosters appreciation for environmental stewardship like a day spent cleaning-up the great outdoors. In other word, kids will be more likely to “leave no trace” once they spend a day cleaning up other people’s “traces.” Don’t you hate when other people are in the woods, leaving traces? Me too.
Check out the website for information on what to bring and the opportunity to camp the night before. Remember: it’s bug season. Be your best tick-proof self out there.
April 23, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
First of all, you have to go to the website and check out the seriously cool rain barrels that will be part of a silent auction. Rain barrels are large barrels (of course) that you can position below a gutter drain spout to collect rain water for lawn and garden use. My rain barrel is a very un-creative green; local artists have transformed these rain barrels in to works of beauty.
Mechanicsburg Earth Day Festival activities include a fashion show, gardening exhibits and children’s activities. Need to recycle an old bicycle? Donate that old two-wheeler in your garage and it will be “fixed/made safe and returned to the community” or stripped down for parts.
Environmental Art Hike for Earth Day and Arbor Day
Kings Gap Environmental Education Center
500 Kings Gap Road, Carlisle
April 24, 1 – 2:30 p.m.
Never been to Kings Gap Environmental Education Center?
This weekend, you can get your feet under you with a one-mile hike and collect natural items along the way to create an environmental art piece.
My friend Renee Greenawalt from Lower Allen Township is mom to a teen and a tween, and she loves Kings Gap.
“I make it a point to get to Kings Gap at least once a month between April and December,” Renee said. “The center has fun, interactive events for the kids throughout the year. One of our favorites is the Music on the Mountain series of concerts. It’s an awesome reason to plan a day there—go for a hike and enjoy all of the natural beauty of the park, then relax on the mountain to hear some fantastic music, eat some yummy treats from the food vendors and just enjoy the evening complete with a spectacular view!”
Wetlands Festival at Wildwood Park
100 Wildwood Way, Harrisburg
April 30, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
My kids have grown up at Wildwood Park and the Benjamin Olwine III Nature Center. The boardwalks through the wetlands are super kid-friendly, and the Nature Center has been a hangout for many rainy days of bird watching, crafts and snuggling up with a good book about critters.
This year’s Wetlands Festival features live music, crafts, activities, a frog walk and a used book sale. I’m looking at the flyer, and it says “food and ice cream.” Food and ice cream are two of my favorite things ever. I can eat massive quantities of both, so get to the festival early!