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Eighth-annual event to offer stargazing, bonfire at The Ridges

Coming this Friday, Ohio University’s Outdoor Pursuits will host a bonfire and night of stargazing at The Ridges for Parents Weekend, offering parents and students a way to bond under the stars.

The annual event is part of Outdoor Pursuits’ many trips held throughout the year, said Kelby Dierking, manager of trips and clinics for Outdoor Pursuits.

“Outdoor Pursuits offers an assortment of local and interstate adventure trips and clinics,” Dierking said. “Everything from day boating and hiking trips around Athens to multi-day backpacking and rock climbing.”

The trip, which is in its eighth year, began when student leaders wanted to have a trip that was close to campus and accessible to all students. This makes the trip an ideal activity for Parents Weekend, said Daniel Vorisek, director of Outdoor Pursuits.

“Since offering this event on Parents Weekend, we have always had many more people that want to go than we can accommodate, so the popularity is obvious,” Vorisek said.

The trip begins at the Dairy Barn, then travels through Athens Memorial Cemetery and continues with a walk to The Ridges led by George Eberts, an astronomy professor at OU. Eberts said that his varied background in astronomy and health service allows him to give a different take on The Ridges.

“The walk will focus on astronomy and mental health,” Eberts said. “We look at constellations, then we keep walking and get to old buildings. I’m partially trying to educate and entertain people because there are a lot of things to know about mental health.”

Following the walk, the group will settle at The Ridges, build a campfire and look through one of OU’s best telescopes, Eberts said. While the season does not permit the clear viewing of many celestial objects, one planet will be easily viewable.

“While it may not be the most exciting thing, there will be a rare opportunity to see the planet Uranus,” Eberts said.

Though Outdoor Pursuits offers the event throughout the year, Eberts said it is ideal for Parents Weekend.

“It’s obviously a good event because it’s a non-alcoholic event and it’s a good way to meet people and have a great time,” he said.

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