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Sept. 14 ‘Festival in the Forest’ celebrated natural resources, partnerships

September 26, 2019

Contact: Jacqueline Carlisle, College of Agriculture, Environment and Nutrition Science

Learning about hides
Daniel Sullens with the Alabama 4-H talks with freshman animal
science major Courtney Stanback about the area’s native animals.

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.

Making bird feeders
Sharon Samuel helps Ahniyh and Ahmauri McNealy
make bird feeders out of peanut butter and bird seeds.

Learning cultural lessons
Diaspora Creation partner with the Tuskegee National
Forest in showing how to wear traditional headdress.

Kids enjoying face painting
Myles Fagbodun gets his face painted by animal science
major Diandre White Jr., his brother Olalekan watches.

Learning about green things
University employee Beverly Green and granddaughter
read the many signs about the vegetation in the forest

Playing with hula hoops
Tuskegee University students hula hoop while
attending the Festival in the Forest

Having fun line dancing
Students participated in line dancing.​

City and County Officials enjoying the festival
Some of the local officials at the Annual Festival in the
Forest - (left to right) Tuskegee Mayor Tony Haygood;
Tuskegee University wildlife ecologist Dr. Rashidah
H. Farid; College of Agriculture, Environment and
Nutrition Science Dean Dr. Walter Hill; Tuskegee
National Forest District Ranger Darrius Truss; Macon
County Commission Chairman Louis Maxwell; original
Tuskegee Airman Antoinette Frederick; and Rodney Stone,
1890 Program Liaison for the USDA’s Office of
Partnership and Public Engagement


© 2019, Tuskegee University