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It's springtime: Go outside - now!

Soon, the days will get warmer and longer. Tiny buds will appear on trees and the Robins will, at last, return to the North Country. That fabulous smell of new grass and blossoming flowers will permeate the air. Previously hibernating raccoons, skunks and frogs will venture out to fill their decimated bellies. Some people will experience, all these harbingers of spring.

Sadly, many young people will not. They won't because they will remain inside most of the time. With youth being at school all day, talking on cell phones, texting, surfing the net, e-mailing or Facebooking each other, watching up to six hours of television and another two to three hours of video games, there will be little time left to be in the natural world.

Years ago, my friends and I looked forward to spring because it meant school was nearly over and we would soon be working on area farms earning money. For a few years, springtime meant a trip down the swollen and fast running Boquet River on an oil barrel raft. We took our bikes out, oiled the chains, pumped up the tires and we were mobile again.

It also meant fishing in deep holes of water that only existed in spring. It took a good deal of walking to get to some of them. We packed a sandwich, drank water from the river and were gone all day. We didn't care if we cut our hands or skinned our knees. There were always good stories about how we were injured and everyone wanted to see your cut or gash. Sort of a badge of courage, I guess. We frequently came upon animals that crossed our paths on these outings.

This spring I hope that children will leave their virtual world for an excursion into the natural world. It is still there and it still offers as much wonder and discovery as it did many years ago.

Scot Hurlburt can be reached by e-mail at hurlburt@wildblue.net

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