The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


July 21, 2013

Bob Garrett;s No child Left Indoors column

Festival honors legend of Ned Smith

"The Earth has music for those who listen."

Much like the iconic Saturday Evening Post cover illustration, "Gone Fishing" by Norman Rockwell, "Gone for the Day" is part of the fabric of our outdoor heritage. The late Ned Smith was the author of the "Gone for the Day" articles that were one of the Pennsylvania Game News' most enduring and anticipated columns. Smith was a self-trained naturalist and artist. Over the years, he created nearly 120 cover illustrations for the Pennsylvania Game News, Pennsylvania Angler, Sports Afield, National Wildlife, National Geographic and other magazines and journals. Personally, I always carry a leaflet that Ned Smith wrote, illustrated and published about how to field dress a deer, while I'm hunting whitetail.

Ned Smith was a truly gifted "scribbler" with a knack for writing in a simple, interesting and understandable manner. The "Gone for the Day" series, were actually his field notes of the observations that he made while afield along with delightful pen-and-ink drawings. This series is available in a book by the same name. After his death in 1985, land along the Wiconisco Creek just outside of Millersburg was purchased with the dream of building an environmental and art center there. In 2002, then Gov. Mark Schweiker gave a huge boost to the dream by presenting a $2 million dollar check to Smith's widow, Marie Smith. The dream of a center became a reality the next year with the dedication of the Ned Smith Center for Nature and Art.

nature and art are certainly at the core of this center. But it's much more. Today, the center is a haven for outdoor education, appreciation and recreation. The center is surrounded by more than 500 acres of rolling river hills and dells that contain more than 12 miles of trails.

For the past two decades, Ned Smith Center staff and volunteers along with just about every resident of Millersburg have worked together to welcome thousands of visitors to their riverside hamlet for their annual Nature and Arts Festival. The festival is a veritable one-stop-shop to experience everything that the out-of-doors has to offer in a single location. For children wanting to make sure that they're not left indoors, this festival is a "must-attend" event. I just can't think of a better place (other than the R.B. Winter Snowfest; but of course, it's cold there) to learn and do more fun activities in the outdoors.

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