Centred Outdoors, a local program for people of all ages and fitness levels to explore nine outdoor destinations in Centre County, has recently crossed its seasonal halfway mark. The effort was launched in June by ClearWater Conservancy with support from partnering organizations, such as Penn State’s Sustainable Communities Collaborative, and funded by a grant from the Centre Foundation. There has been great response to this new initiative with kids and adults hiking more than 1,000 cumulative miles during the first 11 outings. People are encouraged to join www.centredoutdoors.org to participate in the remaining five adventures or to explore any of the nine adventure sites on their own.
“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,” said Deb Nardone, executive director of ClearWater Conservancy. “We look forward to meeting more new faces at upcoming events happening in State College.”
At some of the Centred Outdoors’ guided adventures such as those at Black Moshannon State Park and the Spring Creek Canyon, participants learned about local flora and fauna, while adventures at Bellefonte’s Talleyrand Park and the Poe Paddy Tunnel offered historic perspectives. The event at Spring Creek Canyon was led by the 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.
Centred Outdoors participants can follow the event calendar and select their adventures, where specific information is listed including directions and parking, difficulty of trail, and local ecology. Participants who register on the website receive email updates and are eligible to win prizes based on the number of “e-trophies” they earn. The number of e-trophies then determines the number of chances to win prizes at the Wrap-Up Party from 2 to 5 p.m. on Aug. 20 at Millbrook Marsh Nature Center.
“We are thrilled with the generosity of our community partners in providing some spectacular prizes, ranging from backpacks to bikes, boats and fishing poles as incentives to participate,” said Deb Nardone.
Nardone 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.
“We invite Centre County residents to explore more during our remaining Centred Outdoors events," said Lexie Orr, Centred Outdoors adventure coordinator.
"Our goal is to report over 1,200 miles hiked during 1,000 personal adventures this summer and we are well on our way to reaching this milestone," she added.
E-trophies may still be collected for attending Centered Outdoors hikes and walks at the upcoming events between July 30 through Aug. 16 at Millbrook Marsh, the Arboretum at Penn State, and Mount Nittany, or by visiting any of the nine adventure sites.
For more information about Centred Outdoors, visit www.centredoutdoors.org.