Association to support personal and small group outdoor experiences
Due to safety concerns stemming from the ongoing global pandemic, the Eno River Association is re-imaging several of its popular in-person fall events and programs. While experts agree that outdoor experiences are among the safest ways to recreate during the pandemic, the Association will focus its efforts on small group and individual programs that highlight the natural, cultural, and historic resources of the Eno River basin.
The music and camping event known as JamborEno that takes place at the Association’s Confluence Natural Area in Hillsborough has been cancelled, as well as the hands-on environmental education event Stream-In at Eno River State Park. The Association will no longer be co-hosting the Eno River Run; interested participants should check the Bull City Running website for details and alternative programming.
Instead, the Association plans to provide environmental education programs for individuals, small groups, and families throughout the fall, and supplemental STEM educational programs for local students and learning pods. Additionally, to offset the cancellation of large group stewardship and trail workdays, the Association will be supporting small group service projects for workplaces, families, and pandemic pods. Due to a significant increase in traffic in parks and natural areas since the beginning of the pandemic – up to 68% in some cases – trash and trail erosion has increased. This small group stewardship series will help tackle the ongoing strain on park resources and provide a safe way to give back and commune with nature.
“Having access to safe, outdoor activities has never been more essential to the health of our community. Since the outbreak of the global pandemic, citizens have flocked to our parks for recreation and respite in record numbers. Never has the need for open spaces and safe, outdoor activities been more apparent.” commented Jessica Sheffield, Executive Director of the Eno River Association.
On October 3, the Association will host an education event at their Confluence Natural Area. The program will feature some of the popular activities from their Eno River Field Station and iWalk the Eno Summer Camp program and will support youth and adults of all ages. Attendance will be limited, and participants will be required to sign-up for specific timeslots.
To support the strain on school districts, parents, and students, the Association’s education team has also created a catalog of available programming ranging from hands-on STEM activities to local history topics to cultural arts. Learning pods are encouraged to use these resources, as well as online educational videos and other self-serve content, to create physical or virtual field trips to the Eno River this fall.
“Even in these tough times we are finding ways to provide opportunities to be safely outdoors, have fun, and grow the public’s knowledge and stewardship of natural resources,” adds Dave Cook, Education Coordinator. “You have to know it to appreciate it, and appreciate it to care for it. We want everyone to know and appreciate the natural, cultural, and historic treasure that is the Eno, and from there grow support for open spaces and clean water. The health and well-being of our community depends on programs like ours, that inspire an environmental ethic.”
Funding from the Merck Foundation and the placement of a Resiliency Fellow by the Conservation Trust of North Carolina (AmeriCorps Program) is helping make these new programs possible. The Association website will be updated with more information and links to register closer to the events: www.enoriver.org. Individuals or companies that want to learn more about service opportunities on Eno River trails this fall should contact Tom Davis, Stewardship Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 919-620-9099 x206. Those with questions about the education program, may contact Dave Cook, Education Coordinator, at email@example.com or 919-620-9099 x204.