#bioPGH Blog: A Biophilic Friday
Nov 25

#bioPGH Blog: A Biophilic Friday

By Dr. Maria Wheeler-Dubas, Research and Science Education Outreach Manager

Biophilia NetworkA resource of Biophilia: Pittsburgh, #bioPGH is a weekly blog and social media series that aims to encourage both children and adults to reconnect with nature and enjoy what each of our distinctive seasons has to offer. 

Subscribe to Posts Via Email


A love of living things, the innate human connection to nature

While the turkey and mashed potatoes are still digesting, some of us have a wild day ahead of shopping and bustling on Black Friday. One might wonder, though, do we really need more…stuff? Perhaps the best holiday gift we can share with loved ones is an opportunity for togetherness. And what better way to spend time together than in the beauty of nature? So if you’re thinking about changing up your Black Friday routine, here are five nature-themed activities you can do instead of shopping. Let’s make it a Biophilic Friday!

State Parks
Our state parks are a wonderful resource for spending time outdoors, and we have multiple parks within an easy drive from Pittsburgh. Moraine State Park, McConnells Mill State Park, and Laurel Hill State Park are all great places for spending a day outdoors. For a change in scenery, Presque Isle State Park is a little further of a drive, but it feels like going to a beach! (And it is! Just a freshwater one.) If you would like to join in an established activity rather than worrying about planning the day, Laurel Hill State Park has an OPT Outside Hike from 11 am to 1 pm.

County Parks
North Park, South Park, Boyce Park, Deer Lakes—no matter where you are in Allegheny County, there is a county park not far away, and some have some activities scheduled for November 26, like the “Turkey Burner” workout class and guided hikes. There are also plenty of games you can play on your own hike to mix things up a bit –like Trail Bingo (it’s like Bingo, but your options are different things you might find on hike), make a nature-themed scavenger hunt, try out iNaturalist and document the new organisms you find. Or, if you’re ready to feel a North Pole glow, both of North and South Park ice skating rinks are open for the season.

Schenley Park
Schenley may be an urban park, but as soon as you step onto its trails, you would never realize that you’re surrounded by the city. Keep your eyes open for little hidden gems—a red-tailed hawk’s nest high in the support beams of the Panther Hollow Bridge or maybe the eastern screech owl that has been spotted near the sports complex!

Biking Day
Don’t let the cooler weather stop you—Pittsburgh has the perfect bike trail for any level of biking, from training wheels and balance bikes to off-road cyclists. If you’re uncomfortable with road cycling, check out the BikePGH website. They have helpful maps and tips for biking around Pittsburgh, and you can easily map out a route that includes trails the entire way.

Be an Indoor Friend to Nature
If the weather is too wet and dreary for outdoor activities, there are plenty of things you can do indoors as a family to help the outdoor world! The Audubon Society has some great suggestions for making your own suet or birds feeders out of recycled material, or you could plan ahead and start designing your pollinator-friendly garden for the spring. Alternatively, if you’re feeling extra creative and adventurous, work together as a family to produce an informative mini film on an outdoor or environmental topic, and encourage the kids to do the research and write the script! Create graphics either classically with markers and paper or with free graphic design tools on the web, and simply film it with your smart phone. It can be an exciting and novel way to get the whole family involved in a science-based arts project!

In the end, however you spend your Friday, we know we have the beautiful outdoors to be thankful for, and I hope you have the chance to explore nature sometime in the near future. And on behalf of Phipps Conservatory, have a safe and Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Continuing the Conversation: Share your nature discoveries with our community by posting to Twitter and Instagram with hashtag #bioPGH, and R.S.V.P. to attend our next Biophilia: Pittsburgh meeting.

Images: Pexels, CC0