BETHLEHEM — On the evening of Friday, April 28, 15 teams participated in the third annual Amazing Earth Day Race organized by the Friends of Five Rivers at the Five Rivers Environmental Education Center. A friendly competition, the multigenerational, family-friendly event was developed to raise both awareness and funds to benefit the Friends’ environmental education programming.
Teams used map skills and collaborated to complete hands-on educational activities while racing in the great outdoors at Five Rivers. The first team to complete all six environmental challenges in the shortest amount of time was crowned the winner. This year, the winning team was “Jenny & the Boys” – the McNay family of Glenmont.
The new LEED-certified Visitors Center at Five Rivers, funded by the state Department of Environmental Conservation, which will be opening soon, represents a model in environmental design and construction. To raise awareness of this eco-friendly design, three of the six challenges in this year’s Amazing Earth Day Race were developed to highlight green building design components used in the new center, including its green roof, geothermal/geoexchange heating, and the use of onsite resources such as rainwater. Two other challenges highlighted how wildlife use energy to survive, while the sixth challenge introduced participants to the ancient and environmentally friendly ‘Bojagi’ paper wrapping method.
The race was co-sponsored with Red Maple Land Services, Voorheesville Animal Clinic, and Four Corners Pharmacy.
Friends of Five Rivers volunteers help to run each activity and encourage participants as they move through the challenges. Many thanks to this year’s volunteers, including Lynn Nugent, Elizabeth Rawlings, Mike Medvesky, Andrea Ricard, Christie MacFarlane, Ed Kautz, Heather Rutherford, Wini Eisan, Gaby Gastelum, Ale Gastelum, Henry Bievenue and Tom Bievenue.
“We reached our 15 team maximum again this year. Next year, we may need to think about increasing the maximum or hosting a ‘family race’ and a ‘runners’ race’,” said Nancy Conway, who coordinates guided programs for the Friends of Five Rivers and created the Amazing Earth Day Race.
The Friends of Five Rivers is a nonprofit membership organization supporting environmental education at the Five Rivers Environmental Education Center. More than 5,000 people participate in its programs annually.