Mount Ararat Community Activity Center takes on GASP!

By: La’Nell Pennington, Trip Leader SpecialistGASP

Last October, youth group members at Mount Ararat Community Activity Center in East Liberty participated in an after-school workshop with Pittsburgh’s own Group Against Smog and Pollution. (GASP).

What is air pollution? We started out by asking the children if they knew what air pollution was. All the kids raised their hands excited to give answers. After a short hike to the Larimer Community Garden, we took turns giving examples of different types of air pollution and where it comes from. The children identified pollution sources such as cars, school buses, and garbage trucks. Emily Persico, our wonderful host from GASP discussed with the youth the dangers of air pollution to people as well as nature.

Air pollution affects the ability of people to breathe so we talked about asthma. Currently there are over six million people with asthma under the age of 18. We asked the youth how many participants had asthma or knew of someone with it. Emily asked if the children would like to feel what it was like to have asthma.

We did a simulation activity with regular sized straws and a coffee stirring straw. To begin the simulation, we gaveStraw Breathing them 10 minutes of free play.  The children ran around until they felt that they were short of breath.. We noticed when they began to breathe a little heavier. so we called them over to use the regular straws first. They breathed air through the straws to see if it was difficult to do. They all laughed and said that it was not hard to breathe. So, we let then run again for another 10 minutes. This time, we gave them the coffee stirrers, straws that are smaller and more narrow than regular sized straws. The kids couldn’t believe how hard it was to try and get air through the little straw. They instantly stopped using them and stated how frustrating it would be to have asthma.

Emily then discussed why it is important to try and stop air pollution. To further our investigation of air pollution, we went on a quick walk around the block to look for different types of lichen that grow on trees. The children were given magnifying glasses to examine the lichen closely. When there is a lot of air pollution present, specific types of lichen will not grow on the trees. We also used a Dylos machine to track the levels of air pollution as we walked. The higher the numbers on the machine, the more the air is polluted. As we walked around the block the numbers jumped around a lot. We were able to see the difference in numbers when a car or school bus went past. Overall, I think the children loved the experience.. When the hike was over and we returned to the after-school center, the children shared one thing they learned from the activity and how they can help decrease air pollution in their community.Tree Inspection

Youth from the following after-school centers have also had the opportunity to learn from this lesson, thanks to GASP: the Brashear Association in Allentown and Providence Connections Family Support Center in Brighton Heights.

 

Posted in Outing Recaps

OUTDOOR News

  • Restorative Practices in an Outdoor Setting

    April 24, 2018

    By: Beth Zabiegalski   

    As an organization, Venture Outdoors does some really awesome and exciting things with local youth in after-school and summer programs, getting them outside for the first time or teaching them something new to do in nature. Most of our outings are a couple hours or less, but when we build meaningful relationships with our students, we create formative outdoor experiences with memories that last more than just that afternoon. 

    Last month, I had the opportunity to attend a two-day Restorative Practices Training through Venture Outdoors’ partnership with Pittsburgh Public Schools. I’ll admit I had next to no idea what to expect,

     » Read more about: Restorative Practices in an Outdoor Setting  »

  • Spring Inside

    April 17, 2018

    A Day a Phipps 
    By: Sara Cardamone 

    Now that Spring is finally here, so is the rain! In Pittsburgh, sometimes it can be hard to find ways to be in nature when it is rainy and muddy. However, there are tons of fun alternatives if you look hard enough! Since I’m a student at Pitt, I pass Phipps Conservatory all the time but I always felt like I never had enough time to stop in. Fast forward to now, the first big rainy day of Spring was upon us and I was struggling to find a calming activity to take my mind off of school and then it hit me.

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  • My Mirror is the Outdoors

    April 10, 2018

    By Stephanie Capilongo

    “Go Outside… amidst the simple beauty of nature… and know that as long as places like this exist, there will be comfort for every sorrow, whatever the circumstances may be.” -Anne Frank.

    The outdoors, it appears, is complicated. But it’s not. It can free your mind and give you a new appreciation for beauty. It brings things and people together, whether it’s your best friend, significant other or your cat. The people you go with mean everything. And no matter who you are or what you do, you can find joy.

     » Read more about: My Mirror is the Outdoors  »

  • When Youth Find their Voices

    April 3, 2018

    By: Lo Hutelmyer, Ryan Singleton and Ty’Shay Thorton

    To an educator, few things are more rewarding than witnessing a student discover his or her own passion. More rewarding still is when they show their first glimpses of leadership by taking charge to teach others about their passion.

    For those of you who may know me, it’s sometimes a challenge for me to stay quiet. But when I had the opportunity to watch Ty’Shay and Ryan present at last month’s conference, I was speechless. Ty’Shay and Ryan, 7th graders from Manchester Academic Charter School, have been participating regularly on Venture Outdoors trips for two years.

     » Read more about: When Youth Find their Voices  »

  • Mount Ararat Community Activity Center takes on GASP!

    March 27, 2018

    By: La’Nell Pennington, Trip Leader SpecialistGASP

    Last October, youth group members at Mount Ararat Community Activity Center in East Liberty participated in an after-school workshop with Pittsburgh’s own Group Against Smog and Pollution. (GASP).

    What is air pollution? We started out by asking the children if they knew what air pollution was. All the kids raised their hands excited to give answers. After a short hike to the Larimer Community Garden, we took turns giving examples of different types of air pollution and where it comes from. The children identified pollution sources such as cars,

     » Read more about: Mount Ararat Community Activity Center takes on GASP!  »

Kayak Pittsburgh

Sunset Paddle

Thank you for another great season!
We’ll see you on the water in 2018!

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Featured Outing

Geocaching - CD

Cultural District Geocaching
Thursday, April 26
6:30 – 8:30 PM

Join us for a fun intro to the world of geocaching in the Cultural District. We will learn the basics of using a GPS (Global Positioning System) device to navigate between waypoints throughout downtown.

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