Free event presented by Lehigh Valley Zoo & ArtsQuest includes activities & presentations by more than 25 organizations
From hiking and archery to birding and biking, the region is invited to come together and explore the outdoors at the inaugural Step Outdoors Lehigh Valley presented by Lehigh Valley Zoo May 30-31 at SteelStacks. The event, which is free to attend, will include two days filled with presentations, hands-on activities and educational experiences designed to introduce attendees to the wide variety of nature- and outdoors-related resources and organizations throughout the region.
At Step Outdoors Lehigh Valley, patrons can enjoy activities and presentations by more than 25 different organizations whose missions focus on conservation, wildlife and outdoor recreation. Just a sampling of the activities include opportunities for children to try their hand at shooting a bow, casting a fly rod, building a Toad Abode, navigating an orienteering course, donning scuba equipment and more. An urban hike on the South Bethlehem Greenway, living history presentations, and biking and birding outings are among the other attractions being planned for the event. On May 30, the day concludes with a free, family-friendly concert by GRAMMY-nominated folk-rock duo Trout Fishing in America, which will perform at 7:30 p.m. at Levitt Pavilion SteelStacks.
“Research shows that children grow up well-rounded the more they are exposed to nature,” says Lehigh Valley Zoo President & CEO Melissa Borland. “Lehigh Valley Zoo strives to bring conservation education to our communities in unique ways and being a sponsor of ArtsQuest’s new Step Outdoors event is a wonderful opportunity to continue to unleash the wonder in children.”
Opportunities for the public to view endangered peregrine falcons, urban hikes on the South Bethlehem Greenway, and birding and bike riding activities on the Delaware & Lehigh Trail along the Lehigh Canal are among the special events and activities the public can take part in during the new Step Outdoors Lehigh Valley presented by Lehigh Valley Zoo this spring at SteelStacks. The free festival, which debuts May 30-31, will feature more than 25 different wildlife, conservation and outdoors-focused organizations offering a variety of hand-on activities, presentations and educational experiences for families.
On May 31, 11 a.m., Pennsylvania Game Commission Peregrine Falcon Coordinator Arthur McMorris will offer a free presentation on Peregrine Falcons at the ArtsQuest Center, then lead two small groups on a 10-minute walk to Sands Bethlehem to see-first hand one of the two confirmed nesting pairs of peregrines in the Lehigh Valley. This is a rare opportunity to view these birds – still listed as endangered in the Commonwealth. Advance registration is requested, as group size is limited to 25 people, and it’s recommended that participants bring their own binoculars for the best viewing experience.
One of the highlights of Step Outdoors Lehigh Valley will be the opportunity for children and their families to get up close and personal with a variety of animals and wildlife during presentations in the ArtsQuest Center’s Frank Banko Alehouse Cinemas. On both days, the Lehigh Valley Zoo will offer presentations featuring its live education animals including amphibians and reptiles from the Zoo’s new Reptile & Amphibian Discovery Center opening April 11. Hawk Mountain, the Berks County-based sanctuary dedicated to protecting birds of prey, will also offer a presentation on Raptors of Pennsylvania on May 30.
“From the Appalachian Trail and the Blue Mountain, to the high-quality parks and streams located in our cities’ downtowns, the Lehigh Valley has some amazing natural and outdoor resources just waiting for people to explore,” says ArtsQuest President & CEO Kassie Hilgert. “There are so many groups in our region that are dedicated to wildlife conservation, preserving open space and promoting outdoor recreation, and we’re excited to be working with many of them at this new, free event for all ages.”
Families looking for a unique experience that ties art to the outdoors will want to check out the Make Your Own Glass Birdfeeder sessions on both days of the event. During these hands-on sessions, the artisans of ArtsQuest’s Glass Studio at the Banana Factory arts center will work with individuals ages 6 and older to create their very own birdfeeders. Cost is $45 and participants are encouraged to sign up in advance at www.steelstacks.org/stepoutdoors since space is limited.
Cooking with Insects Culinary Presentation Added to SteelStacks ‘Step Outdoors’ Festival May 31
‘Yum! Bugs!’ Offers Public Chance to Sample Dishes Made with Crickets and Mealworms
They may be creepy and crawly, but they’re also quite tasty!
On May 31 guests are invited to join ArtsQuest Center Executive Chef Michael Hoffman as he presents “Yum! Bugs! – Cooking with Insects,” a cooking demonstration and sampling featuring dishes made with insects. The presentation, which is free, will take place at 1 p.m. on the TD Community Stage of the Air Products Town Square.
During Yum! Bugs!, Hoffman will prepare two dishes – barbequed crickets and salt and pepper mealworms – while talking about the growing popularity of using insects in creative cuisine. Following his demonstration, Hoffman will share the recipes for each dish and the audience will have the opportunity to sample both creations.
“While the idea of eating bugs may not appeal to everyone, insects are actually very nutritious and an excellent source of protein,” says Hoffman. “Entomophagy, consuming insects for food, has long been popular in other parts of the world, and now it’s starting to catch on here as well.”
A resident of Saylorsburg, Hoffman has been with Aramark Culinary Team at the ArtsQuest Center since 2013. Over the years, he has had several opportunities to cook with insects including while as a cook in the U.S. Marine Corps and during the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival at Walt Disney World.
Organizations confirmed to participate in Step Outdoors Lehigh Valley so far include:
Appalachian Mountain Club
City of Bethlehem Parks & Recreation
Cutters Bike Shop
Da Vinci Science Center
Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor
Delaware River Shad Fishermen’s Association
Delaware Valley Orienteering Association
Discover Lehigh Valley
Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites
Girl Scouts of Eastern Pennsylvania
Jacobsburg Environmental Education Center
Jacobsburg Historical Society
Keystone Elk Country Alliance
Lehigh River Stocking Association
Lehigh Valley Audubon Society
Lehigh Valley Zoo
National Wild Turkey Federation
Northampton Community College
Northampton County Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs
Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission
Pennsylvania Game Commission
Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
Ruffed Grouse Society – Lehigh Valley Chapter
Sierra Club Lehigh Valley
United Bowhunters of Pennsylvania
Step Outdoors Lehigh Valley is supported by Lehigh Valley Zoo, in association with Cabela’s. Festival hours are 10-a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday. Complete details on the event will be announced in the coming weeks. For more information, visit www.steelstacks.org/stepoutdoors.