Why Venture Outdoors?

By: Jacob Tumminello

For many of us, the most time we spend outdoors comes from transitioning between cars and buildings, if that even counts.  As we continue to develop new technological advancements to make our lives easier, we have slowly begun to remove ourselves from the outdoor environment to shift towards safer and less demanding settings. 

We as a species are less challenged to obtain food which is now carried by large machines to our destinations, and we spend most of our time sitting or sedentary.  Millions of people are damaging their eyes and backs sitting in front of computer screens for hours each day, and some individuals spend little to no time outdoors.  

 Although the removal from our once hostile environments has many advantages, it has also created problems for individuals who struggle to maintain a proper balance of outdoor exposure and indoor refuge.  Many health and social science specialists have taken a closer look at the disconnect between modern societies and the outdoors.   

From cultivating creative inspiration to increasing your physical health, here are five reasons to Venture Outdoors.   

Physical Health 

There are many ways simple exposure to the outdoors can benefit your physical health.  Warm rays of sun provide your body with Vitamin D, an essential nutrient for stabilizing mood.  The oxygen outdoors can be much purer than the air inside your home which, despite your best efforts, can still be filled with dust and dirt particles.  In combination with the sun and clean air, walking the streets or hiking trails is a very moderate form of exercise which provides cardiovascular support as well improving leg muscles.  


Mental Health 

Everyone has a method for clearing their heads on a stressful day, but one method proven to work universally is outdoor exposure.  Along with your physical health, your mental health can also be directly affected by the elements.  A break from the monotony of the indoors reminds us of our childhoods relieving stress and boosting our mood.  Many people make use of the natural environment’s ability to soothe the senses.  The sound of water falling creates a blissful ambiance.  The scent of warm, damp earth reminds us the exciting summer months approach, and few people can witness a shooting star without marveling at the mysterious wonder. 


Social Exposure 

With people spending more and more time online, it can be easy – especially for younger generations – to develop poor communication habits from lack of face-to-face interactions.  For children, much of this development takes place outdoors.  Becoming familiar with community builds a sense of trust with others and leads to strong relationships.  Though the internet provides an adequate social forum, face-to-face interaction is a completely different form of communication.   


Return to Center 

Regardless of your spiritual beliefs, there is much evidence to suggest that human beings once rose from the very waters we now pollute.  Since this is evident in the positive interaction between body and earth, we can begin to understand how essential outdoor exposure truly relates to humanity. 

The molecules that make up our bodies are the same that make up our environment.  The water in our bodies is the same as the streams, the iron in our blood the same as the stone, and oxygen in our lungs the same as in the sky.  While our efforts as a society take us farther from the outdoors, finding balance reminds us of our “roots”. 


A Creative Advantage 

Sometimes the greatest cure for writer’s block is a break from the monotony which – in this case -happens to be staying indoors for too long.  Sprawling landscapes, endless horizons, and the mysterious sounds of wildlife can often stimulate creative inspiration which cannot be found within the confines of rooms and buildings.  A simple nature walk can create feelings of nostalgia from childhood and a morning stroll can change a stressful commute to a sightseeing adventure.  Familiar surroundings can take on completely new appearances providing inspiration from once overlooked places. 


Venture Outdoors offers a variety of activities year-round activities from snowshoeing to kayaking on Pittsburgh’s rivers.  Whether venturing alone or with Venture Outdoors, the organization has something for everyone.  The Venture Outdoors team is eager to share outdoor experience, so if you find yourself seeking new and exciting ways to spend time outdoors then call or visit us at ventureoutdoors.org to start your next adventure. 




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    September 19, 2017

    By: Samantha Sektnan, Communications Intern

    Attending the “Summer Tree ID” program was a great way to start off being a part of the Venture Outdoors community. Taking an easy stroll in Frick Park as we learned tips and tricks to identify the trees around us was something I never imagined myself doing before joining this organization, but I am definitely glad I did it. As someone with literally had zero knowledge on how to identify trees, local ecologist Henry Schumacher – who led the trip – had a lot of work on his hands in order to teach me the basics..


  • Venturing Outdoors: How I Learned to Appreciate Nature by Working at Kayak Pittsburgh

    September 12, 2017

    By: Alexander Downing

    Since August 2014 I’ve worked as an attendant at Kayak Pittsburgh’s North Park location. This means I’m one of the smiling faces in the green shirts pushing boats into the water and handing out PFDs and paddles. It also means I get to look out on the beautiful North Park Lake for hours on end. As it turns out, that’s been the most memorable part of the job and the catalyst for a change in how I view nature.

    As a kid, the primary role nature played in my life was as the location for sports.

     » Read more about: Venturing Outdoors: How I Learned to Appreciate Nature by Working at Kayak Pittsburgh  »

  • Biking– It’s A Family Thing

    September 5, 2017

    By: Kenna Gubler

    To grow up in a family where everyone has the same love for the outdoors is something that can be hard to find these days. Luckily, my family loves everything that the outdoors has to offer. My parents constantly had my brothers and me outside starting at a very young age. We were first introduced to the outdoors through participating in a variety of sports that most of the other kids I knew played as well. As we got older, my brothers and I would push ourselves to try newer and more exciting things involving the outdoors.

     » Read more about: Biking– It’s A Family Thing  »

  • Meet the Fisherlady, LeeAnne Conway

    August 29, 2017

    By: Jacob Tumminello

    The 2017 summer season has been extremely successful for Venture Outdoors thanks to the help of hard working staff members, volunteers, and college interns. One of those interns who is also responsible for taking pictures and capturing memorable moments during outings is LeeAnne Conway.

    LeeAnne is currently studying Environmental Science and Photography at Robert Morris University and decided to take advantage of the various internship opportunities provided by Venture Outdoors. LeeAnne works double time as a photography and fishing intern for various outings. Although she enjoys taking pictures of many different types of outings,

     » Read more about: Meet the Fisherlady, LeeAnne Conway  »

  • Hiking With Your Tyke

    August 22, 2017

    By: Jacob Tumminello

    Venture Outdoors firmly believes that everyone belongs outdoors including young adventurers. To create a program specifically designed for children, Venture Outdoors introduced Tyke Hikes, nature walks for children up to age five and their caregivers. These walks create a relaxed learning environment and include activities, snacks, and interesting facts about the location.
    Venture Outdoors categorizes activities based on difficulty, and Tyke Hike programs are considered relaxed – a category requiring no prior experience. Trail locations are mapped out ahead of time to ensure an easy walk for children. Most of these locations are scheduled within Pittsburgh and Allegheny County parks.

     » Read more about: Hiking With Your Tyke  »

Featured Outing

Beginner Paddle – North Shore
Multiple Dates
6:00 – 8:30 PM

We’ll start with instruction and practice, and then head onto the Allegheny River to see just how easy it is to paddle. Bedazzled by the gorgeous Pittsburgh skyline, you won’t even realize that you’re suddenly paddling like a pro! Equipment, guides and instruction are provided. Solo kayaks are highly recommended for this outing.