continued Organizers hope the festival helps boost group membership and entices new members of the community to visit the grounds. Much of the educational programming at the center is volunteer driven through the Friends of Five Rivers, who work with the small staff there.
“The big effort here is to connect families, especially those with young children, so they become aware of the outdoors and want to experience what Five Rivers has to offer,” said Jan Messina, chairwoman of the Fall Festival organizational team.
Messina said it’s important for children to begin learning about the environment at a young age so they are more likely to appreciate the planet.
“These are lessons they can carry with them throughout their life,” she said. “We only have one planet and we need to keep it as clean as possible.”
Activities held during the festival also help to raise money for the center’s new Guided School Program Building.
The building was partially funded through the Friends of Five Rivers and the family of Wendy Repass Suozzo. The building is intended to be a memorial to Suozzo, who founded the Guided School Program while working as an environmental educator with the DEC. The program is meant to teach children about the importance of respecting their environment.
Guided tours of the new building will be given. It is typically closed to the public.
To raise money for the Friends of Five Rivers organization and the Guided School Program, a plant sale, bake sale and raffle will take place at the festival.
The Fall Festival will take place from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 21, rain or shine. Parking is free and there is no admission fee, but food, drinks, gifts and other items will be on sale.