Spring is in the air!

Although it has felt like spring has sprung for the past few weeks here in the Gorge, the season officially begins on the vernal equinox March 20! This year spring is welcomed by a total eclipse and a super moon – two stellar ways to ring in the season, if you catch my drift. Unfortunately no one in the US will be able to see the total eclipse, as it will take place over northern Europe, but it is still an amazing way nature is ushering us into this time of rejuvenation.

Spring signifies new beginnings: the arrival of blooming wildflowers, the waking of animals from their winter slumber, and new life being born. As the weather warms here in the Northern Hemisphere, humans too start to be more active outside during the lengthening days. People begin planting gardens and flowers, going on more hikes, and noticing the return of birds who went south for winter. Long gone are the days of the cold, the rain, and winter’s cloudy skies.

For the Columbia Gorge Ecology Institute, spring also signifies the beginning of our field trip season! Although it isn’t actually spring until tomorrow, we had our first field trip yesterday. With the students, we explored the wonders of the natural world on the Sandy River Delta, saw many creatures including snakes, frogs, birds, and many dogs, and learned a bit more about the ecosystem here in the Gorge.  It was a great way to welcome spring and get back out into the natural world.

Yesterday left me a little sore from carrying gear, but the smiling students were worth it and it left me feeling ready for spring. The vernal equinox truly is cause for celebration! I personally like to usher in new seasons by doing something special. This year, I think I’ll play in my garden, walk around my neighborhood in sandals, and spend some time lying in the grass. Do you have any rituals to celebrate the days getting longer?


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