Tiny Great Outdoors Festival

Event Date: 
Sunday, April 23 12:00 PM - 2:00 PM

Join us for a tiny Arbor Day celebration!

The city’s tiniest urban wild will be home to the Tiny Great Outdoors Festival, a free Arbor Day festival at the Quincy Street Open Space, 16 Quincy St., from noon to 2 p.m. Sunday, April 23, 2017 (Rain date: April 30.) Join scientists on tiny hikes exploring wildlife here in Somerville. Learn how global warming is changing the environment, even in our backyards. Participate in activities, games, and art. Help plant a tree and take home a free seedling!

The idea for the Tiny Great Outdoors Festival was dreamed up by Greg Cook, the freelance event planner behind Somerville’s Pity Party in 2015 and Tiny Tall Ships Festival in 2016. He created the festival to celebrate “urban wilds,” a term for what are often small pockets of nature within our cities. The Quincy Street Open Space is one of these urban nature parks, in this case a tiny sustainable woodland landscape created in a dense, residential urban neighborhood on the site of what was once a house that burned.

The scientists and wildlife experts will lead visitors on tiny hikes through the park during the event include:

• Bryan Hamlin, former chairman of the Friends of the Middlesex Fells and past president of the New England Botanical Club, who has helped lead a census of all the plants in the Fells

• Sasha Vivelo, a Ph.D. student in Boston University’s Department of Biology researching how the growth of mushrooms and other fungi affect ecosystems and climate

• Jef Taylor of Boston’s Urban Nature Walks group, a naturalist specializing in urban wildlife, bugs, mushrooms, creepy crawlies, and weird stuff, who has been leading hikes around these parts since 2003

• Andy Reinmann is a forest ecologist at Boston University where he conducts research exploring the effects of urbanization and climate change on forest growth

• Rachel Taylor, the City of Somerville’s Animal Control Officer and Inspector

• Vanessa Boukili, an urban forestry and landscape planner and conservation agent for the City of Somerville

Visitors to the festival can plant trees with City of Somerville Urban Forestry and Landscape Planner Vanessa Boukili; paint animals with Somerville artist Johanna Finnegan-Topitzer; try out worm-bin composting with Groundwork Somerville; and learn about how we can reduce our carbon output and live more sustainably by playing educational games presented by the city’s SustainaVille program, led by Hannah Payne and Christine Andrews. Somerville artist Rachel Mello will exhibit art depicting tiny creature—bees, ants, inch-worms—made from recycled advertising banners to address reuse and recycling in the environment.