This year's Great Outdoor Weekend has expanded to encompass nine days of nature-focused fun, transforming into Great Outdoor Week.
Hosted by the Green Umbrella regional sustainability alliance, from Sept. 19-27, venues across the area will be offering special free programming for the initiative, which aims to encourage adults and kids to "sample the best outdoor recreation and nature awareness programs available."
“The outdoors are open!” said Ryan Mooney-Bullock, executive director of Green Umbrella, in a release. “With essential measures like wearing a mask and physical distancing when around others, it’s safe and beneficial to get outside and enjoy the beauty that our region’s outdoor spaces have to offer. This year especially, Great Outdoor Week offers families and individuals alike a much-needed respite from being cooped up inside.”
The expansion from one weekend to a full nine days will create more spaced-out and socially distant opportunities for the 10,000 people who participate in the Great Outdoor Weekend each year.
Activities include "a wide variety of both in-person events and self-guided activities designed to highlight the region’s outdoor recreation venues, many of which have faced major challenges with the cancellation of revenue-generating programming," says Green Umbrella.
You can bike, hike or explore area nature trails or visit one of Green Umbrella's Greenspace Gems, natural areas picked by a team of conservation experts that help tell the story of the region's biodiversity, including a special focus on geology, plant life and history. These 30 protected spaces "range from a once-contaminated uranium processing plant to an urban gem that offers city-dwellers a chance to see a variety of wildlife right in the city center," says the organization.
A full list of 2020 Great Outdoor Week events can be found at greatoutdoorweekend.org and includes a Raptor Inc. bird sanctuary open house, Native American tales by campfire at the Caldwell Nature Preserve and a special Breakfast on the Bridge 7-9 a.m. Sept. 25 on the Purple People Bridge to celebrate biking and cycling commuters.
National Bike to Work Day, generally held in May, was scheduled for Sept. 25 and Tri-State Trails bike advocacy group director Wade Johnston says, "More people are out biking than ever before. Even if you’re not biking to work, we encourage you to change up your ‘new normal’ commute and celebrate all things bicycling with us on the Purple People Bridge.”
This year, however, you will have to pack your own breakfast due to COVID safety precautions.
Great Outdoor Week takes place Sept. 19-27 and includes tons of free nature activities for both kids and adults to enjoy. More info: greatoutdoorweekend.org.