We've all heard the line, "Don't mess with mother nature."
Apparently if you are good to mother nature, she will provide you a beautiful day in order to help make our earth a better place to live. Saturday's scattered thunderstorms kept their distance from Upper St. Clair so organizers could plan a spectacular second annual Earth Extravaganza.
"There are plenty of fun things to do outside," program manager Jessie Kester said.
The Outdoor Classroom, next to the Community and Recreation Center, played host to a plethora of fun activities geared towards showing families how to have fun in the outdoors while protecting the earth.
The day began with various short hikes. The log search actually showed you how to move logs in the forest to see what amazing living creatures are among us. The creek search concentrated on the water and the creatures that make it their home.
Even if you already liked the outdoors, there was much to learn on the hikes. Did you know there are certain beautiful plants the actually hurt our environment? Unknowingly, some people grow these plants for aesthetic purposes which can hurt the environment.
"It's important to keep the trails natural beauty," Mary Lee Maloy said.
Maloy is a board member for the USC Citizens For Land Stewardship. Their goal is to teach which plants need to be eliminated. The group works to rid the area of the plants which hoard all the nutrients that the native plants need.
Other interesting activities included geocaching. Never heard of it? It's a relatively new outdoor game with the entire earth as the game board. It's a hide and seek game where objects are hidden and by using special GPS devices the searcher tries to find the hidden objects; it's a world-wide game of hide and seek. If this is something that interests you, one can find information on their website www.geocaching.com.
Here's something else you probably didn't know. The old Wingfield Pines mine across from the CRC has left deposits that dirty the water by the creek surrounding the mine. One group has actually figured out how to make the water cleaner naturally. A series of five ponds slowly clean the water without the help of man or machines. The process is quite amazing and you can learn about it by visiting the old mine.
Plenty of activities and crafts — with the environment in mind — allowed kids to take home souvenirs to remember the day.
No outlet to improve the environment was ignored. One of the more interesting and sentimental activities dealt with finding a use for recycled grocery bags. It's a relatively new project. This organization makes sleeping mats for the homeless using these bags. Sounds crazy, but they are very comfortable. It takes about 40-50 hours to complete one of these mats but this group of individuals meet once a week and make these amazing comforters while enjoying each other's time. It's a craft that began in Chicago in 2009, and has found it's way to Pittsburgh and other surrounding cities.
There were dog training exhibits, hikes for dogs and even a lesson in meditation for adults taught by Dorit Brauer.
There was not only a lot of interesting things to learn, but many new activities to try with the family. Don't forget, The Outdoor Classroom has nature hikes and full moon hikes available for families every month. Make learning about your environment a year round event, not just a once-a-year day.