Outdoor Adventures

Posted 3/31/21

Spring Has Sprung By Brian G. Schommer Saturday, March 20 of 2021 was officially the first day of Spring. Spring, also known as springtime, is the season of new beginnings. The trees begin to bud and …

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Outdoor Adventures


Spring Has Sprung

By Brian G. Schommer

Saturday, March 20 of 2021 was officially the first day of Spring. Spring, also known as springtime, is the season of new beginnings. The trees begin to bud and the grass, once dormant begins to spring to life once more with shades of green overtaking the brown of fall. That is, except for where the dogs may have done their doody. Those places may stay dormant a bit longer than the rest of the yard. For dog owners, spring also means the duty of picking up the doggie doody; a task that not many look forward to completing. Brazilian lyricist and novelist Paulo Coelho is credited for the quote, “Everything in life has its price.” If someone else would be willing to pick up and dispose a winter’s accumulation of your precious four-legged pals droppings, what would it be worth? Depending on your yard and your dog(s), a heavy compilation of piles might have you placing a dollar value on such an option. It is not for everybody, but if you are open to paying someone else for this type of service, there are plenty of them to be found on the internet and social media. I assure you; this is legit and not some April Fool’s Day joke. In addition to being unsanitary when not picked up, did you know that doggie doody adds nitrogen into our water supply through the soil? Not only is this toxic for your grass but also, aquatic life. This was probably taught by Cliff Jacobsen back in 1982 during Environmental Science at Hastings Junior High. It also probably fell on the somewhat deaf ears of a scrawny little freshmen who was more interested in baseball than he was about the environment. Mr. J. planted the seed; it just took a while to grow.

Thankfully, spring brings much more than cleaning up after the pup. The sweet aroma of grilled foods is once again permeating the air. The birds are returning from their southern vacation, there are plenty of sightings of the Turdus migratorius, and soon they will begin building their nests and hatching out their young. Within the next month or so, those choosing to take a drive or walk “in the country,” may be blessed with sightings of baby bunnies, fawn deer, and/or pheasant chicks scurrying to stay close to their momma. If you take a walk or bike ride along any area waterways or lakes, you will undoubtedly encounter ducklings and goslings doing the same. Temperatures will become a bit more pleasant, there are more hours of daylight and for those who tend to hibernate during the winter months, now is your chance to get back outside again. As an “fyi,” the Turdus migratorius is the American Robin. A more notable activity during early spring is “Spring Clean Up” events. It has always been impressive to me how many people step up and volunteer to clean up our communities every spring. Should you be so inclined and wish to volunteer, here are a couple of opportunities in Hastings. Cottage Grove and Pierce County… stay tuned for more information coming the next few weeks.

Veterans Athletic Complex in Hastings is home to hundreds of spring and summer activities including softball, soccer, and baseball. It is also a destination that many people choose to stop and take a break while walking or biking on the Hastings Trail System. Recreational and competitive leagues for both youth and adults can be found utilizing the complex pretty much any time from late April through October, when you can find Little Raiders Football “popping the pads” and announcing the return of fall. This amount of foot traffic creates a substantial need for regular maintenance, repair, and attention. The Hastings Hawks have been instrumental over the years in assisting the City of Hastings by providing additional care to the baseball area of the complex. This portion of the complex alone sees action 80-plus times every year by both youth and adults. The Hawks are hosting a clean up day on Saturday, April 17th beginning at 9am. Activities should wind down by noon and pizza will be available for the volunteers. Work to be done includes leaf and weed clean up, lawn care, edging, moving small amounts of dirt and basic trash pick-up. For more information or to sign-up, email [email protected] or just show up dressed to get dirty. In case of inclement weather, the effort will be moved to Saturday, April 24th with no time change.

The Mississippi River Plastics Pollution Initiative needs volunteers locally to walk specified areas of Hastings and track debris that is found. Local Chiropractor Dr. Linden Pfeiffer is helping coordinate the local effort with the MRPPI, which is a partnership between the United Nations Environment Program, the Mississippi River Cities & Towns Initiative, the National Geographic Society, and the University of Georgia. The local event will take place on Saturday, April 24th with volunteers meeting at 10am on the patio at Lock and Dam Eatery. According to Pfeiffer, “we are looking for people who love our city, love our river and love nature.” If you are on Facebook, an event page is created with a discussion tab where any questions you have can be answered. Go to “Search Facebook,” type “Mississippi River Plastics Pollution Initiative” and you will be able to access the page. If you are not on Facebook, Dr. Pfeiffer invites you to contact him via email at [email protected]

No matter what outdoor activities you enjoy, the warmer weather and onset of spring certainly opens the door for plenty of chances to get outside and drink in some Vitamin D, also known as the “sunshine vitamin.” The benefits to our health just by being outside cannot be overlooked, and often are. Vitamin D is a critical nutrient that prevents bone loss and reduces the risk of heart disease, weight gain and various cancers. Seasonal depression is something that many people have and, if undiagnosed, detected or treated, can lead to devastating outcomes. One of the main treatments for this disorder is exposure to sunlight and light therapy with the addition of Vitamin D supplements. Natural light also improves sleep patterns for many people. Like any good thing, there is a level of “too much” that can have an adverse effect on your health. To maintain healthy blood levels, it is recommended to get 10-30 minutes of midday sunlight, several times per week, depending on your complexion. People with darker complexions may need a little more time in the sun. Those who are fair of skin should take a bit more precaution, reduce their time outdoors and/or use sunscreen to minimize potential damage to their skin. This advice is all shared from reputable sources that were “fact-checked” by a professional team of seasoned “Journal Fact-Checkers.” Okay, now that is an April Fool’s Day joke because… well, it is April Fool’s Day and, while we do our best to proofread, edit and put out the best possible product, we are also human, and all drop the ball from time to time. Most “facts” that are used in the “Outdoor Adventures” column can be found simply by doing a few simple searches on the internet and they may have been taught in any number of science classes that we all participated while in school. For some, the information may have fallen on somewhat deaf ears or simply made a quick escape from the memory bank. Either way friends, spring has sprung. Enjoyment and happiness are there for the taking, as long as you make the time necessary to “Get Out and Enjoy the Great Outdoors.”