I believe that there is a subtle magnetism in Nature, which, if we unconsciously yield to it, will direct us aright. -Henry David Thoreau There are a couple things that Mister Peg is going to recommend you do today on Earth Day (which, let's be serious, should be everyday -- we're all on this planet together people!). A good start is to read Thoreau's essay "Walking," which the above quote is from (and which the fine folks from The Atlantic present here in full). Perhaps, afterword take Thoreau's advice and go for a stroll yourself where you can contemplate the earth while making plans for you and the family to attend FortWhyte Alive's Earth Day celebrations, which take place this Sunday, April 26th. The weather is looking nice for the weekend and there is no place like FortWhyte Alive when it comes to immersing yourself in the great outdoors. This stunning nature reserve is located within city limits and has acres of wondrous wetlands, woods and winding paths, along with FortWhyte Farms, which does an incredible job teaching budding young minds how to grow their own food and ethically raise animals on a small-scale, sustainable fashion.
While all of this natural awesomeness is open and accessible all year round (for a small fee, or with a membership) this Sunday access to FortWhyte is free (including transportation), and they have more educational and inspiring Earth Day activities than you can throw an atl atl at.
On the educational side there will be information booths from notables like Nature Manitoba, CBC Manitoba (who from noon to 2 p.m. will be represented by everyone's favourite broadcast meteorologist, John Sauder, who knows more about the weather than anyone I know), Parks Canada, The Winnipeg Blue Dot Movement (a David Suzuki initiative), the International Institute for Sustainable Development (who have created numerous reports on Lake Winnipeg and who, just a year ago, took over management of the Experimental Lakes Area) and many more. As you can see, there will be so many environmental experts to educate you on sustainable choices, while there will also be ways to get started now -- including recycling depots for your old batteries, tires, and electronics. You can even purchase a composter, or a new membership for FortWhyte Alive at 25% off.
Okay, I know what you are thinking: This all is great for us adults, along with inquisitive kids who like to keep learning outside the classroom; but what about kids whose attention span doesn't normally go past the next castle on Clash of Clans? (I don't get this joke either, but my nephew tells me it's the tablet game that everyone at school is playing).
Well, how about this lineup of outdoor activities which will buoy your little ones in nature's bosom: From 10 a.m to 3 p.m. there will be carnival games alongside the lakeside trail; from noon to 3 p.m. your kids can really wing it with an atl atl (an ancient spear tossing mechanism) while they can mimic their favourite heroes -- be it Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games or Hawkeye from The Avengers -- with archery; from 10 a.m.to 4 p.m., they can discover the hidden universe of the marshes with dipnetting; while there will be guided walks of the grounds every hour starting at noon. There will also be food with a bannock bake starting at noon at the Loly Look Out, along with a barbecue from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the south deck of the Interpretive Centre. You can also check out FortWhyte Farms where you'll see how they raise their chickens, pigs, and rabbits (which your kids can get their faces painted like). As well, for your artsy kids, they can attend a craft session in the Interpretive Centre with Art City and help create a piece of public art which will be installed permanently at FortWhyte.
Plus, there are so many other things that will be going on like a puppet show and voyageur games. (Seriously, to mention it all would be to write an essay longer than one of Thoreau's -- so you best just check out the full guide on FortWhyte's website). And be sure to be green getting there, which FortWhyte has made easy. There will be group bicycle rides organized by Bike Winnipeg leaving from locations all over the city, while Winnipeg Transit service will be free with pick-ups at Kildonan Place (11 a.m.), St. Vital Mall (11:30 a.m.), University of Winnipeg (11 a.m.), and Polo Park Mall (11:30 a.m). Buses will be departing from FortWhyte Alive at 3:30 p.m. Those who use human power to get there will also be entered in a special draw.
So get to FortWhyte Alive on Sunday because, despite what Kermit, that paranoid Muppet may tell you, it's actually easy being green -- and lots of fun too.