On Saturday, March 30th, the PSU Student Recreation Center will be the starting point for runners and walkers dressed up as animals. The inaugural “Run Like an Animal” 5k Fun Run and 1 Mile Kids Run is hosted by PSU Nature Reach.
The race will begin at 8 a.m., following packet pick-up starting at 7 a.m. Early bird registration is $30.00 and includes a T-shirt, reusable shopping bag, snacks, and a completion medal. For children under 12, the 1 Mile Kids Run is offered for $5.00 and includes a T-shirt, bib, custom race medal, and an animal mask.
“I hope we can raise awareness for our program,” said Delia Lister, a biology instructor at PSU and director of Nature Reach. “We have been here over 30 years, and we still have folks that don’t know who we are and what we are all about. Doing this event also helps PSU Campus Recreation give their students and staff experience in running these types of events. I believe it is incredibly important to form partnerships across campus and across the Pittsburg community.”
Nature Reach is partially funded by PSU, but according to their website, they primarily depend on program fees, grants, and donations. All proceeds from this event will go to the Nature Reach organization. Previously, Nature Reach has hosted an open house event and a bicycle race.
“I hope people will learn more about Nature Reach,” Lister said. “…learn something about at least one of our animal ambassadors, and have a fun time running and being outside.”
The event will also include a photo booth for participants as well as one of the Nature Reach animal ambassadors making an appearance at the starting line. Additionally, there will be a drawing at the end of the race for prizes and awards for the best costumes.
The program’s goals include to “spark an interest in science and the environment, provide quality, nature-based environmental education programming to the surrounding region, provide academic resources, hands-on experience, and inspiration for students, and encourage engagement in the outdoors,” according to the PSU Nature Reach website.
Between 2008 and 2017, Nature Reach provided over 1,400 programs in 30 communities, serving around 45,000 children and adults. Nature Reach partnered with local businesses as well as PSU Campus Recreation students and staff to organize the 5k.
“Many thanks to my co-chair Kireston Luptak and PSU Campus Recreation,” Lister said. “Also, many thanks to our Sponsors: Jock’s Nitch, Claws and Paws, Broadway Animal Hospital, Colton’s Steakhouse, Sperry-Galligar Audubon Society, and Wilde Foot and Ankle Clinic, Pittsburg Recycles, LLC.”
The Nature Reach program has been part of the biology department since over 30 years ago. Nature Reach offers educational outreach programs to local schools and community groups. Due to donations, Nature Reach is able to offer free on-campus and off-campus programs to area schools.