Is spring here? We are waking up and so are the plants.

Spring came this week.  We call it the spring equinox.  The day and night are each about 12 hours.  They are equal lengths of time.   We are about ¼ of the way through the year.   The garden is still under snow but certainly not in a winters sleep.

It’s time to take that first spring walk to listen and watch for activity in the garden, your neighborhood, or backyard.  Find your nature journal or science notebook and head out the door.   (If you are in the northern climate as we are you better remember your coat and boots.  Early spring can still be cold.  It was 6 degrees yesterday morning.)

It may not feel like spring or even look like spring but the signs are there if you are using your close vision.   Here are some things to look for and record in your journal.

  •  Can you hear or see water running?   The snow may be melting even if the temperature is still below zero.   At this time of the year the sun is high enough in the sky to warm the snow and cause melting to happen.
  • Look closely at bushes and small trees.  The buds on each branch are swelling.  They are beginning to grow.   As the days become longer the plants are beginning to emerge from a winters “sleep”.   They are responding to the length of day and warmth of the sun.
  • If you are walking in a wild garden (the woods) you might find plants beginning to emerge from the snow.   Some plants will grow in the cool of spring and others create their own little heat island.  This heat island is called thermogenesis.   Skunk cabbage is one of those plants.  SONY DSC
  • Take time to listen.  The birds are very busy singing to each other.  The birds that have wintered over in your area are beginning to nest and lay their spring eggs.  The birds that have migrated south will not be in our area for a few weeks but there is plenty of activity to watch without them.    In Minnesota there is a pair of Eagles that are protecting their new eggs now.  You can watch then here:
  • http://eaglecam.dnr.state.mn.us/.  

What other signs of spring can you find and record in your nature journal?

About Joanne Toft

I am a retired Minneapolis Public School teacher. I walk, garden, help in schools and write. Life is good!
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