You heard that right. These incredibly mild winter days have not only brought the people out but also the shoots of skunk cabbage!
This plant is commonly the first 'wildflower' to emerge - growing through snow and ice due to its chemical process which warms it to 15* C - these aren't usually found before February.
We'll keep track of these interesting (but smelly when crushed) plants as they go through their stages.
After yesterday's warm temperatures and heavy rains, all signs of winter's snow have been erased. It was beautifully brisk with mounds of ice needles protruding from the ground. The rains cut a channel down the path, pooling in areas, falling in others. It's a good reminder to wear proper footwear and stay on the path (remember how eroded the trail became in April?). With the quiet surrounding, you can really take in the shapes of the trees, how some branch regularly yet others have a few sturdy limbs, the silhouette of the tree in winter is something to pause upon and take in.
Winter is a great time to go out and see what birds you can find! Not all birds migrate during the winter (although some migrate down from the upper north to visit us during the winter months) and those who stay can start a great foundation on the start of a birding year-list (I'm up to 27 so far this year). With the bare trees, it's easy to notice any unusual movement or fluttering, that's how I spotted this Northern Mockingbird pretending it was a snowball at Barnes Preserve.
For our New Year hike, we traveled up to Silver Creek Metro Park to take in the sights and start the year off with a lovely stroll in the woods (as has become our tradition). It was a bright and brisk morning and it seems many others had the same idea as us! It's a beautiful thing, seeing people bundle up to enjoy nature. Besides all the personal health benefits, it really bodes well for the Earth, knowing that people can form a great appreciation for our natural resources by hiking around parks and natural areas. That appreciation and joy for wandering through the woods can influence people to take a stand against all the things that are destroying our finite natural resources.
Take a moment to think about some of your favorite components of nature, do you have a favorite bird song that ushers in the spring, or perhaps a flower that reminds you of a beautiful time in your life. These are constantly in jeopardy, but as more and more people, more generations, are exposed to all the great things nature has to offer, the more they'll care to save, learn, and work towards innovating new ideas for a clean and sustainable future.
Since 2015 we have been exploring and sharing all the amazing things we’ve found in nature.
Emily is an Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalist who is most often found out in the woods.