Time to Spring Outdoors

Time to Spring Outdoors

“There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature – the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.”  — Rachael Carson, The Sense of Wonder

Saturday, March 20 at 5:37 a.m. is the vernal equinox and the first day of spring 2021. The vernal equinox, like the autumnal equinox, is when the sun crosses the plane of the equator making day and night equal in length.

As New Englanders we know spring does not arrive suddenly overnight. Despite our longing for warm days, flowers and green fields, spring arrives in fits and spurts. I am reminded of my mother’s admonishment “patience is a virtue,” and it is certainly true as we anticipate the arrival of springtime in our part of the world.  Despite the gradual pace of change, I know the songbirds will begin their spring ritual of filling the morning with sound. By mid-April we can count on the “avian” alarm clock going off at first light to interrupt our morning slumber.

Spring 2021 will be markedly different from last year. Twelve months ago, we all experienced a frightening time with the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. Everything but the most essential public places were closed, and rates of infection and death rose unabated. Due to the uncertainty and restrictions on group gatherings, The Last Green Valley, Inc. (TLGV) canceled our annual Spring Outdoors program and we transitioned to developing online video-based programs.

What a difference a year makes. We now, as a community, have a better understanding of the pandemic, the ways we can keep each other safe and the sense of hope for the future. It’s only fitting this hope comes with spring. TLGV’s annual Spring Outdoors program is back and kicks off Saturday. We are lining up a full three months of programs until the summer solstice June 20. Designed much like our popular Walktober program, Spring Outdoors offers free volunteer-led walks, hikes, paddles, programs and experiences throughout the 35 towns that comprise The Last Green Valley National Heritage Corridor. And, because of Walktober in 2020, we have confidence these adventures can be done safely with some additional guidelines.

Our goal is to connect you to lands, waters, trails, stories and places in The Last Green Valley. Hopefully, you’ll discover new and extraordinary places you might not have realized are here.

Spring Outdoors wouldn’t be possible without the many organizations that help develop and offer these outdoor experiences. A sampling of our partner organizations offering Spring Outdoors programs this year includes Joshua’s Trust, Wyndham Land Trust, Groton Open Space Association, Norwich Historical Society, the Connecticut League of History Organizations, Leffingwell House Museum,  Griswold Parks & Recreation and more.

The list of Spring Outdoor activities is located on the TLGV website and is updated with new opportunities during the months of March, April, May and June. Information about Spring Outdoors can be found at the TLGV website, e-newsletter, and our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter feeds. The website link is: https://thelastgreenvalley.org/explore-the-last-green-valley/spring-outdoors/

Spring Outdoors is different from Walktober, however, in one really important way. We update the offerings weekly – or more often if there is a need. Every year the variability of spring inspires our partners to dream up new ideas or rethink the ones they have. The few dozen events listed at the beginning of Spring Outdoors traditionally blossoms to more than 150. We suspect this year may bring even more variability.

So, if you’re feeling like an adventure, check the guide. There may be something new for you to experience that wasn’t there just days earlier.  We hope you’ll join us and our partners as we get back outdoors and enjoy springtime here in The Last Green Valley.

If you are interested in hosting an event, walk, hike or experience, you are welcome to contact us and learn more about how we partner with organizations throughout the National Heritage Corridor and beyond to create Spring Outdoors, Walktober and more.

So, what does spring in The Last Green Valley mean to you? Share your thoughts with me and together let us aspire to enjoy, care for and pass on this special place we call home. The Last Green Valley — it’s like having a National Park in our own backyard.

Bill Reid is the Chief Ranger of The Last Green Valley National Heritage Corridor. He has lived in and explored the region for 40 years and can be reached at bill@tlgv.org

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