Learn outdoor do’s and don’ts

Published 10:17 pm Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Children can join teenagers and adults for a class on the basics needed to safely enjoy Suffolk’s vibrant trails and outdoor sights.

Suffolk Parks & Recreation is accepting registrations for a wilderness education demonstration from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Feb. 17 at Sleepy Hole Park. Outdoor Recreation Program Specialist Christian Prohaska will teach outdoor skills that families and individuals can use during their future adventures.

“You can just come out and learn some of the basic skills, and then the next time you go camping or hiking with your family, you can interact with nature appropriately,” Prohaska said.

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Participants will learn to build different styles of campfires, like “log cabin” and “lean to.”

They’ll learn how to keep food away from wildlife, especially in the winter when food is scarce and animals are brazen, Prohaska said. Bear bags are useful for safekeeping in these circumstances.

They will practice making shelters for themselves and understand which wild berries and other woodland edibles are safe for consumption. Prohaska will also explain common mistakes like wearing too many layers for a winter rendezvous.

“You don’t want to sweat a lot because that will make you colder, so you take layers off when you feel warmer,” he said.

Navigation lessons will be taught with compasses and map reading. Each registrant will also receive a cheat sheet that highlights the day’s lessons.

The program is inspired by community requests to engage children that didn’t participate in Boy Scouts or otherwise spend enough time outdoors. Prohaska will explain “Leave No Trace” practices that help preserve trails and campsites for others to enjoy.

The principles teach “how to leave only footprints and how to preserve nature so that everybody in the past, present and future can enjoy what we’re seeing today,” he said.

Pre-registration is required, and tickets are $5 per person. Contact Prohaska at 514-7281 or email cprohaska@suffolkva.us for more information.