Learn how to make a fire, forage for your lunch in Central Park and scale Shit Rock and Worthless Boulder during OutdoorFest, a week of more than 50 events across the city between May 27 and June 7. We’ve gathered a short list of some of the activities below. Join in, and you can pretend you’re Reese Witherspoon in Wild, except showered, and with an apartment to go home to when all the outdoorsiness gets old.
- Regina Baker of Backroads & Pinetrees will host a mixed road and trail run through Park Slope to Prospect Park. If you can keep up with Baker then you’ll get some bonus tips and ideas for the best areas for trail running, but if not that’s OK—all paces are welcome. Sunday, May 31 at 4 p.m.
- We don’t normally think of Central Park as a rock climbing destination, but apparently Shit Rock and Worthless Boulder have totally scalable mini rock faces (who knew)? Test your climbing skills no matter your skill level, just be sure to sign up for the proper time. May 30, 10:a.m.
- Everyone knows one of the main motivations for climbing to that highest peak is to get the best, most Instagram-worthy selfie from the top. Yuxi Liu wants you to turn that phone around and stop being so self involved, dammit—after all, there’s probably some other people hoofing it right along with you, so Liu will talk you how to capture the human element. She’s all about “expressing the larger experiences through portraiture,” which sounds fancy, but don’t worry; the class focuses on using smartphones, no expensive cameras necessary. June 1, 7 p.m.
- Wildman Steve Brill was arrested in Central Park in 1986 just for eating a dandelion; fortunately law enforcement has loosened up a little bit since, and naturalist and environmental educator is free to teach his classes on how to find edible plants in urban spaces. Be ready for some hardcore foraging, because we get the sense he’s not messing around based on this description off the website: “Everyone should bring plastic bags for veggies and herbs and paper bags, in case we find mushrooms, which spoil in plastic, and enough drinking water so no one gets dehydrated. Everyone should wear appropriate clothing, including closed shoes. Digging implements for roots are optional, and there’s no smoking or vaping at any time.” Happy hunting! June 1, 6:15 p.m.
- Play with fire in Prospect Park! Just don’t burn down your newly built shelter (made from natural materials, of course) or set your map ablaze, because you’ll need that for practicing compass and land navigation skills. Also learn the psychology of survival, including task prioritization, risk evaluation, needs assessment, using all available resources creatively & effective decision making under pressure. June 3, 6:30 p.m.
Advance registration is required, and tickets range from free to $55.