15 Jun GO Day!
This past Saturday, June 9th, I helped with an event at Sloan’s Lake here in Denver. GO Day (Get Outdoors Day) is an annual event put on by a variety of environmental agencies to promote outdoor recreation, and a curiosity/fondness for nature, to kids and families. A ring of booths consisting of local sponsors, outdoor clubs, park staff, and nonprofits was set up, and they provided information and opportunities to do outdoor activities.
I must admit I wanted to budge in front of the kids and do all the activities too! I mean, there was paddle boarding and rock climbing; can you blame me?! One of my favorite stations was provided by EnergiLab, a station with bicycles that generated electricity for the stage speakers and microphones for about 80% of the day. Although the concept of using exercise equipment to generate electricity has been brought to life in a few gyms in the U.S. and abroad, the founder of EnergiLab uses the bicycles as a demonstration for children that the electronics in our homes require power. And that power must be generated somehow, often in a complex or difficult process. I think it gives children and adults the chance to realize that we use energy everyday, and that it is not easily captured nor distributed. Also, EnergiLab had cookies…baked directly by the sun! The balls of dough were enclosed in a plexiglass case with tin foil beneath them and a carefully angled mirror above them that concentrated the sun’s rays into enough heat to cook beautiful chocolate chip cookies, with the perfect balance of crunch on the outside and a chewy center that finished off in a hint of vanilla after each bite….mmm. I bet you can guess where I spent much of my time at the event. (Needed the cookies to fuel me for my time on the bikes, ok?)
In review, I think the event is effective in bringing families together and stirring curiosity in children about the outdoors. My hope is that children will begin to understand that all parts of the world, whether rural or developed, are connected. Parks and wilderness areas are not only places for humans to play, but should also be revered for their critical contribution the health of our planet.
I, for one, was impacted by the event and the charm of the warm sun and cool breeze at the park! It was in stark contrast to working in an office environment, which is a new challenge for me. I work at the Intermountain Regional Office, and as a college student my school days are set up much differently from the schedule of an office job. I am learning to focus on work assignments for longer periods of time, and how to keep my mind and body healthy while using a computer all day. The spirit of the people I work with is uplifting, and they have a good sense of humor! They have welcomed me into the Public Affairs department, and now that I see the work they do here is motivated by a great cause I understand why everyone works so hard.
I’ve also appreciated how they have challenged me with tasks that I have never done before. For example, I was given the opportunity to work on some communications plans that help organize park staff on how to talk to the public about an issue or project going on in a park. I also get to research legislation that impacts the parks, and to keep track of how the bills move through Congress. The debates and challenging issues keep me zoned in on the work and help me forget that I’m inside most of the day!
Luckily for me, Denver is full of recreation opportunities to take advantage of after work and on the weekends, so don’t be fooled–I have already ridden my bike all over the place and taken my kayak to a lake. I will also have the opportunity to visit Rocky Mountain National Park and Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument later this summer, and offers to join people on weekend trips are endless.
In the meantime, I’m ready to take on more challenges!!