April Wildflowers

A springtime walk along the woodland trails at The Brandwein Nature Learning Preserve will reward the observer with the welcome sight of spring ephemerals. These early and often inconspicuous wildflowers decorate the forest floor while sunshine can still penetrate the tree canopy above them. Soon the trees’ leaves will emerge casting the forest floor in shade and these wildflowers will have completed their annual appearance between the snowmelt and leaf-out. The wildflowers featured in this video include Bloodroot, Yellow Trout Lily, Rue Anemone, Red Trillium, Common Blue Violet, Downy Yellow Violet, Long-spurred Violet, and Wood Anemone. (Photos and narration by Sara Mayes)

 

An Old Friend

ancient tree

Well, old friend, you are still here — guiding my eyes and letting thoughts scramble among a million rays seeking pieces of the stories you have spun into our galaxy. Once brave and hearty, thrusting up branches and clothing them annually with soft greens against the blue skies. Once overseeing the conversion of forests to pasture and acknowledging the herds of Holsteins and the wandering of the deer. Once a bulwark against the ferociousness of wayward hurricanes — twisting, trembling, as they left erratic paths of wanton destruction. Once a citadel offering haven to the flustered — to those desperate for a refuge from the fear of attack. Even in your passage to death you provide fungal respite, temporary shelter, a snag or two of firewood. Old friend, rest easy and rest assured that you did not exist in vain.

Richard (Dick) Arnold, original Brandwein Fellow and Brandwein Medal awardee

 

Observing Birds

The Brandwein Nature Learning preserve is alive with an assortment of native wild bird species that occupy a variety of niches. These wild birds look and behave differently depending on where they live, what they eat, and what role they play as members of their natural communities. Birds can be found almost everywhere: in the air, on the water, in the tree canopy, or on the forest floor. Listen for the sounds of birds such as woodpeckers tapping or hammering, and birds singing or calling. Watch for birds in motion: hopping from branch to branch, swimming or wading in the pond, walking through the grass in search of food, soaring overhead, or flying to safety. Observe bird behaviors such as, bathing, preening, food gathering, hiding, and flocking. Look for clues of bird activity such as nests, feathers, woodpecker holes in a tree’s bark, footprints in sand, snow, or mud. Whether you’re at a city park or in the countryside, on the beach or in your own backyard, go in search of birds. Their beauty and diversity will amaze you! (Production and narration by Sara Mayes; photos thanks to contributors at https://pixabay.com)