Earth Day race features green visitors’ center at Five Rivers

Team “Jenny and the Boys” — the McNay family of Glenmont — take first place in the Amazing Earth Day Race at Five Rivers.

On a beautiful April 28 evening, 15 teams participated in the third annual Amazing Earth Day Race organized by the Friends of Five Rivers at the Five Rivers Environmental Education Center in Delmar.

The race is a friendly competition developed to raise awareness of and to benefit the Friends’ environmental education programming. Teams use map skills and collaborate on completing hands-on educational activities while racing in the great outdoors at Five Rivers

The first team to complete all of the six environmental challenges in the shortest amount of time is crowned the winner. This year, the winning team was “Jenny & the Boys” — the McNay family of Glenmont.

The new Visitors Center at Five Rivers, funded by the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation, will open soon. Certified by Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, the building represents a model in environmental design and construction.

To raise awareness of this eco-friendly design, three of the six challenges in Friday’s Amazing Earth Day Race were developed to highlight green building design components being used in the new center, including the green roof, geothermal/geoexchange heating, and the use of onsite resources such as rainwater.

Two other challenges highlighted how wildlife uses energy to survive, and the sixth challenge introduced participants to the ancient and environmentally friendly “Bojagi” paperless wrapping method.

The race was co-sponsored by Red Maple Land Services, Voorheesville Animal Clinic, and Four Corners Pharmacy.

Friends of Five Rivers volunteers helping to each activity included Lynn Nugent, Elizabeth Rawlings, Mike Medvesky, Andrea Ricard, Christie MacFarlane, Ed Kautz, Heather Rutherford, Wini Eisan, Gaby Gastelum, Ale Gastelum, Henry Bievenue, and Tom Bievenue.

“We reached our 15 team maximum again this year! Next year, we may need to think about increasing the maximum or hosting a ‘family’ Race and a ‘runners’ Race,” said Nancy Conway, the coordinator of the Guided Programs at the Friends of Five Rivers and the race’s creator.

“When we arrived, the kids asked about the green roof. The challenge in the amphitheater was the perfect explanation for their question. Science and environment were nicely mixed into the clues. The first thing the kids asked is if we could do it again next year. They had a wonderful time," said Stephanie Donnaruma, Team “Wild D'Howard” captain.

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