Spring has definitely sprung in Maine. The maple sap has stopped flowing, the sun is climbing higher in the sky and setting later in the day. It’s time to shake off the cold brown sogginess of mud season and get out in the warmth of green buds, leaves and shoots. As you gather your gear and tools to venture outdoors, we’d like to share some online resources that BoomerTECH Adventures has used and recommend them to make the most of this relatively short but busy season between winter and summer.

Digital resource number one is perhaps the most comprehensive online authority for Maine gardeners created by the University of Maine’s Cooperative Extension at extension.umaine.edu. For over 100 years, the Extension has brought research-based information providing practical how-to solutions in many areas, including agriculture, yard and garden care, insect pests, plant diseases and much, much more. The Extension has both virtual and in-person resources ranging from programs, publications, workshops, classes, blogs and videos, many for free. As an example, their video library has 637 videos that can be searched by keyword. Let’s say you’re interested in planting blueberries this year; just type in “growing blueberries” and in seconds, dozens of resources about raising blueberries in Maine will come up. Concerned about those invasive plants and insects? Just type in “knotweed” or “browntail moth” to see what your options might be. We have never come up empty when searching for answers for any Maine gardening topic through the Cooperative Extension. Try it next time you have a question or just want to learn about anything related to gardening or farming in Maine.

Spring is a good time to get involved in beautifying your community as well as cleaning up your yard. Many Maine communities have garden clubs organized around neighbors interested in contributing to their towns and cities. If you’re wondering whether there is a garden club near you, check out online resource number two, the Garden Club Federation of Maine at mainegardenclubs.org. They and their local affiliates work on many local programs, such as supporting low-maintenance, environmentally friendly landscapes and gardens with Habitat For Humanity, providing scholarships for students interested in agriculture, maintaining gardening projects to beautify their communities, and hosting monthly talks and presentations related to gardening and nature. Several area clubs hold annual spring plant sales that bring out hundreds of eager gardeners to support their very worthwhile programs. One of the largest and most-anticipated events is resource number three, the Bath Garden Club plant sale being held this year from 8 a.m. to noon May 7 at Library Park. For more about the Bath Garden Club, go to bathgardenclub.org.

Thanks to our communities’ many conservation land trusts, public parks and nature preserves, we have plenty of opportunities to venture out during the warmer spring weather. There are several online resources for finding wonderful public places to explore that you may not be aware of. Resources four, five and six are very active public land trusts in our area. The Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust at btlt.org preserves and provides public access to over 3000 acres of land with 13 hiking and biking trails in Brunswick, Topsham and Bowdoin. The Kennebec Estuary Land Trust at kennebecestuary.org protects 3,639 acres of land and 12 trails in the towns of Arrowsic, Bath, Bowdoinham, Dresden, West Bath, Georgetown, Richmond, Westport Island and Woolwich. The Harpswell Heritage Land Trust at hhltmaine.org maintains 20 trails and wildlife preserves on 1,630 acres of protected land. In addition to these and other land trusts, our Midcoast area of Maine has a number of state parks within easy reach. Reid, Popham, Wolf Neck and Bradbury Mountain state parks can all be found online. With resource number seven, maine.gov, you can search for all of Maine’s state parks and public lands by location, types of activities and facilities.

If you’re interested in searching for a number of options for trails to hike, bike or paddle this spring, online resource number eight, The Maine Trail Finder is a great place to explore (mainetrailfinder.com). This website allows you to search for trails based on what kind of activity you’re interested in doing (hiking, biking, paddling), the level of difficulty, including wheelchair accessibility, distance, trail surface and location. I found some new trails to explore as well as reminders of some old favorites to revisit.

Resource number nine is a statewide organization that can help get you up and out into the spring sunshine. If you want to hop onto your bicycle and hit the road, bike path or mountain bike trail, the Bicycle Coalition of Maine (bikemaine.org) is a great place to start. In fact, their annual bike swap has two locations this spring. The first one is from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, April 24, at the Lewiston USM campus. The second bike swap is from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. June 12 at the Gorham USM campus. The bike swap is a fantastic place to trade your old bike in and upgrade to a better bike for the spring or just get a great deal on a new to you ride. For more information on the two swaps and how you might volunteer to help check out number 10, bikemaine.org/events/bike-swap/. And once you’ve gotten your bike, the Bicycle Coalition’s website can help you locate some great places to enjoy it by visiting our 11th online resource, bikemaine.org/where-to-ride/.

That’s our list of 11 springtime online resources for you. We hope you’ll check them out and let us know what some of your favorites are by visiting us at boomertechadventures.com. Happy Spring!

BoomerTECH Adventures (boomertechadventures.com) provides expert guidance and resources to help Boomers and older adults develop competence and confidence using their Apple devices. Boomers themselves, BoomerTECH Adventures rely on their skills as educators to create experiences that meet individual needs through videos, Zoom presentations, tech tips, and timely blog posts.

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