With summer around the corner, Pinelands Adventures in Shamong encourages residents to get outside this summer with educational programs and self-guided tours throughout the month.
“Every week, we’re doing a different theme,” said assistant director of Pinelands Adventure Allison Hartman.
Theme weeks in May include Mardi Gras vs. Cinco de Mayo, “wacky” hats to celebrate the Kentucky Derby, time travel where residents will wear attire based on a favorite decade and a Memorial Day celebration.
Hartman noted participants will wear yellow to support fallen veterans and participate in a letter writing activity for the non-profit organization, A Million Thanks. Founded in 2004, A Million Thanks collects and distributes millions of letters of thanks and support and sends them directly to active, reserve and veteran military.
The Pinelands Adventures season began in April and continues until Halloween. The outdoor recreation program fosters public understanding of and devotion to the Pinelands and is an initiative of the Pinelands Preservation Alliance, whose mission is to preserve the Pine Barrens ecosystem, promote wide public engagement and advance acquisition of land and development rights by private and public conservation agencies.
The sustainable and chemical-free Rancocas Creek Farm is also an initiative of the alliance. The farm is a 72-acre farm at the offices of the alliance in Southampton. Pinelands Preservation Alliance bought Pinelands Adventures in 2015, which was known before as Adam’s Canoe from the 1970s.
The non-profit has education and outreach programs that explain the Pine Barrens’ ecosystem, including classroom presentations, river and forest explorations and educators who create curriculums for students at local parks. Its history and culture tours feature a hands-on opportunity to learn more about local artifacts with visits to Atsion Village; the Quoexin Cranberry Company; and the Wading River, which shows what life was like in the Pine Barrens in the 1800s.
Guided trips and lessons scheduled for hikes, tours and special paddling instruction with guides and naturalists are offered for beginner and experienced learners.
“It’s really a unique experience paddling in the wilderness of the Pine Barrens here,” Hartman noted. ‘’There’s not many places like this.”
Tour activities are open for residents 6 and up, with different age recommendations based on subject matter.
Pinelands Adventure is open Friday to Monday 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information visit pinelandsadventures.org