The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

July 21, 2012

Bob Garrett's Outdoors column: New out-of-doors adventure

By Bob Garrett
For The Daily Item

SUNBURY — Welcome to my new writing endeavor. The good folks who put out this newspaper everyday asked me if I wanted to write a column dedicated to promoting participation in outdoors-related events in our area. After giving this invitation a split-second’s thought, I replied with an enthusiastic: Sure!

Promoting nature and getting outside is my life passion. So here’s my new column. Each Sunday, I’ll strive to write about as many nearby, upcoming outdoor events as I know about. I’ll do my level best to promote as many events and tell the readers a little bit about each one so that they and their families might get out-of-doors as often as possible. If you or a group that you belong to is hosting an outdoors event, by all means, please send me your information so it can be promoted in this column. The best way to get a hold of me is by email, at  

Hope to see you out on the trail, soon.

TODAY: When it comes to hiking, Liz Thomas is a triple crowner.  That is, she has “thru-hiked” the Appalachian Trail, the Pacific Crest Trail and the Continental Divide Trail (that’s 7947 miles of hiking, if you’re keeping count). This afternoon — at 2 p.m. —  Thomas will tell stories about her hikes at the Appalachian Train Museum at 1120 Pine Grove Road near Gardners. This is just south of Carlisle, so it will be a bit of a drive down south. But it will be worth it because you will likely hear stories about her record Appalachian Trail thru-hike that only took her 80 days from end-to-end.

Also, while you’re there, families can enjoy a short hike to the exact mid-point of the Appalachian Trail, or a swim at the Pine Grove Furnace State Park or a visit to the old Ironmasters Mansion that’s now a youth hostel and a blessed stop-over location for hikers.  

Thomas’ presentation is free event that will be held outside, so bring your own seating. For more information please visit or call 717-486-8126.

The center of the “EnviroThon Universe” moves to our area today. Starting this evening at Susquehanna University and going all week is the Canon Envirothon’s North American competition.  Pennsylvania and the Greater Susquehanna Valley were selected as the host site for this year’s annual competition. More than 50 teams from the United States and Canada are participating in what is billed as the largest high school environmental education competition in our continent. Sounds like an impressive event but I pity the poor frog that tries to hop across campus undetected.

There’s a sporting clay shoot today at the Kreamer Sportsmen’s Association. The festivities start at 9 a.m. and go through 1:30 this afternoon.  Please give the club a call at 570-374-2223 for more details.

MONDAY: The late-summer TechnoHunt shooting league starts at Weaver’s Archery in Middleburg. To learn more about TechnoHunting or about this league in particular, please call Weaver’s at 570-837-1418.

TUESDAY: You and your family are invited to a very special evening with the Harrisburg Senators on City Island that includes a ballgame with the New Hampshire Fisher Cats. The evening begins with a discussion at  5:30 on the distressed bass population in the Susquehanna River at the Riverside Pavilion hosted by the National Wildlife Federation and the Council of Churches. Speakers will include Andy Shiels from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission. This is a free event that includes pre-game ice cream and other refreshments.  Registration is required by logging onto or by calling 717-214-7934.  

WEDNESDAY: Head on over to Elysburg for a humbling evening (at least for me, it’s very humbling) of sporting clay shooting at the Valley Gun and Country Club. You might want to give the club a call 570-672-3130 to confirm that they will be shooting tonight.

SATURDAY: The 19th Annual Ned Smith Center Nature and Arts Festival that fills up nearly every nook and cranny in Millersburg goes off on July 28. With more than 50 fun and educational events planned for this year’s event this will be a not-to-be-missed events for conservationists of all ages. You can get much more information at: I can tell you that new this year is the butterfly house from Folk’s Butterfly Farm. From 10:30-11:15 a.m. the folk group Neidig, Gehret, Koretsky and Campbell will be playing in the main tent with Van Wagner following up at 1 p.m.

 In the other tents there will be presentations on Indians of Pennsylvania, Taxidermy from Start to Finish and Butterfly Watching for All Seasons. If storytelling is your bent there will be Genuine, Semi-True Bear Stories by the Old Ranger and Tall Timbers: Log Rafting Tales for Kids by Van Wagner. If you’re a “do-it yourselfer,” you may enjoy How to Attract Bluebirds, Environmentally-Sensitive Habitats for Ruffed Grouse and Woodcock, The Hegins-Gratz Valley Wild Pheasant Recovery Area or even The Close-Up Eye: Basics of Macro-photography.

This list just scratches the surface of all of the doings at this year’s festival. Clearly, there is something here for everyone. By the way, the Mid-Atlantic Disc Dogs will be around all day. These canine vaulters are truly an impressive sight to see and worth the trip down the river.