Grownup green fun in the sun (and at sundown)

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June 30, 2019 - 2:36 pm

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Longer daylight hours and balmy evenings are an attractive invitation to stay outside, whether you putter around in your yard or deck garden after work or get the gang together to hang out at an outdoor venue.

¿Porque no los dos? You can go green while cultivating that blooming social life and benefit some planet-friendly nonprofits at the same time. 

You could learn a thing or two (or three or 40!) about urban gardening at one of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society's Pop-Up Gardens. They have a wheelbarrow full of events to let you and the family enjoy the evening and play in the dirt.

The proceeds from these two workshops benefit Urbanstead, a nonprofit that uses urban farming to grow not just plants and produce, but job skills for Philly teens. They gain career, emotional and soft skill experiences while teaching the community about the value of growing our own veggies and herbs. 

Grab a nosh and a libation from the bar and settle in for a class in Growing Microgreens & Sprouts at the UCity Square PHS pop-up July 16. Teeny weeny greens to top a salad or sandwich or blend into a smoothie from your windowsill! Of course you want to do this. 

No carbon footprint from shipping exotic herbs and spices from a far-flung mountainside: July 23 you can go back and learn to make Herbal Tinctures & Extracts from the herbs you grow in plots or pots. Magic potions all around, locally-sourced.

More usefulness from your herb garden! Stroll the Lutheran Settlement House Garden the evening of July 11 and identify medicinal herbs, how to harvest them and whip up a batch of your own signature herbal tea blend to take home. 

The downside of long summer evenings is sharing them with biting bugs. Instead of slathering up with a witches brew of chemicals, learn how to make your own non-toxic herbal insect repellent at Greensgrow Farms July 18.

Slap on some of that bug-spurning goodness and head to the John Heinz Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum. In addition to guided weekend hikes and walks, the refuge holds free weeknight evening activities for all ages to enjoy amid the natural splendor of its plants, wildlife and their habitats. 

Nature 101 most Thursday evenings is aimed at "nature novices." Try kayaking, archery, smartphone photography, fishing, hiking for health, and watching wildlife (even from the comfort of a shuttle bus - hey, whatever it takes to get folks to explore closer to nature).
Friday, July 26th, bring a blanket or chair for the 8 p.m. screening of "A Bug's Life" at the refuge's McCreesh Playground. Your Heinz hosts will provide the popcorn.

Bikes and Beers rides promote biking "as a safe, comfortable, and smart choice for transportation and recreation." Choose a route (15, 30 or 45 miles) and finish at the brewery for a celebratory after-party of food, suds, live band and a brewery tour. Are you in?  

Part of the fee benefits a local cycling charity to improve policies, laws, and infrastructure for cycling. The next is hosted by Victory Brewing Company in Parkesburg on July 13.

If that's not enough reason to get your wheels tuned up, Philly Free Streets returns Aug. 3. From 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. 

North Broad Street from City Hall to Butler Street and Germantown Ave, a four-mile stretch of road, will be temporarily closed to cars. Walk, bike, and play in the middle of the street! 

If you'd like to include some straight-up activism in your staycation, the New Jersey Sierra Club, Delaware Riverkeeper Network, and Empower NJ Coalition are holding a community public meeting at the Greenwich Township Public Library in Swedesboro the evening of July 10. 

They'll present information on the Delaware River Partners' Gibbstown Logistics Center LNG Proposal, a plan to truck in explosive Liquefied Natural Gas to the Gibbstown export facility to ship it on the Delaware River for sale overseas.

Don't mistake the party atmosphere of the SustainPHL Awards for a less serious dedication to taking care of the environment. 

Called Philly's "Green Oscars," the evening of Aug. 8 is an annual celebration for sustainability visionaries as well as unsung heroes making a difference in Philadelphia to get some recognition and explain their work. It's a party for the planet, but an informative and inspiring one. 

This is by no means an exhaustive list of eco-friendly fun, but if you're feeling exhausted by it, perhaps you might just chill out with an herb-infused iced tea or cocktail crafted from your garden and a good book. May we recommend something from the "cli-fi" genre? These are novels in which climate change is central to the plot. 

Happy July!