The Georgia Wild newsletter last month highlighted some really great cams on the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ website that are getting better with each passing day. The Landings Bird Cam features a recently expanded family of great horned owls, who live in a nest that was originally built by bald eagles. The nest is occupied most of the day since great horned owls are primarily nocturnal. So there’s a good chance you’ll see a vigilant parent atop or beside the two growing owlets in the nest if you take a peek during EST daylight hours.Speaking of eagles, if you’re in the mood for dynamic and large birds of prey tending to their young and want a little more daytime action, you can go right to the bald eagle source. The Minnesota DNR’s EagleCam has plenty of action to satisfy any appetite. The dark, fluffy eaglets have very recently hatched, and they’re just about as cute as they come, especially when one of their parents is feeding or teaching them bird basics. For those looking to observe nesting habits from the beginning, the Falcon Cam run by the Nebraska Games and Parks Commission shows a fairly consistent peregrine occupant. The nest, perched a dizzying 18 floors up at the Nebraska State Capitol, is still awaiting its clutch! And still, if 24-hour streams of miniature yet budding sky predators isn’t your thing, the Bella Hummingbird Nest cam in La Verne, California may be the nectar to your cheery blossom. Bella, an Allen’s hummingbird, and her two roughly Tic Tac-sized eggs can brighten even an already sunny day. The eggs are expected to hatch within the next two weeks! Whew, technology is something! But it’s still a lot more than cleverly camouflaged cameras that let you keep an eye on and learn from birds and other animals anywhere there is a screen and an Internet connection. If you’re looking for more hands-on adventure, especially as the winter thaws, the Pocket Ranger® mobile apps have got the goods. Download and get out for some spring adventuring near you!
You can join thousands of volunteers who will gather at parks, forests, reservoirs, and other public areas to help improve and steward our nation’s natural resources. There will be opportunities to build bridges and trails, plant stream banks, restore lakes and wetlands, remove invasive plants, improve wildlife habitat, repair cultural resources and recreational facilities, and carry out hundreds of other projects. Volunteers will also learn about the importance of public lands to the nation’s environmental, economic, and social health as well as get a firsthand perspective on the problems and issues facing land managers.
If you love the outdoors, here’s your chance to give back to nature! Mark your calendar for September 26th, and find a NPLD site near you by checking the list below or visiting publiclandsday.org. And don’t forget to use our Pocket Ranger® apps during your visit to our beloved parks, forests, and lakes!
Red Rock State Park – Sedona, AZ
Maintenance and cleanup of park facilities, trails, and Oak Creek riparian areas. Park interpreters will be available for questions regarding the Oak Creek and its importance to Arizona.
Call 928-282-6907 or click here for more information.
Lake Dardanelle State Park – Russellville, AR
Join Lake Dardanelle State Park to celebrate this national cleanup event in conjunction with the Great Arkansas Cleanup to help pick up trash along the lake and throughout the community. Volunteers clean trails, shorelines, and public parks around Russellville. Following the cleanup will be a ceremony for all those who volunteered and a free lunch along with activities for the whole family.
Call 479-890-7479 or click here for more information.
The Barnacle Historic State Park – Coconut Grove, FL
Partake in a morning of park cleanup, landscape beautification, and exotic plant removal. At the conclusion of the event, Park Rangers will provide free lunch and a tour of the historic house for registered volunteers. Participants under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult.
Call 305-442-6866 or click here for more information.
George L. Smith State Park – Twin City, GA
Saturday, September 26th is Your State Parks Day. Come out and help with park cleanup and beautification projects. Free T-shirts, water bottles and other goodies will be given to all volunteers.
Call 478-763-2759 or click here for more information.
Sterling State Park – Monroe, MI
Help collect native prairie seed from grasses and wildflowers to restore Lakeplain Prairie.
Call 517-719-2285 or click here for more information.
Tombigbee State Park – Tupelo, MS
Beginning in 2015, Toyota Mississippi will kick-off a five-year NPLD project at Tombigbee State Park. Kids Camp will be offered to children under age 12 with projects that include an interactive water conservation activity provided by Mississippi 4-H as well as painting and building bird houses and feeders. NPLD will conclude with a volunteer celebration including a BBQ lunch, fishing, disc golf, live music, and door prizes (must be present to win). Over the five years, the park will be completely renovated including cabin restoration, bridge construction, installation along nature trails, removal of invasive vegetation, planting flowers and shrubs, welcome center renovations, and overall park beautification.
Call 662-317-3038 or click here for more information.
Onondaga Cave State Park – Leasburg, MO
Attend the Green Living Fall Festival and National Public Lands Day Bio-Blitz! The day’s activities will center around villages and will contain a variety of topics, including educational activities, hands-on activities, vendors, displays and demonstrations, green products, local farming, and sustainable living. The bio-blitz, in honor of National Public Lands Day, will feature experts in a variety of scientific and ecological fields leading groups to identify and record species of flora and fauna throughout the park. The public is invited to voluntarily participate in any group. The Onondaga Friends Association will be demonstrating the making of apple butter and freshly canned jars will be available for sale along with many, many other vendor items.
Call 573-245-6576 or click here for more information.
Elk Knob State Park – Todd, NC
Head over to Elk Knob State Park for National Public Lands Day where you can help work on maintaining the Summit Trail or the new Maple Run Trail. Tools will be provided. Bring water, lunch, and work gloves and wear close-toed shoes.
Call 828-297-7261 or click here for more information.
Black Moshannon State Park – Philipsburg, PA
Help beautify Black Moshannon State Park! Projects include trail maintenance, native plant gardening, litter pickup, and planting. Pre-registration is required. Lunch will be provided and free camping is available that weekend for volunteers.
Call 814-342-5960 or click here for more information.
Bledsoe Creek State Park – Gallatin, TN
Help put together playground equipment at Bledsoe Creek State Park!
Call 615-347-3639 or click here for more information.
Since 1985, America has been celebrating the immense importance of parks and recreation every July. This month the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) is celebrating their 30th annual Park and Recreation Month with a nod to the past.Parks were created to give people a place to appreciate nature, exercise, socialize and have fun—and what better way to do exactly that than with a throwback theme? So the NRPA is challenging everyone to get retro and use the power of the 80s to increase awareness of the significant impact parks and recreation areas have on our quality of life. Communities all across the country are taking up the challenge by hosting events at parks and recreation centers. Here are a select few for you to check out:
80s Skate Jam: July 11th in Palm Bay, FL
The Palm Bay Skate Jam is held once a month at Liberty Park in the east central Florida city of Palm Bay. This fun family-friendly event is free, so bring your loved ones and skate to the best hits of the 80s! It is recommended that you bring your own skates as their supply is limited.
For more information, visit their website or call 321-952-3400.
Like, Totally 80s!: July 11th in Lawrenceville, GACelebrate Park and Recreation Month with one of the most beloved movies of all time: 1985’s Back to the Future. Enjoy 80s themed activities including games, a trivia contest, crafts, a photo booth, DJ jams, concessions, face painting, crazy 80s hair and temporary tattoos. Then grab a blanket, pack a picnic and gather the family to travel Back to the Future. It’s guaranteed fun for all ages.
For more information, visit their website or call 678-277-0900.
80s Retro Party in the Park: July 24th in Greenville, NC
Join the City of Greenville, NC to celebrate Park & Recreation Month with activities for the entire family—with a throwback flair! Come to the park dressed in retro attire that you don’t mind getting muddy and join the family jazzercise session and 80s trivia then catch an 80s movie on the big screen later in the night. There will be prizes for those dressed as their favorite 80s icon. Families are welcome to stay and camp out under the stars in the big field for a fee.
For more information, take a look at their 2015 Programs & Activities Guide or call 252-329-2489.
80s Cruise In: July 25th in Springfield, OH
Join the National Trail Parks and Recreation District in Springfield, OH as they celebrate Park & Recreation Month, 80s style. Activities include live bands, a car show, an 80s aerobic class, a life-size Pac Man, music, food and more. Come dressed to impress in leg warmers and mile-high hair!
For more information, visit their website or call 937-328-7275.This is only a small sampling, so browse through the list of Park & Recreation Month Events to find out what’s happening in your area. While you’re at the site of your choice, don’t forget to record a short 15 second video and post it to Instagram for NRPA’s Throwback Thursday Instagram Video Challenge.
Or better yet, host your own shindig! Not sure how? It’s easy!
First, find a state park near you by downloading the Pocket Ranger® app for your state. Then dust off those leg warmers and headbands, bring back the neon colors, style your hair appropriately (go big or go home), turn up your favorite synth jams, and set up the retro activity of your choice: an aerobics class, a lip sync battle, a karaoke session, a trivia contest—the possibilities are endless! If you like, you can use the resources the NRPA has provided in their toolkit to promote your event. Finally, invite friends, family, coworkers and neighbors, and have a blast rocking Park & Recreation Month in 80s style. Be sure to take advantage of all the activities and amenities the parks have to offer while you’re there, too. Check the Pocket Ranger® app you downloaded for details on fishing, boating, camping, hiking, biking and more!
So what are you waiting for? Join the celebration of the 30th Anniversary of Park & Recreation Month! Not only will you be having fun and encouraging others to be active, live healthier, and connect with nature, but you’ll also be showing off how totally rad you are in the process.
Fireworks, delicious barbecue, and a healthy dose of American pride are the perfect ingredients for a successful Independence Day celebration. And what better way to show your nationalism than heading out into gorgeous nature and supporting a local state park? Here are just three parks that offer a fun way to spend the upcoming Fourth of July.
Sunset Patriotic Paddle Parade
Paddle along the peaceful shores of Texas’ Martin Creek Lake State Park or their Sunset Patriotic Paddle Parade. Limited amounts of rentals are available, so arrive early or bring your own kayak. And don’t forget those decorations—make sure you and your boat arrive decked out in your red, white, and blue-est!
More info: 903-836-4336 or email@example.com
Old Fashioned Independence Day Celebration
Nothing says love for your country’s history like taking a trip back in time at California’s Wilder Ranch State Park for their Old Fashioned Independence Day Celebration. Join in on the parade that travels through the complex to the front lawn where speeches, a flag raising, and patriotic music await. Dress in your early 1900s best and bring some musical instruments, then exchange your present-day bills for some neat 1900s tokens! Afterwards stick around for food or pack a picnic and relax at the park.
More info: 831-426-0505
Independence Day Fishing Rodeo
Bring your kids over to Georgia’s Reed Bingham State Park where the Friends of Reed Bingham are hosting an Independence Day Fishing Rodeo. Prizes will be awarded, and anyone under 12 is urged to compete. There’s really no better way to celebrate America’s independence than going fishin’!
More info: 229-896-3551Don’t forget to download our Pocket Ranger® Mobile Apps to find out about other Fourth of July events at a state park near you!
Take a Hike!Unearth your hiking boots, thick socks, and walking stick and hit the trails on Earth Day! Cumberland State Park in Tennessee is hosting a 3-mile, Earth Day hike on the Pioneer Trail along upper Byrd Creek. See fascinating geological features, smell the wildflowers, cross a swinging bridge, and pass through the trail’s “fat man’s squeeze.” The Earth Day hike in Pomme de Terre State Park, Missouri will strike out on the Cedar Bluff Trail in the Hermitage area of the park. During the hike, park rangers will help you identify local wildlife and wildflowers. All of Washington’s state parks are free admission for Earth Day. Take advantage of this special opportunity by joining other outdoor enthusiasts on the Wildflower Walk at Mt. St. Helens Visitor Center. This 3/4-mile walk along a wetland trail is a great way to learn more about native wildflower species.
If you’d rather celebrate on the water, head to Crooked River State Park in Georgia for an Earth Day River Paddle at High Tide. Paddle your way through a maze of marsh grass before the course opens into gorgeous scenic views of the park.
Volunteer!After a long, hard winter, there’s so much to do at the state parks to get them ready for the summer season. How can you help? It’s easy! Just give back to your favorite outdoor space by volunteering your time on Earth Day!
Wisconsin state parks are holding a series of volunteer days with their month-long Work*Play*Earth Day events. On any of these designated days, lend a hand at the parks by helping with repairs, trailwork, gardening, and painting. Refreshments and gifts of appreciation will be provided by Friends of Wisconsin State Parks. Of course, these volunteer days are also about fun! Once you’ve completed a volunteer project, join the park staff on a hike, bike ride or by touring a nature center.
Black Moshannon State Park in Pennsylvania also has Earth Day projects for volunteers. These projects include trail maintenance, litter pickup, leaf removal, and native plant gardening. As an added incentive, Earth Day volunteers can camp for free at the state park’s campground!
The Earth Day Hike & Volunteer Project at Davy Crockett Birthplace State Park in Tennessee is the best of both worlds. Help park staff complete small projects before taking a leisurely hike through the park’s beautiful meadow trails.
Bring the Kids!There are plenty of family-friendly Earth Day events happening at parks across the country. At Liberty State Park in New Jersey, the annual Earth Day Celebration will have free arts & crafts activities and giveaways for kids. There will be kite-flying, live music and entertainers, and also fun inflatable rides. At the celebration’s 5K Run and 5K Walk, participants will receive a free t-shirt and also have the chance to win trophies and medals. While you’re at the park, don’t forget to take a moment to enjoy the picturesque view of the New York City skyline!
There will be a full day of family fun at the Earth Day Celebration at Bear Mountain State Park in New York. Student Conservation Association’s Hudson Valley Corps and Trailside Museums and Zoo have a stellar line-up of activities aimed at fostering environmental awareness. These activities will be happening at stations along the trails, rain or shine.
Let your friends, family or the whole world know about your Earth Day adventures and achievements by sharing your waypoints on any of our free Pocket Ranger® apps! With just the click of a button, easily share your marked waypoints with others through Facebook, Twitter and email.
Easter is this Sunday and that means Easter egg hunting at the state parks! Take your kids out on this exciting day so they can participate in games, activities and win prizes. We picked some state parks that are hosting Easter egg hunting. Download your state’s Pocket Ranger® app to view more state park Easter events.
Oak Mountain State Park
April 4th, 2015
It’s the 8th Annual Easter Egg Hunt! For kids ages 5 and under, the egg hunt will begin at 11 a.m. and ages 6 and up are to begin at 1 p.m. There will be face-painting, hayrides, moonwalk, cake hop, sack races, a visit from the Easter bunny and so much more! Activities are one ticket each, which is a dollar and there is a park admission fee.
Lake Kissimmee State Park
April 4th, 2015
Come out and enjoy the sunshine at this state park’s Easter egg hunt. There will be more than 1,000 eggs to be found and awards will be granted to winners in each age group. This event is for children, ages two to twelve. Lake Kissimmee State Park will also have carnival games. This event starts at 10 a.m. and is free with regular park admission. Please don’t forget to bring your own baskets! For more information, call 863-696-1112.
High Falls State Park
April 4th, 2015
Have you ever experienced a Glow-in-the-Dark Easter egg hunt? If not, now is your chance! High Falls State Park will have 4,000 glowing eggs waiting to be found! This event is from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Admission is $3 per child and a parking fee of $5. Space is limited and registration is required, so call: 478-993-3053.
Lake Barkley State Resort Park
April 5th, 2015
Windows on the Water Restaurant is offering its annual Easter buffet from noon to 8 p.m. There will be more than 3,000 eggs for toddlers and teenagers to find at the “Egg-ceptional Egg Hunt.” The Easter bunny will be at the fitness center at 2:30 p.m., so bring your cameras and don’t forget your baskets. Egg hunt will start at 3 p.m. at the fitness center. For more information, call 270-924-1131.
Carver Caves State Resort Park
For those who are looking for an Easter weekend getaway, Carver Caves State Resort Park will have family programs all weekend long. There will be egg-coloring, scavenger hunts, a wildflower walk and much more! For more information, visit: Carver Caves State Resort Park.
Arrow Rock State Historic Site
April 5th, 2015
This event is not to be missed! There will be an Easter Parade and an egg hunt at this state park. Come wearing your favorite bonnet or decorated hat and walk down Main Street with children and other adults! The children’s egg hunt will be held after the parade, where prizes will be awarded to winners. If you make it to the state park early, you can stop and have a bite to eat at the J. Huston Tavern, which will be open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The main event starts at 2 p.m. and will end at 3 p.m. Call to make your reservation: 660-837-3200.
Valentine’s Day is just in a few weeks. If you have no idea where to take your one true love, don’t panic! Pocket Ranger® has your back! Check out these romantic state park events that you and your significant other are sure to remember.
Silver Springs State Park
Saturday, February 14, 2015
12 PM to 5 PM
Silver Springs State Park is offering a festive event that should not be missed. You can pick up a gift or even make a personal present from one of the vendors that will be on-site. Canoes, kayaks and bikes are “rent one, get one.” There are also activities for the kids, so you don’t have to leave them home alone with a babysitter.
Date on the Deck
Silver Springs State Park
Saturday, February 14, 2015
5 PM to 7 PM
This event happens right after Lovefest, so this is definitely a special night at this state park! While enjoying dinner, you can witness the most beautiful spring on Mammoth Deck. This package starts at $55, which includes park admission, a glass bottom ride for each person, dinner and a photo for memories. No babysitter needed; childcare is available in the Lundy Center during dinner for $10. Kids will get to watch a movie, eat snacks and hang out with a park ranger while being supervised by childcare professionals. Tickets must be purchased in advance for this event.
Visit Florida State Park Events for more information on these romantic events. And if you are planning on proposing this Valentine’s Day, contact Priscilla@silversprings.com to make it a very special evening!
Valentine’s Day Wagon Ride
Hard Labor Creek State Park
Saturday, February 14, 2015
5 PM – 5:45 PM and 6 PM – 6:45 PM
It can’t get any more romantic than a wagon ride under a sky full of stars! Wagon rides at Hard Labor Creek State Park begin at the beach and takes you through landscapes. Register in advance: admission is $5 and parking is $5. For more information, call 706-557-3001.
KentuckyValentine’s Day Specials/Wine and Canvas Class
Pine Mountain State Resort Park
Saturday, February 14, 2015
7 PM to 10 PM
Pine Mountain State Resort Park is working with the Wind and Canvas to host a painting course. This course is $40 per person, which includes an instructor, all supplies and a canvas that you get to keep! You also have the option to create a paired painting with your significant other or a friend to create your own work of art. There will be a cash wine bar.
A package for dinner and lodging is available starting at $84.95 plus tax. This price includes one night in the lodge and a four-course dinner for two. Dinner is also available without the package, which is $20 per person. (Gratuity is not included in this price. Reservations are mandatory! Call 606-337-3066 to reserve a spot for you and your sweetheart for the class and/or the package. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Minnesota23rd Annual Candlelight Ski/Snowshoe/Walk Event
Wild River State Park
Saturday, February 14, 2015
6 PM to 9 PM
Candles will guide you and your loved one through six miles of trails at Wild River State Park. All snow-shoers, skiers and walkers are welcome on the trail this romantic weekend! Contact Mike Dunker at (651) 583-2125 ext. 227 or by email at Michael.email@example.com.
Valentine’s Day Candle Lantern Walk
De Veaux Woods State Park
Saturday, February 14, 2015
7 PM to 9 PM
This event is not only for couples! Friends and singles are allowed, too! Come out for a night of relaxation, from sipping hot chocolate to making your very own lantern. You can then walk around De Veaux Woods State Park and star-gaze. Call (716) 282-5154 for more information and registration.
TennesseeValentine’s Day Package
Pickwick Landing State Park
Saturday, February 14, 2015
4:30 PM to 9 PM
Bring your significant other for an overnight stay in a cozy room with fresh flowers for your love and a balcony that overlooks Pickwick Lake. This package includes one inn room for Saturday night and dinner for two in the restaurant where reservations and required.
If you are unable to stay overnight at Pickwick Landing State Park, there is a buffet where you can indulge in from 4:30 P.M to 9 P.M. Buffet is $42.49 per couple and beverages. (Tax and gratuity is not included.)
Download your state’s Pocket Ranger® app to mark down your special date in our Events Calendar and to check out other activities these state parks offer!