"April is a promise that May is bound to keep." ―Hal Borland
Spring in the Midwest can sometimes seem like the least promising of all seasons. The weather fluctuates from day to day; all we want is to stay thawed out and enjoy jacket free days. But April instead gives us promise in accepting that nothing is constant in this world other than change itself.
Our dance with winter's end not wanting to give up should not fool us. We know that the snow that fell so freely to welcome us to April will not last long. Soon we'll be singing the praises for the moisture bestows into vibrant green.
Spring is a promise. In due course we are naturally making our way toward brighter days.
Every day the process of growth and transformation is making way. The sun is breathing life into our yards and parks, what have you been noticing?
Do you see the perennials shooting up to greet us with excitement? As if at any time they seem ready to burst color and scent into fresher air. Do you go out and feel the squish of the trail and see the squirrels perpetually busy at work.
Do you hear at the break of day to each dimming end the conversations of birds making a life from tree to tree, bush to bush, and to fence line. Do see the familiar signs of nest preparations on your back porch?
Are you embracing April with noticing the signs of new life? Spotting the baby bunnies in the yard to the new seedlings we sow in windowlight anticipating the intense beauty that lies ahead in the summer sun?
We meet April's promises in the time we spend outside noticing. For ideas to inspire and connect with nature this April we look to our Children’s Outdoor Bill of Rights as guiding principles.
April Activities and Suggestions:
Explore the Outdoors Near Home
All kinds of birds come out in the spring. Make time to watch the birds near your home. What are they doing? Observe what is happening in the morning, afternoon, or evening. Which birds do you see more often? Check out this online bird guide, a great resource from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
Experience the Wonders of Nature
Up for a quick game? Wildlife Spotting Race awakens awareness and notices life in your backyard or local park. Just set a timer and let everyone set out to spot what wildlife or insects they see. Depending on age, write down or shout what you see. This active game can be played anywhere.
Adventure at Night & Build Skills for Accessing the Outdoors
Although it may not be the ideal campfire weather quite yet, you can take time to prepare and make a stash of fire starters. Try an easy version made with upcycling supplies from an egg carton, dryer lint, and wax.
Play Actively Outside
Try out something new with support from the experts. NIU Outdoor Adventures offers rentals and trips open to the community. The paddling season on the East Lagoon in DeKalb opens on Wednesday, April 6. Sign up for their hourly boat rentals and go out for paddle with the family on a canoe, kayak or paddleboard.
Engage with Food Sources and Systems
Make plans for your vegetable garden or volunteer to learn how! The NIU Communiversity Gardens volunteer workdays start Wednesday, April 6. Sign up weekly from 3-5 p.m. to gain hands-on knowledge. Save the date to purchase locally grown plants and support your community from the DeKalb County Community Gardens or NIU Communiversity Gardens vegetable, herb, and flower plant sales.
Understand Human Impacts of Nature
There are many holidays to celebrate the Earth in April, also known as Earth month. Earth Day is Friday, April 22 and Arbor Day is Friday, April 29. It is a great time to get involved in community clean-up projects and the time for Keep America Beautiful. Check out Northern Illinois University Campus and Community Clean Up, Keep Northern Illinois Beautiful Great American Clean Up, and Trash Squirrels regular clean up events.
Learn about the History of Local Lands
Learn local stories through the History of DeKalb County in 100 Objects exhibit at the DeKalb County History Center. The exhibit has four themes: Daily Life, Change, Special Events and Government. Open Tuesday-Saturday from 10am-5pm in Sycamore or enjoy their virtual exhibits.
We welcome your thoughts and ideas!