Contact: Jacqueline Carlisle, College of Agriculture, Environment and Nutrition Science
The annual Festival in the Forest held on Saturday, Sept. 14 celebrated National Public Lands Day while highlighting the natural resources and cultural diversity found in the Tuskegee National Forest. The event, held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the forest’s Taska Recreation Area in Tuskegee, represents a partnership between the USDA Forest Service, Tuskegee University’s College of Agriculture, Environmental and Nutrition Sciences, and the university’s Cooperative Extension Program.
The annual festival emphasizes the cultural and biological diversity of the surrounding area, as well as the importance of public lands. Events throughout the day gave volunteers and participants a way to connect to the great outdoors through service-related activities, educational children’s games and informational programs and content for adults.
According to Tuskegee District Ranger Darrius Truss, the Festival in the Forest is a national event that promotes environmental stewardship.
“This is a great time to bring the family out to picnic at Taska or learn the importance of natural resources while walking a trail and to celebrate the natural resources we have in our backyard.” Truss said.
This year’s theme was “Connecting to Nature through Service.” Several organization and university students worked together to promote the festival. At the festival, educational signage informed visitors about facts like the vegetation found within the forest, how to protect the forest by not removing debris, and how determine the lifespan of a tree.”
“This event is a success because of all of you being here to celebrate public lands,” Dr. Rashidah H. Farid, a wildlife ecologist at Tuskegee, told event participants. “Thanks for being at the smallest forest in the country and enjoying the tremendous resources it has to offer.”
Activities also included face painting, a cultural exhibit with clothes and a parade, a bird feeder craft station, bounce houses, and physical exercises such as line dancing and hula hoops.
Other partners included the Tuskegee National Park Service, Macon County 4-H, and the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
© 2019, Tuskegee University