Monday, March 24, 2014

Doing Good in the Neighborhood, Creek Week Style

Did you have a chance to help out with Creek Week last week?  We certainly hope so, because it's a tremendous service to the Durham community. The rain was a bit of a downer since it forced us to postpone our Lake Michie cleanup event and, sadly, quite a few volunteers were unable to join us on Thursday.   Luckily, volunteers Gary Bowles and Jasmine Ward (pictured below between Steve and Ryan) were available to help us clean a cove on the lake. It was quite amazing how much trash we collected from a very small area of the banks of this beautiful lake, as you can see in the images below.  The harsh winter and the heavy rains have washed quite a bit of refuse down the Flat River and to the lake's banks. It's great to have help to keep this natural area clean and thriving!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Ready for a Little Surf and Seafood?

On Saturday, May 3, the Outdoor Recreation folks will take our Surf and Seafood trip to the Wilmington area for a day of kayaking and seafood .  We'll explore the inlets and marshlands around the area and then head to a restaurant on the beach for a late afternoon lunch.  Come soak up the warm salt air and some delicious seafood with us! The link to registration is on the right-hand column of this page.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Three Very Cool Events for Durham’s Nature Lovers in March and April!

Here are three great opportunities to get in touch with your inner naturalist/scientist this March and April right here in Durham!
Charge Ahead Durham- Date: Right Now!

Charge Ahead Durham has made it easy and fun to take actions in your everyday life to save energy and water, keep our environment clean, reduce waste, and get more connected to this beautiful place we call home.  Along the way, you will save money, reduce some stress, learn some things, and have the chance to win some awesome prizes, like one of these supercool t-shirts. Go to to sign up and Charge Ahead!

Creek Week-  March 15-22, 2014

Creek Week provides opportunities for Durham residents to discover and explore local streams and lakes through educational programs, recreational activities and protect waterways through volunteer projects. There are many event listed on the Creek Week website, to keep you busy.
We're sponsoring the  Lake Michie Canoe Cleanup on Monday, March 17, 2-4 p.m.  Durham Parks and Recreation will provide canoes and cleanup supplies to help keep Durham’s primary reservoir in pristine shape. This cleanup is for ages 13 and up, contact Ryan Sailstad at 919-560-4405 or for more information or to volunteer.

The NC Science Festival- March 28- April 13, 2014

The NC Science Festival is a multi-day celebration showcasing science and technology. The Festival highlights the educational, cultural and financial impact of science in our state. Durham folks can join us at Star Watch ,Friday, April, 4 from 8:30 p.m.-10 p.m. at Old North Durham Park (310 W. Geer St.). The program is sponsored by Durham Parks and Recreation, North Carolina Central University and the NC Science Festival.  We'll gaze at the stars with high-powered telescopes and knowledgeable staff to create an enjoyable evening of exploring the night sky.  For all ages, children must be accompanied by an adult.  And did we mention that it's free?

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

It's Time to Register for Adventure Camp and Eno Discovery!

It's hard to believe that we're already back to time to register for summer camp.  DPR Outdoor Recreation has two awesome summer camp programs, the one-week Adventure Camp and summer-long Eno Discovery Camp.  Both blend outdoor recreation and environmental education themes throughout the camp curriculum.  Adventure Camp is a little more high adventure in that it includes a mountain camping trip during which we go caving and then slide on the waterfall at Upper Creek Falls near Table Rock. Eno Discovery gives children plenty of time to swim in the river, play in the mud and learn about the local ecosystem.  Another reason we think we have the best jobs on Earth!

Registration begins this Saturday, March 15 from 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. You may register online (the link to registration is on the right-hand side of this page) or at any of our recreation centers or the DPR main office at 400 Cleveland Street.  We will not be taking registration at West Point on the Eno this year.  If you don't already have a PIN # for online registration you'll need to do that ASAP so that you have a number by Saturday morning.  For questions about camp, you may contact Ryan Sailstad at 919-560-4405.

A few pictures from summer fun:

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Life is good--no ice on the lakes and we're one week from opening day!

Although I've probably jinxed us with the blog post title, we're one week away from the opening of the City lakes, Lake Michie and Little River Lake.  If you've not been to these wonderful natural areas, it's time to come see what you've been missing.  We spent yesterday at Little River Lake (bundled up, as you can see), which is located on Orange Factory Rd. in northern Durham, readying the facility for the big day.  We move the large and heavy jon boats down to the water, load-test the trolling motor batteries (Steve is holding a load-tester in the picture above) to make sure they have sufficient charge to propel a jon boat for an afternoon, conduct an inventory of equipment and otherwise spruce up the area for next week's customers.  For more information about our lakes, you may go to this link:

Monday, March 3, 2014

Astronomy Obsessions, Lunar Maps and Giant Telescopes in Parks

Throughout our adventures, we spend a lot of time with the stars and moon as our companions, and being the curious folks we are, we like to do our research so we have good answers for participants.  I recently found this amazing lunar map catalog at the Lunar and Planetary Institute's site:  Fair warning, you'll probably get sucked down a wormhole and lose hours in your day looking at these maps from Apollo Missions, topographical maps and more. 

If the moon and stars fascinate you, too, we'll be at Old North Durham Park on April 4 from 8:30-10:30pm with our good friends from the Physics Department at NCCU looking at the stars through their fabulous 10- and 12-inch Meade telescopes.  They're massive and will allow us a view of such clarity and intensity, we can hardly contain our geeked-out excitement.   The picture below is of the 12-inch telescope we'll have with us.  Pretty cool, right?  Come see for yourself on April 4!