Seven Ways to Finish Your Summer Off Right

July is over halfway over, meaning there’s less than one month before school starts again and the memories of late nights and lake days will be simply that — memories.

We did the hard work of finding ways to finish the summer off perfectly. These opportunities will inspire more time in nature, and hopefully a more intimate love of the Truckee River and its benefits.

Start checking off your bucket list today!

1. Build a Trail

We hike enough of the trails in our area, but have you ever thought about building one? Talk about a gift that keeps on giving. There are plenty of local groups that could use a pair of eager hands when it comes to combing through natural landscapes.

Give it a go at the July 27th Basic Trail Building Training, put on by the Tahoe Area Mountain Biking Association (TAMBA).

Information: Saturday, July 27, 2019 @ Sky Tavern Ski Area

Have you ever wondered how trails get built? Or have you attended volunteer trail days and would like a better understanding of building techniques? This training will provide the basics of how trails get approved, designed, and constructed. It will include an introduction to different trail building tools and hands-on experience building new single track optimized for mountain bikes.  

This training will be instructed by Kevin Joell who has over 25 years of trail building experience, formerly serving as President and Trails Director of TAMBA. He is currently building trails, bridges, and bike parks professionally through Sierra Trail Works.  

TIMES: 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Classroom session in the morning, hands-on trail building in the afternoon.

PLACE: Location will be at Sky Tavern Ski Area, 21130 Mount Rose Hwy, Reno, NV

BRING: You may want a pen and notepad to take notes during the classroom session. Lunch will be provided by TAMBA. During the afternoon session, we will be hiking and working in forested terrain. Please wear sturdy footwear, long sleeves, and long pants. Bring work gloves, drinking water, sunscreen, and snacks.


REGISTER:  Email Scott Brown at or sign-up at: or

2. Stay Cool with Nighttime Vibes

Too hot during the day? We don’t disagree…. Good thing the Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) is offering a free twilight trail walk at Oxbow Nature Study Area! This’ll be the last Oxbow After Dark! for a while, so make sure you swing by on July 31 at 7:30 p.m.

NDOW will present on some of northwestern Nevada’s nocturnal species before heading out at sunset to search for these critters of the night!

Please make sure to register at the link below:

3. Picture Perfect

Nevada sure is pretty. We’ll never say no to looking at picture of its wild lands.

On Wednesday, July 24, from 6-7 p.m., photographer and intrepid volunteer Jeff Lock will join Friends of Nevada Wilderness for a photographic presentation of his work in Nevada’s wild public lands. Join the fun and learn tips and tricks of the trade in outdoor photography and wild lands engagement!

This project was made possible in part by funding from Nevada Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts, and Nevada Humanities and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

4. Nature Journaling

Are your children home schooled? The Wilbur D. May Center has an event just for them! Nature Explorers: Nature Journaling for Home Schoolers!

Welcome local home school children and parents to a new experimental Arboretum program! Join our educator, Katie, for guided outdoor explorations to learn more about the natural world, get better at drawing, and/or just spend time outside with your family. Two opportunities are available: July 23 at 9:30 a.m. or August 6 at 9:30 a.m.

What is nature journaling? Nature journaling is an activity for all ages where one spends time sketching & writing about the things that they experience outdoors. This activity does NOT depend on artistic skill, and instead is a pursuit of observation rather than of drawing mastery. Nature journaling is a valuable educational tool for children and adults alike to ask more questions about nature, and in turn develop a mindset more comfortable with scientific inquiry. Getting better at drawing is just a natural side effect of drawing a lot!

Session topics are inspired by Next Generation Science Standards, Nevada Visual Arts Standards, and the California Native Plant Society’s Nature Journaling curriculum. Our “Nature Explorer” sessions will be 1-1.5 hours long and, generally, include a short hike, a guided activity, and free journaling time.

Drawing supplies (pencils, colored pencils, erasers) are provided. Feel free to bring additional supplies as you please.

Journals must be supplied by the parent(s). Please bring a journal that your child feels comfortable carrying themselves.

Parents are also encouraged to bring a journal themselves and draw alongside their child. Don’t worry if you don’t think you’re good at drawing — it’s not about making pretty pictures, it’s about observation!

All of our Nature Explorer sessions will be free and open to anyone in the Reno-Tahoe area who home schools. However, we have limited art supplies and volunteer helpers, so registration in advance is greatly appreciated!

Please register by calling our educator at 775-785-4153, or emailing her at

The Arboretum Educator also notes that many of our planned activities would be best suited for children over 8 years old.

Well-behaved teenagers are welcome to attend without an immediately accompanying parent if they wish, but a parent must be located on the Rancho San Raphael campus during the program, in case of any emergency.

Meeting place: Arboretum Office!

5. Going Batty!

Learn about local bats that like to hang out under bridges and other spaces with the Nevada Department of Wildlife! NDOW will be leading guided tours on July 27 from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Cottonwood Park (777 Spice Island Drive Sparks, NV 89431) AND on August 10 from 8 – 9:30 p.m. at Oxbow Nature Study Area.

6. Gather ‘Round the Campfire

What’s better than summertime campfires? Not a whole lot, to be honest. Washoe County Open Sparks is taking advantage of Friday nights weekly through August 2nd to celebrate family time!

Each week will feature a different presenter for kids of all ages to enjoy! Make sure you and yours arrive by 8 p.m. for s’mores courtesy the Whitney Peak Hotel in downtown Reno! You can even picnic before the fires are lit with your fam.

Eagle Meadow is located inside the north entrance to Galena Creek Regional Park at 18250 Mt. Rose Highway (Galena Creek Visitor Center entrance). The programs are free, but a $4/person donation is requested to help us fund the program. For more information, please visit, or call Park Ranger Andy Brown at 775.849.2511

7. Star Light, Star Bright

Space is ~real cool~. Now’s your chance to stare up at it alongside some experts with the Northern Nevada Astronomy Group’s Star Party.

The astronomy group will have telescopes available for viewing the night sky, plus a short slide presentation as the sky gets dark enough to use the telescopes. Attendees should bring a jacket, red light if possible, and a lawn chair.

WHEN: Saturday, August 3, 2019, 8 p.m. – 11 p.m.
WHERE: Washoe Lake State Park Maze Parking Lot. Take Exit 44 from I-580 and drive north on Eastlake Boulevard for approximately four miles. The park entrance will be on the left. Turn left past the fee booth and it’s the first parking lot on the right.
WHO: This event is open to the public and is sponsored by the Northern Nevada Astronomy Group
COST: The park entrance fee is $5 per vehicle. Cash/credit/check all work