Monday, April 1, 2013

Put a Little Spring in Your Step

Spring is in the air! Here in the Pacific Northwest (we aren't forgetting our sunny friends out in the Hawaiian Islands, but sunshine over here is a bit harder to come by) spring comes as a welcome surprise. Our grey skies slowly transform to blue, flowers blossom and shed along our streets, and locals, eager to catch their first glimpse of sunlight head to the trails. Spring activities seem to be endless here, especially with a bit of creativity. This week, we asked our Facebook fans to share some of their favorite spring activities and sites with us, so we could pass them along to you! From our nature-loving friends' suggestions – we chose five activities, and now you've got four weeks to complete them all! So check out our suggested activities – and get out there! If you find yourself having the time of your life while you're out there, snap some photos then share them and your story with us!

A Pacific Tree Frog, hanging out nearby and waiting to sing for spring.
Credit: USFWS
Choirs of Frogs
Our friend Nancy reminded us of the fast appearing frogs come springtime. The Pacific Tree Frog (also known as Pacific Chorus Frog) is common in the Pacific Northwest. They love damp places, so find one nearby you and get your ears ready for nature's own frog orchestra!

Pickathon, a late summer music festival in Oregon showcases one great
example of how families and friends can gather outdoors!

Credit: tdstone/Flickr CC
Nature’s Venue
Bobby mentioned that he enjoys attending outdoor music festivals once the spring season rolls around. Festivals start creeping on in late spring and really get going come summer. We think this is an excellent example of taking a passion you have that isn’t regularly outdoors, and getting it outdoors! When the sun starts shining – celebrations of music, art, food, birds and more can usually be found in the form of a festival. Gather up the kids, or friends, get your lawn chairs or camping gear ready and head off to a fest. We’ve heard that natural acoustics are some of the best!

An outdoor classroom activity connecting children, learning and nature!
Credit: Evie Bradley/USFWS Mt. Prairie
Natural in Nature
Nature Explore suggested bringing the classroom outside! What better season to get kids outdoors to learn in their natural environments? "When children feel natural in nature, learn in and love the earth, and develop a sense of wonder they will take care of the earth and pass on their love and what they've learned. Together we are supporting the next generation of environmental stewards!" – Nature Explore

Close up of a banana slug. What kid doesn't love creepy crawlies?!
Credit: Natalie McNear/Flickr CC
Seasonal Hikes
Hiking paths are available year round, but during the spring, seasonal plants and critters make special appearances. Christy of Tweets & Tree Frogs spotted trillium and banana slugs on a recent hike at Tyron Creek. A frequently visited trail never loses its spark when every new hike brings new discoveries!

Western sandpipers are one local species of migratory birds.
Credit: Roy W. Lowe/USFWS
March Migration
Finally, my personal pick for spring activities is spring time birding! Tis' the season to see some of the great migratory bird species you can't see during cold, wet months. The best part about these migrating birds is that they can be spotted right outside your window! Even if you're stuck indoors during the days of spring, you can still catch a glimpse of it flying past!

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