For the past nine years, Outdoor Chattanooga has hosted free winter workshops designed to teach a variety of outdoor skills in a classroom setting.
This year’s winter workshops will take place Wednesdays, 6:30-8 p.m., at Outdoor Chattanooga, 200 River St. in Coolidge Park. No reservation or prior experience is required and all ages are welcome.
Outdoor Chattanooga is adding this winter the opportunity for participants to practice what they learned the Saturday after the workshop. Most of the field experiences will be free but some will have a nominal fee and minimum age requirements.
The schedule of workshops includes:
Speleoart: The art of caving
This workshop will include a PowerPoint presentation on cave etiquette and speleoart – the art of leaving no trace in a cave while leaving with art in your sketchbook. The workshop will include demonstrations of ancient cave art along with modern speleoart techniques.
The Chattanooga Grotto Club and Carolina Shrewsbury will then host a guided speleoart caving trip Saturday, Jan. 18. The field trip is appropriate for ages 12 and older with a participating adult.
Introduction to Paddle Sports
This workshop will teach paddle sport basics, the types of paddle crafts on the market and the style of paddling best suited for each individual. A variety of paddle crafts and equipment will be on hand for demonstration purposes.
The instruction will continue Saturday, Jan. 25, with a guided and equipped kayak tour at the Hiwassee Wildlife Refuge to view migrating sandhill cranes. The cost of $45 per person will include all necessary kayak equipment, basic paddling instructions, the tour and transportation from Chattanooga. The tour is appropriate for ages 14 and up with a participating adult.
Protecting Local Waterways
Experts from WaterWays will educate community members on how individuals and small groups can protect and restore their local creeks and streams. This workshop will teach participants how to build and restore eco-friendly yards and outdoor spaces at home and the office, how to evaluate stormwater runoff issues and techniques for restoring riparian zones with stream bank stabilization and native plants.
The field trip Saturday, Feb. 1, will include an expedition to North Chattanooga’s Mountain Creek stream restoration site to learn how to identify a healthy stream, conduct water quality samples and see stream quality repair in person.
Wilderness Survival Skills
The wilderness survival workshop will cover emergency priorities, how to make an emergency shelter, how to locate and access drinking water and how to make an emergency kit. The class is designed for anyone who spends time outdoors.
On Saturday, Feb. 8, participants will have the opportunity to practice several scenarios (including fire building and shelter building) in a local forest with Outdoor Chattanooga’s Cole Henderson. The field experience is appropriate for ages 10 and up with a participating adult.
Bicycle Maintenance 101
Outdoor Chattanooga bicycle guru James Eubank will dive into the most common repair and maintenance issues for everyday cyclists, including how to prevent and fix a flat tire. Participants may bring their own bike or use one of Outdoor Chattanooga’s bikes. Tools will be available for use.
On Saturday, Feb. 15, Eubank will demonstrate and allow time for practice on how to tune a rear derailleur. He will then lead a bike ride on local roadways to teach riding techniques and the rules of the road. The ride is appropriate for ages 16 and up with a participating adult.
Camp Cooking 101
Participants will learn about various outdoor cooking methods, including what to bring, how to pack, food safety, clean up and critter considerations.
Equipment and ingredients will be provided for the group experience Saturday, Feb. 22. The field trip will be appropriate for ages 14 and up with a participating adult.