By Hannah E. Jones
This Saturday, the first-ever Great Outdoors Day will be held on the Eastside BeltLine trail in celebration of Georgia’s natural spaces — from the coast, the Blue Ridge Mountains and pockets of nature in our own backyards.
In addition to celebrating the natural wonders that Georgia has to offer, conservation groups are also inviting residents to join for a day of outdoor activities. The event — hosted at the Historic Fourth Ward Skatepark activity field — is presented by The Atlanta BeltLine, Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Georgia Forestry Commission and City of Atlanta Department of Parks & Recreation.
“Georgia is very blessed when it comes to natural resources,” Georgia DNR Deputy Commissioner Walter Rabon said. “To be able to recreate and enjoy a mountainous environment and then with just a few-hour-drive, be in a coastal environment, is very unique and I think a lot of Georgians take it for granted.”
Visitors can check out the live wildlife demonstrations of species native to Georgia, like a gopher tortoise, non-venomous snakes and birds. The family-friendly schedule also includes interactive activities like casting lessons and archery opportunities.
“To someone that has never been an angler, a hook can be intimidating. How do you tie that hook to a line? How do you cast with a rod and reel?” Rabon said. “Archery is probably one of the fastest growing outdoor activities in the nation. Again, it can be intimidating to a beginner, but it’s an outdoor sport that we feel anyone can enjoy regardless of their age.”
Hosted near the heart of the city, Rabon sees the new program as a way to help urban residents become more engaged with the outdoors.
“It’s been one of our top priorities to bring what rural Georgians get to enjoy, and sometimes take for granted, into an urban environment where inner city kids and adults — who might not get outside of the perimeter very often — can enjoy some of the same activities that we do,” he said.
Local conservation groups, like Trees Atlanta, The Georgia Conservancy and Greening Youth Foundation, will also join to share the work they do to protect our resources.
To learn more about the upcoming event, click here.
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