Saturday is Kids to Parks Day, and Chapel Hill will be celebrating with events from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Chapel Hill Community Center Park. The event aims to connect both kids and families to the outdoors.
The Chapel Hill celebration includes a "fairy house" contest, in which members of the community present miniature homes made of recycled materials. Two workshops were held earlier this month to build excitement for the competition.
Several tables will be set up around the park for artistic and educational activities, including a station for children to make paper flowers and a place for visitors to make "seed bombs," little clusters of wildflower seeds aimed at growing more foliage for pollinators. A nature-based scavenger hunt will be available for children to participate in as well.
Sammy Bauer, the Community Education Coordinator in the Chapel Hill Stormwater Management division, is hosting a program called “The Magic in Our Streams,” to teach about insects living in and around local water sources.
“There are so many really cool non-human neighbors who live in our streams, and who really rely on safe and non-polluted waters in order to survive,” Bauer said. “A lot of them tell us a lot about how healthy and safe our streams are.”
The activity centers on pollution-sensitive caddis fly larvae, which make shelters out of the things immediately surrounding them. Participating children will do the same, making mock houses out of recycled materials strewn across a table.
Bauer said having events like Kids to Parks Day helps to improve the prospects of Chapel Hill’s local environment for the future.
“Carving out space for kids and their families to be outside and to explore, it helps today, tomorrow and ten years from now,” Bauer said. “If we want people of all ages to make behavior changes that protect our local waterways or our local green spaces, they have to care about it first. They have to feel connected to it first.”
UNC student Sarah Montague’s internship with the Chapel Hill Stormwater Management division only began on Tuesday, but she said she has been working to prepare for and participate in Saturday’s festivities.