Nature Tours Inc.
THE ENCHANTED NATURE NEWSLETTER
Greetings fellow nature lovers
Welcome To The Enchanted Nature Newsletter
On this Memorial Day weekend, we want to say THANK YOU to all military veterans and their families.
The World Turns Green
Spring always starts with a spectacular show of colorful blooms and after the short dark days of winter, flowers are always a most welcome sight.
Because of the sensational colors, flowers tend to steal the proverbial show.
However, the development of green leaves is exciting too. From small, pale-green buds the size of a squirrel's ear developing into large dark green, botanical solar panels adorning the stalwart trees, LEAVES ARE AMAZING!
We are not limited to loving only one part of nature. We should look for the beauty in ALL of nature. The more beauty that you search for, the more you will find. From the tiniest grain of pollen to the huge towering trees, beauty is ubiquitous in nature.
In this issue, we have some excellent photos, discuss deciduous foliage,
and have a new video for your enjoyment.
Pics From Our Readers
Jack Wilson, an Enchanted Nature reader, a good friend, and an avid naturalist provided some outstanding pictures of Morel (Morchella spp.) mushrooms hiding on the forest floor and challenged us to find the hidden treasures in his pics.
Morel mushrooms grow in the spring, often concealing themselves amongst leaf litter. Their color and texture create a near perfect camouflage making it frustratingly challenging to find them.
For the lucky (and patient) mushroom hunter, they provide a gustatory treat.
Can you pass Jack's test?
We added a second copy of each picture with arrows and circles to help you develop your "eye".
They can be quite difficult for the untrained eye to spot! Let's try a couple more...
We want to express our heartfelt gratitude to Jack Wilson for providing
these excellent photos and the fun that they provided! Thank you Jack!
...in Jack's dreams
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:
While working in the vegetable garden, this Fowler's Toad decided to watch a human (Chris) toiling in the soil. He was probably thinking, "Why don't you just eat insects like me.? It's a whole lot less work."
Like ornithologists, herpetologists often don't see the animal but hear them.
Knowing an animal's call is a necessary tool for every naturalist trying to identify the fauna in a particular ecosystem. When multiple frogs and toads sing, we call it a "chorus".
Do you think the Fowler's Toad is ready for Carnegie Hall?
The sound will open in a new tab/page. Just close when you're done to return.
Thank you for sharing your photos!
Please share your photos and questions with us: [email protected]
The Spring Tree
by Christopher Vacher
As we mentioned above, spring flowers tend to grab our attention with their seductive shapes and colors.
While we are being distracted by the colorful, kaleidoscopic display, humble deciduous trees sprout and grow leaves, while pastures turn from straw colored turf to emerald green fields.
"To sit in the shade on a fine day and look upon verdure
is the most perfect refreshment"- Jane Austen
Modern-day farmers use tools like soil temperatures, average frost dates, and a list of other scientific data to make decisions regarding planting their crops.
Not long ago, they relied on phenology to make decisions. This often resulted in sayings like, "When the the Oak buds are as big as a squirrel's ear, plant your corn. Farmers knew that the trees were more "in tune" with nature than humans were. Through observation and records, they discovered that after the Oak buds were as large as a squirrel's ear, you could safely plant your corn. It would successfully germinate and the chances of a killing frost were greatly reduced.
So how does a deciduous tree know when to shed it's leaves and when to allow winter buds to grow in the springtime. The truth is that botanists aren't exactly sure. It obviously has to do with day length, as well as temperatures both in the air and soil. The process is not the same in all plants. There is still a lot to be learned.
It was discovered in the 1960's that some plants produce a hormone known as Abscisic Acid (ABA) which tells the plant to produce "terminal buds" for winter. This hormonal signal slows leaf growth and instructs the leaf primordia to produce scales to protect dormant leaf buds during cold weather. ABA also instructs the leaves to stop producing chlorophyll allowing the other pigments in the leaves to show through (fall color) and eventually allowing the leaves to part from (abscise) the tree. ABA signals to the the vascular tissue in the cambium layer to stop growing. What does that mean you ask? Those annual rings that you see inside of a log or tree trunk stop growing during the cold weather.
Thank goodness for leaves. They cool the Earth from the hot summer sun, turn CO2 into oxygen, prevent erosion by slowing rainfall, provide habitat and create amazingly cozy places to hike along the forest floor.
Next time you're under a tree...look up. There is beauty in those branches.
*Enchanted Nature News*
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
We have added a new web page called, "Our Local Friends". 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.
Spring is here!!! Time to start thinking about planting. Plant a flower, plant a tree, or plant a whole area for pollinators. Whether it's in the ground or in a pot, just plant something after your frost date
If you have any nature, gardening, or horticultural questions or comments, feel free to send them to [email protected]
We are booking tours now. The weather is warm. Wildflowers are blooming. Don't miss the magic. Sign up to spend a day with us being enchanted by nature.
Note: I received a few comments about our LAST VIDEO...
In the last video, I took you along for a solo hike that I did. At the end of the video, there is a rather steep ascent and you can hear me breathing rather heavily. Rather than edit that part out, I thought it would be entertaining. It should be made clear that we do not tackle such challenging hikes on our nature tours!
is this month's video theme
In this video, we take a couple of minutes to look up from the forest floor.
The holiday weekend here has been a little wet, but water can add beauty to already sensational scenery.
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." Take a deep breath, hold it, and let it out slowly as you relax.
NATURE IS CALLING, WILL YOU ANSWER
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 plan on ending each newsletter with a short video of a natural scene. Hopefully the videos will provide you with some of the benefits listed above.
If you don't see the video, link to the it here: https://vimeo.com/556941973
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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