Despite all the snow, spring is just around the corner. The sun is out longer and the days are getting warmer. I went for a long walk outdoors and the fresh air revitalized me. I felt like I was coming out of some sort of hibernation and was hungry for spring.

I think over the winter season many of us tend to stay indoors and in our own way hibernate. Spring brings the world around us renewed life and new opportunities. Here are some ideas to shake off that winter slumber and help keep you moving and active this spring.

  • Gardening: Gardening is a great way to get outside, be active and relax at the same time. Gardening can help relieve stress, lower blood pressure, burn calories and provide you with some healthy eating options. It can also be a source of friendship and community.

The Pine River-Backus community garden has several raised beds and larger plots at very reasonable rates for the season. Tools, water and soil amendments are all available when you rent a plot and become a part of the community with other local gardeners.

  • Walking, running and hiking: It's time to get outdoors and enjoy the place where we live. Walking is a great way to stay healthy and enjoy life in Minnesota. We have an abundance of trails near us for walking and hiking at various fitness levels.

Walking is an amazing low-impact physical exercise that can also improve your mood and extend your life. I recommend inviting a friend along or forming a group to keep you motivated and connected. At PR-B Schools, we have free hall walking until the weather gets better. Stop in and sign up today.

  • Sports and recreation: We have so many activities happening in our area it is difficult not to be involved or active. Youth summer ball, men’s softball league, biking routes, rodeo, renowned golf courses, outdoor volleyball, beaches for swimming, lakes to fish and play in.

You can also join the Fit Beginnings Group offered by Snap Fitness through PR-B Community Education. The list of local recreation opportunities and activities goes on and on. If you need direction or are looking for a connection, contact the Pine River Chamber or PR-B Community Education and we can get you pointed in the right direction, get you involved and maybe let you coach a team.

  • Kayaking and canoeing: Lakes and rivers are all around us and they provide great resources for activity, recreation and peace of mind. The Pine River State Water Trail flows through several lakes, including Norway and the Whitefish Chain. It winds through jack pine forests and lakes, allowing for landscape and wildlife viewing.

We offer a beginning recreational kayaking class in the summer, including a low key lake session and a more active river paddle. Both sessions start at the Pine River Dam Park.

  • Community plays: We have a couple of opportunities to be involved with community plays in Pine River. You can audition for an acting part, apply to work behind the scenes or just come and enjoy the shows.

Our spring community education play, "The Princess and the Pea," is open to adults and youth performers with performances May 1-3. This fairy tale production is an ingeniously hilarious and highly entertaining version of Hans Christian Andersen's short story.

Our summer play is the Prairie Fire Children's Theatre version of "Beauty & the Beast," running the week of June 14-20. The performances will be Friday evening and Saturday mid-morning.

  • Volunteerism: While spring brings new life and energy to us all, it also brings hard work and opportunities to help one another. When you are out enjoying the fresh air and spring cleanup, take a chance and say hi to your neighbor. Offer a helping hand with some of the jobs on their spring list, make a friend and build our community. A little help or friendly hello can make a big difference in someone's life and maybe yours, too.

Both our community and school benefit by the involvement of parents, community members, businesses, organizations, senior citizens, students or other individuals who give their time and experience to support community education.

It is rewarding to volunteer and become part of your community. Your personal commitment helps to provide the many resources needed to run a successful community education program. Many programs would not be possible without volunteers. We are always looking for instructors, coaches and advisory council members.

This is your chance to make a difference in our community. Call PR-B Community Education at 218-587-2080 to learn more about the opportunities available to you and your family.

Troy Gregory is Pine River-Backus Community Education director.