‘Take 5 Exterior’ digital problem promotes outside recreation in 5 cities

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The Pawtuxet River Authority and Watershed Council (PRAWC) will kick off its birthday celebrations in May with a series of events. This year marks the 50th anniversary since its inception by the Rhode Island General Assembly in 1972. As part of its mission to create opportunities for public recreation, PRAWC is launching a virtual challenge to “Take Five Outside” in the Pawtuxet River watershed . The public is encouraged to register for the free challenge and participate in outdoor activities planned throughout the summer. Registered individuals who register for five events by October 18, 2022 will be entered into a drawing for prizes. Research has shown that not only does being outdoors have public health benefits through physical activity, but being in nature can also help reduce stress, improve memory, increase creativity and increase mental well-being support financially. The PRAWC hopes to draw attention to the beautiful sights in the Pawtuxet River watershed where residents can get outside.

“We are proud to celebrate our 50th anniversary this year and to showcase the conservation areas we own and maintain and the canoe launch we developed on the mainstream of the river,” said Robert Nero, Chairman of the PRAWC Board. “In addition to highlighting our properties, promoting recreation and raising awareness of the river and its watershed, we hope to raise funds to help complete restoration and improvement projects in the watershed such as our Randall Pond fishing area in Cranston.”

The Take Five Outside challenge aims to connect the community to green spaces in their catchment area. Participants complete five activities in the Pawtuxet watershed in areas such as a public space, park, bike path, nature reserve, lake, pond, river, conservation area or administrative area. The PRAWC will offer several events where attendees can officially check in, but interested ‘takers’ can also take trips themselves and ‘check in’ online and through social media posts. Any passive leisure activity outside the watershed counts towards the five outings, including walking, hiking, reading, crafting, photographing nature, bird watching, running, bicycling, picnicking, kite flying, and paddling or fishing in lakes, ponds, or rivers. PRAWC hopes to reinforce the idea that attendees of all abilities can attend many of the events and, by offering free registration, aims to remove some potential barriers to participation and to attract as many people as possible to attend .

“We look forward to partnering with Cranston and North Scituate Public Libraries for “#TakeABook reading events in July, encourage birders or photographers to #TakeALook, or anglers can #TakeTheBait at our 7th Annual Family Fishing Derby at Tiogue Lake on 4.” said Stan Brittsan of West Warwick, vice chairman of the PRAWC board. “Passive recovery generally refers to non-consumptive activities that require minimal materials and less energy [to make those materials] Therefore, they are more sustainable and have the least impact on our wildlife sanctuaries and water resources. We’ll be careful on the trails in Warwick during our #TakeAHike event on May 10th!”

Pursuant to its charter, PRAWC’s primary objectives are the restoration, conservation and protection of land and waterways within the watershed; improving water quality and wildlife habitats; Creating opportunities for public passive recreation and appreciation of the natural resources of the watershed; and to advance public education about the ecological, cultural and historical importance of the river and its watershed. Because PRAWC’s anniversary coincides with the 50th anniversary of the federal Clean Water Act, PRAWC is attempting to launch the Take Five Outside event on her birthday, May 1, and it will run through October 18, the date the passage of the Clean Water Act. The Federal Clean Water Act made possible many of the clean water success stories in Rhode Island that have been touted by the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management. This has led to a dramatic reduction in nutrients in the Pawtuxet River due to upgrades to wastewater treatment plants, and recently this year RIDEM recommended removing the main Pawtuxet River trunk from the state list of impaired waters for high phosphorus levels. The PRAWC hopes to draw attention to these types of success stories as it celebrates throughout the year.

Interested parties wishing to participate in the Take Five Outside Challenge can register online here: https://forms.gle/mEQupLDgx74kHj1WA For more information, visit the PRAWC website www.Pawtuxet.org and for an updated list of “Take For Five Outside” challenge events, see their Facebook page for rainy date announcements. The nonprofit organization raises funds through cash donations and the sale of commemorative t-shirts, sweatshirts and tank tops, and all proceeds benefit PRAWC. PRAWC serves every community through which the Pawtuxet River and its two main branches pass: Coventry, Cranston, Scituate, Warwick and West Warwick. Any local businesses interested in sponsoring the event and/or donating towards the raffle prizes are welcome to contact [email protected]