Spring is here, and with it the Queens Chronicle’s annual Spring Guide! You’ll find the special pullout supplement inside the paper you’re holding or at qchron.com if you’re reading us online.

Publishing the guide marks a major accomplishment. Not for us, but for Queens, the city, even the state and nation. Last year the virus killed our spring guide. This year we’re in the process of killing the virus, all of us together. It’s not going down easy, being the nasty, crafty thing it is, but we’re winning thanks to our ever-expanding vaccinations.

And now it’s time to get outside! That’s a top theme in our Spring Guide, with nearly every story focused on outdoor activities. There are a few exceptions because, after all, some venues are reopening, but for the most part we’re talking about things to do on a nice day under the bright sun.

The first piece reports on what’s new in our parks, from Bayside to Long Island City to Rockaway. Fields and playgrounds have been upgraded, fitness equipment installed, landscaping improved and so on. Check it out!

Next are nature walks, for when you want an even deeper connection to the environment. All kinds of themes and locations are listed, from tree identification at Flushing Meadows Corona Park to “forest bathing” in Alley Pond Park to a search for edible plants in Forest Park. Or, of course, you could just take a walk. If you’d like to pick up the pace, however, we also have a piece on bike rides around Queens, in many cases making use of new alterations to our roadways that were driven by the pandemic. You’ll find exciting routes to try out from Astoria to Alley Pond.

If you find that seeing native flora and fauna aren’t quite enough, you can also head down to the zoo, where, we’ve been told, it’s all happening. And we don’t just cover the Queens Zoo, but also its counterparts in three other boroughs, as well as the New York Aquarium.

Want more? You’ve got it. We have a piece on spring fashion, which reveals that it’s an eclectic year. All kinds of stuff is cool. We go into the growing trend of gardening with native plants and its various benefits. We don’t neglect our theaters and museums, neither in-person nor online. We let you know where to get in a round of golf or a tennis match, and discuss some adult sports leagues you can join.

Lastly, as always, we include one idea for a day trip outside the city, in this case letting you know what the Planting Fields Arboretum, Sagamore Hill and Vanderbilt Museum, all on Long Island’s North Shore, have to offer.

We hope you enjoy the Spring Guide and get some ideas from it. Who knows? It could even help us win an award. We say that because we just picked up 10 of them in our annual New York Press Association newspaper competition.

Ten is a lot for us, our second-highest total ever. It was three more than the rest of the weekly newspapers in Queens combined got this year. And it included some prestigious categories, like our second-place nod in NYPA’s Past Presidents’ Award for General Excellence, Associate Editor Katherine Donlevy’s third-place showing in Rookie of the Year and Associate Editor David Russell’s second-place finish in Sportswriter of the Year. Oh, and we did get a few first-place awards too, one of them for Best Editorial Page. As in what you’re reading right now. Our editorials themselves took second place — our sixth award in that category in the last 12 years. You can see all the details on the awards in a separate story in the print edition or at qchron.com.

Another award we won is about public service. But that’s a large part of what each edition of the Chronicle is about. We are your community newspaper, independent, affiliated with no one else and here to serve, in spring and all seasons.

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