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Nature Tours Inc.




Issue 16

April 2022

Greetings Enchanted Nature Community

Welcome To The Enchanted Nature Newsletter

Have You Sprung?

Here in the Shenandoah Valley we have had all four seasons compacted into one week! We went from accumulating snow on the ground to temperatures a few degrees south of 90ºf! This all happened within 7 days. 

We have also had tornadoes, hail, and gail force winds.

Thankfully, most of the fruit blossoms and flowers seem to still be intact.  Like humans, plants love the early season warm weather and want to move into their springtime regalia.

We humans are very grateful for our climate controlled homes and love early spring weather but we should always take great concern when such sweeping temperature swings happen. 

When plants like fruit trees blossom early, there is always a risk that a last minute frost could ruin the crop.

One other concern beyond our human need for food and aesthetic enjoyment is that pollinators rely on the spring nectar that flowers/blossoms provide to survive and reproduce for the rest of the season. Honey Bees are gathering nectar and already preparing for next winter before this one has diminished into nothing but a memory.

Soil temperatures are up, indicator plants are blooming, and Morel mushroom hunters are hitting the forest. 

As we compose this newsletter, a heavy rain is moving through the area. 

Area mushroom hunters will most likely be calling in sick to work this week...

To all of our Enchanted Nature readers, please be safe out there. Warm afternoons can turn into hypothermic conditions very quickly and sometimes unexpectedly. Please let someone reliable know when/where you're going and when you expect to return

Remember to stop every now and again to enjoy the natural beauty around you.

Maybe even take a photo to share with your fellow readers.


Aimé Vacher of Massachusetts submitted this pic of (what we believe to be) Mica Caps a.k.a. Coprinus micaceus.

Mica Cap, Coprinus micaceus

Some readers have asked how it is that we are able to identify mushrooms. There are many clues that a mycologist uses. The first (and most obvious) is how it looks. What shape, color, and growth habit does it have. We also consider what season it is.  Mica caps occur in the springtime and grow around decaying wood. You can see the tree stump in the picture and other food sources like wood chips, twigs, and debris. 

This fungus is doing what it was born to do in the ecosystem! It is turning dead, unusable biomass into life giving soil, so that new life can emerge. If you are interested in learning more about mushroom identification and fungi, consider attending our MUSHROOM CLASS.

Aimé Vacher of Massachusetts submitted this pic of Crocus flowers carpeting the ground. 

Aimé said that it went from snow on the ground the day before to spring flowers the next day. 

Thank you for the pretty pic.

We want to thank all of our readers again for sharing their photos!

Please continue sending us your pics and queries: [email protected]   

You can also text your pics & questions to (540) 324-8778.

Pics from the Writers

We were lucky enough to cross paths with our friend Leslie Sturges of Bat Conservation & Rescue of Virginia

We've all seen portable cat and dog kennels but have you ever seen a portable bat house? 

Looks pretty cozy huh?

Below, Leslie models one of her rescues:

Leslie Sturges, Bats

Always GREAT to see you Leslie! If any of you are interested in helping with bat rescue and conservation 

or want to learn more, click here.

While walking to the mailbox, Chris discovered some (what we believe to be) Oyster Mushrooms (Pleurotus ostreatus) growing high up in a dead hardwood tree. Rather than cut down the dead tree, he grabbed the zoom lens for some pics.

While in the forest, soaking up some spring weather, Vicki snapped some pics of Coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara). 

Coltsfoot is European and was probably introduced by early colonial settlers. It is used often in herbal medicine.

Vicki also snapped a pic of these Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis) flowers. 

She said they were closing up shop for the night.

 We just love these delicate perennial wildflowers.

Beekeepers can often tell what's in bloom by the color of the pollen the forager bees are carrying back to the hive.

Looking at the bright red "loaves" of pollen on the back legs of the bees, 

it's evident that Dead nettle (Lamium maculatum) is blooming.

The Forest Knows You

by Christopher Vacher

Because they do not move like we do, communicate like we do, or look like we do, plants and fungi are often considered to be raw materials for human use and consumption. We stomp on them, cut them down, eat them, destroy or pollute their home, and without any regard, many people hold them in a lower standing than the animal kingdom. 

If you attend one of our Enchanted Nature Tours, we spend some time discussing the sentient nature of all living things. This is no longer some, "hoodoo voodoo" idea that was practiced by pagan religious adherents. Science is now proving what many people have known for eons. These fellow Earthly life forms are living, breathing, sentient beings. They feel pain, they communicate, they know and remember you, and they are aware when you are near them. They see without eyes, they hear without ears, and they smell without noses.

Plants and fungi also team up to share...YES, SHARE...nutritional resources with one another. Nature is not a greedy, adversarial template where only, "the strong survive". It is a cooperative living organism that is constantly experiencing death and rebirth. Not only that, humans are a part of this larger organism. As humans, we don't mourn the loss of our friend's skin cell or hair. But when we lose our entire loved one completely, it is emotionally devastating. If we could learn to love the planet in its whole form, we might better care for the health of its many intrinsic living components.

In 2016, Suzanne Simard of British Columbia published her discoveries that trees not only know each other but share information and food. The forest itself is a larger organism composed of many different life forms (organs/isms) that rely on each other to survive as a whole.

Wildflowers are plentiful in spring due to many circumstances. Some depend on the moist conditions brought on by snowmelt. The warming of the ground triggers new growth in the perennial beauties. Many species, particularly woodland wildflowers take advantage of the abundance of light in the woods before the trees leaf out. No matter why they appear, appear they do and it is elating! From Snowdrops to Bloodroot, Trillium, Marsh Marigold, Lady Slippers, Bluebells, Spring Starflowers, May apples, Violets and so very many more the wildflowers put on a spectacular show announcing rebirth and the arrival of spring! 

Spring’s pleasant weather urges us to spend more time out of doors, which is a very good thing. However, don’t be fooled by spring when heading out for a hike, especially if you're headed out where there is no cell phone service.

We always encourage preparedness when hiking or wildflower peeping but spring can be especially tricky.

• Assess the conditions (weather and terrain) before hiking and pick an appropriate location so the hike will be safe and enjoyable. If the weather is risky, wait for a better day.

• Just because you are warm enough when you park the car doesn’t mean you will be once you begin the trail. Layer up and/or pack some extra clothes in your backpack! Wide-ranging changes in the weather are common in spring.

• Shoes play a vital role in your safety and comfort when hiking. Make certain your footwear can accommodate whatever conditions you may encounter. The absence of snow at the beginning of the trail can trick you and as you proceed into higher elevations you could run into snow and ice. 

• Thinking that you can avoid mud in spring is a fools game, not to mention possible water crossings.

• We always recommend carrying trekking poles. They can help you avoid mishaps with mud, ice and water crossings. There are numerous reasons to use trekking poles but most importantly they increase your balance and stability when navigating difficult areas.

• Daylight is still tricky in spring, so always carry a light source just in case your hike unexpectedly takes longer than you planned. No one wants to or should be hiking in darkness without a flashlight or headlamp. 

For more tips about staying safe on your adventures, you can download our free booklet: A Beginner’s Guide To Becoming A Naturalist

Enchanted Nature News

Enchanted Nature Tours inc. would like to thank all of you that participated in our

Introduction to Mycology and Wild Mushroom Foraging Class. We truly hope

that you found it informative and enjoyable. For those of you interested in our next class, which has not been scheduled yet, contact us.


Give the gift of nature! We now offer gift certificates. They can be customized and emailed for any occasion. The gift certificates are available at our Trading Post


You're invited to enjoy an afternoon with us and we're sure that "Our Local Friends" would love to meet you too. These are small local businesses that we support and feel confident recommending. Keep an eye on the page, as we expect the list to grow.

Floating Above It All

is this month's video theme

It is a warm spring day and you are away from all the noise and stress in the forest. 

You won't hear traffic or a phone ring. Just the breeze, birds singing, and sounds of the forest.

Not even gravity can hold you down for this brief moment.

Breathe deep and just float above it all for a couple of minutes. You deserve it!



There are many proven health benefits to spending time in nature. It has also been proven that just looking at images of nature can provide multiple health benefits including: reducing depression, speeding healing, improving your immune system, preventing dementia, improving your mood, and increasing happiness. We end each newsletter with a short video of a natural scene. 

Hopefully the videos will provide you with some of the benefits listed above.

Findings reported in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, suggest that keeping a few snapshots of greenery around yourself might be beneficial. When participants viewed the natural images in the experiment, their stress levels lowered, thanks to the activation of their parasympathetic nervous system – which controls certain rest functions. "Viewing green scenes may thus be particularly effective in supporting relaxation and recovery after experiencing a stressful period and thereby could serve as an opportunity for micro-restorative experiences and a promising tool in preventing chronic stress and stress-related diseases." 

Please be sure to share this newsletter with your friends. 

Word of mouth is the best advertising.

Stay safe and enjoy nature

If you haven't taken the time to explore our website, please do.

There are a lot of free educational resources to enjoy

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