Families living in the Triangle area of North Carolina know how good we have it. We live in a place that is consistently praised as one of the best areas in which to live and to raise a family. In fact, Cary made Money Magazines' top 5 list of places to live in the US last year.
There is so much to do here for families with young kids; great parks and playgrounds, nature preserves, youth sports, year-round camps and recreation. But if you are looking for those nearby outings that provide environmental education opportunities, they are available in abundance as well! And when our kids know more about the environment, they become more in tune with their impact upon it. Teaching them where the things they throw “away” go or showing them the power of teamwork. All of us pitching in to pick up litter can be the start of lifelong stewardship of the planet we all call home.
Our list of Eco-Outing ideas below provide a wide variety of possibilities for homeschooling families and for organized playgroup outings.
Touring the location where all of Wake County's landfill trash is piled up doesn't sound very glamorous, but it is so eye-opening that you will never look at your household trash the same way again. As this landfill has a finite life span, the lessons to be learned here will stick with visitors of all ages. The bonus is you may also see some bald eagles while visiting!
Tours are available on alternating Wednesdays and Saturdays every month, or schedule your own group tour.
(Must be age 8 or above to tour)
Litter sweeping is trending now with the popularity of #trashtag, so why not get the kids involved? The Town of Cary provides everything you need to plan your own litter sweep. Choose a location you think needs a little TLC and just pick up the supplies from the Town Hall parking garage.
(All ages can participate but young kids need adult supervision.)
The Town of Cary is celebrating 40 years of connecting people via its greenways, and now has 80 miles to explore with your kids. Creating a walking and biking community has been a priority for Cary, as it provides pedestrian safety, healthy citizens, access to nature, and alternatives to vehicle travel. Hop onto a trail anytime for a walk or participate in an organized ride to enjoy fresh air, exercise, and green space.
(All ages can enjoy the greenways)
The Compost Education Center in Cary is a fantastic way to show kids that organic trash can become nutrient rich compost for gardens, farms, and yards. A visit to this shady spot will provide opportunities to learn about the benefits of using native plants in landscaping, as well as the various types of composting.
Water Wednesdays at the compost education facility provide kids an opportunity to dig in and explore how food is grown. 10 a.m. - 11 a.m. (Every Wednesday during June-August)
With 56 million gallons of water being treated EVERY DAY at the Cary/Apex Water Treatment Facility, this is a huge place. Organize a tour for your group and be sure to wear your walking shoes to see this expansive facility. Educational opportunities are plentiful with tour guides helping to explain the latest technology in water treatment.
(Inquire about age requirements when you call.)
The Town of Cary has preserved this historic farm and is now licensing plots for new farmers, all while providing all the necessary equipment and infrastructure. The farm is developing a demonstration garden, as well as agricultural and nutritional educational programming. Families and kids can get directly involved with volunteering at the farm once a month or contact the farm to schedule a tour.
(Volunteers under the age of 14 must be accompanied by an adult. Please contact GHF before the workday if the volunteer is under 12 years of age.)
Bring the environmental education to your next group gathering! Greenish Neighbor has simple messaging with a big impact that can be catered to all ages. Kids learn about the landfill and how to approach the 3Rs. We also offer fun indoor and outdoor games, or we can show kids how to execute a ZERO-WASTE to the landfill picnic or party.
(All ages and mixed age groups)