Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy Launches Backpack Lending Program

September 3, 2020 by Beth Seibel

The Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy is pleased to announce a new program to help make your park visit even more engaging! Park visitors may borrow backpacks full of tools to help you explore park ecosystems more closely. 
 
There are four different backpack themes to choose from, all of which contain first aid kits:  
Meadow pack: features an insect guide, butterfly net, and critter case. 
Forest pack: features a tree guide, bird watching guide, nutcracker, and bug box. 
Stream pack: features Kritter keeper, aqua viewer, sieve, and bug boxes.
The health pack: includes Fit Bit Zip, two hammocks, and hiking poles. 
 
“The backpacks are intended to help people explore the parks more deeply. They provide materials and resources that help people experience the parks in new ways, see new things, and gain new insights. Using a backpack adds a new dimension to your time in the park”, said Mike Cornell, Naturalist Educator at the Frick Environmental Center. “The materials in them are what we would use in a guided program, but since we can’t be everywhere all the time, it increases the number of people we can reach and allows them to tailor their experience to meet their needs and satisfy their interests.” 
 
Backpack Lending Program Frequently Asked Questions:
  • Is there a cost to borrow a backpack?
    • The Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy’s Frick Environmental Center is pleased to lend backpacks for just $10.00 for the entire weekend. You will be asked to submit credit card information at the time of reservation. Funding for the Educational Backpacks at the Frick Environmental Center was provided by the Katherine Bassara Memorial Fund and the Howard and Carol Lang Family Foundation Fund of The Pittsburgh Foundation. 
  • How do I access the backpacks?
    • The backpacks are available to borrow through a contactless reservation system and must be reserved by 3 P.M. on the Friday before the weekend you choose. Backpacks can be reserved for weekend use beginning Saturday at 10 A.M. and must be returned by 5 P.M. on Sunday. Once a backpack reservation is received, a confirmation email is sent detailing payment information, pickup and return procedures, backpack information, and guidelines. The designated backpack pickup and return site will be the open-air gatehouse located on Beechwood Boulevard at the entrance to the Frick Environmental Center. 
Care has been taken to ensure the safety of staff and borrowers in light of COVID-19. Participants will find disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizer in the open-air gatehouse for use during pick up and return of backpacks. Also, note that the reservation system ensures that the packs are issued to only one borrower per weekend allowing ample time for cleaning. 
 
To learn more and reserve a backpack, visit pittsburghparks.org/backpack
 
We hope that you enjoy using the backpacks to further explore and to take a closer look at the wonders of nature that are waiting for you in Frick Park!
 

TREATMENT OF THE BACKPACKS 
ThePittsburgh Parks Conservancy asks that the packs and contents be treated with care and respect. Children should be supervised at all times. General wear and tear will occur and accidents happen. To ensure that the next park visitor borrows a complete pack in good condition, please report broken or lost items via the survey you will receive after your reservation weekend or by sending an email to astacey@pittsburghparks.org or Ltran@pittsburghparks.org.