TROY — The Hug the Earth Festival is a festival promoting environmental awareness. This festival combines the exploration of the outdoors with art, music and science.
This festival celebrates its 20th year in 2016. It started at one school, with just a few activities, but over the years it has grown into a larger festival.
Cinda Pinkerton, the director of the Hug The Earth Festival, said, “We incorporated several learning styles, using music, art, as well as uniquely designed hands-on outdoor exploration learning field experiences at the Miami County Park District sites.” These activities are all still included in both the public, and school festivals.
“We then added other fun science outdoor inspiring learning opportunities at the festival such as rock and fossil digs, wildlife and farm animal experiences, gem screening, outdoor high adventure with rock climbing walls, tree climbing , high ropes and zip lines to make a whole day of fun and learning in the outdoors!” Pinkerton added, speaking of all the activities that have grown since the beginning.
This festival will be held through Saturday, May 14, at Stillwater Prairie Reserve, 9750 State Route 185, in Covington. The event has previously been held in Garbry Big Woods Reserve in Piqua.
The Hug the Earth Festival also includes a program that is integrated into the school system. This program takes its place in labs, and classroom outdoor activities at the Miami County Parks. The hopes of this is to improve the school curriculum, and introduce the outdoors to each generation.
“We host this event because we feel it is an exceptionally creative, unique, fun learning experience that is unlike any other that we know of,” said Pinkerton. “It brings science “alive” and promotes an understanding, appreciation and stewardship of our natural world.”
This festival will have two events, the Hug the Earth School Festival, which is not open to the public, and the family festival, which is open to the public. The family festival will be held on Saturday, and the school festival is being held through Friday.
On Saturday, the Banana Slug String Band will perform at noon with such favorites as “Dirt Made My Food,” and the “Water Cycle Boogie,” along with other activities from 1-5 p.m. at Stillwater Prairie Reserve.
The school festival will have several different activities for the different age groups that attend. The youngest group will an activity that only fourth through sixth graders will attend. This Ropes, Rocks & Treetops activity will encompass tree climbing, rock climbing, a high ropes course and a zip-line course.
The Hug the Earth festival, and all accompanying activities will be free of charge.
Charlie Ryan is a Trojan Tempo staff writer who will be volunteering for this event.