Although 2020 has had its share of unwelcome surprises, the seasonal changes we experience as summer fades to autumn are wonderful gifts from Mother Nature. Cooler weather accompanied by colorful landscapes will soon be here for everyone to enjoy.
In its own unique way, autumn actually awaits us each year. The yellow and orange hues that we see among the leaves of the trees are present throughout the warmer months, but are mostly hidden beneath the green chloroplasts that overtake the leaves during the summer. When the days begin to shorten and temperatures drop, trees will photosynthesize less, which will decrease the production of chlorophyll, leaving behind wonderful shades of autumn colors some of which had been there all along.
As the trees begin to change, brightly colored insects have emerged from their chrysalises after a long-awaited metamorphosis from caterpillar to butterfly. Monarchs will now embark on their incredible southward journey across North America. Many of these resilient butterflies will travel over 2,000 miles to their wintering grounds in Mexico. Their orange and black patterned wings can be seen contrasting against blue skies on sunny days.
Looking for ways to enjoy the outdoors this autumn? Consider attending the Fall Forest Sketch and Seek at the Lowry Nature Center on Saturday, Sept. 26 where participants will explore the forest and fall colors with a naturalist and artist. Reservations are required four days prior at threeriversparks.org.
The trails at the Lowry Nature Center are open daily from 5 a.m. until 10 p.m. There are many activities that you can do that do not require any fees or reservations including going for a hike on one of seven different hiking trails, visiting the Nature Exploration Area, viewing wildlife, and more!
Stay safe, stay healthy, and enjoy autumn!
Josh Sweet is an office support assistant with the Lowry Nature Center. He can be reached with questions at [email protected] Take 5 for Nature is a quarterly column from staff at the Lowry Nature Center, part of Three Rivers Park District, located in Victoria. The column aims to provide readers with information about what is taking place in the natural world around us.