Lend support, learn about area through outdoor events

Carol EvansGet Out & Play

Enjoying the outdoors is always a pleasure, but to me, it’s even more special when you can support a great cause, or when a group or business flips it and gives back to the community.


DreamBikes is an organization that likes to play both sides. It’s a business, but it gives disadvantaged young people job skills, and it recycles old bikes and puts them back into use. This Saturday, Oct. 19, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. DreamBikes is partnering with REI Knoxville for a Fall Bike Drive. Drop off used bikes at REI and the DreamBikes crew will take them back to the shop to refurbish and sell. Your donations of bikes and accessories are tax deductible.

Another example of giving back is the popular Pint Night concept. Little River Trading Co.’s Pints for a Purpose selects a community partner to benefit. From 5 to 8 p.m. next Thursday, Oct. 24, the beneficiary will be the Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont.

Learning is also a benefit of spending time outside. On Saturday (10/19), you can Ride with a Ranger at the Manhattan Project National Historical Park and learn about the history of the Oak Ridge area.

On Wednesday (10/23), the monthly Birding with Friends at Seven Islands State Birding Park will have a birding guide leading an early-morning hike to identify by sight and sound some of the 200 species that have been spotted at the park. Then on Saturday (10/26), the Knoxville Chapter of the Tennessee Ornithological Society will have a New Birder Bird Walk at Lakeshore Park. The session will focus on basic bird-watching skills.

On Saturday, Oct. 26, Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area will offer a solar viewing and night sky program, with sessions at 3 and 8 p.m. Paul Lewis from the University of Tennessee will teach viewers what to look for in the night sky.

Of course, sometimes it’s just fun to get outdoors. Farragut is having Freaky Friday Fright Night from 5 to 7 p.m. Oct. 25 at Mayor Bob Leonard Park. Children 12 and under who are wearing costumes can trick or treat along the walking trail, play games to win prizes, and decorate cookies. The event is free, but participants are asked to bring items to benefit the local Ronald McDonald House.

And on Oct. 26, the EZ Rider Halloween Brunch Ride at Sharp’s Ridge Veterans Memorial Park will hit a variety of trails before convening at the picnic pavilion for a brunch of French toast and eggs provided by Tennessee Valley Bikes. Fun plus yum!

Details on these and other upcoming activities are in the Outdoor Knoxville Calendar.

Carol Evans is executive director of Legacy Parks Foundation, a nonprofit devoted to ensuring that our community enjoys exceptional recreational opportunities, natural beauty and open spaces, and that those assets exist for generations to come.

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