Mighty Oaks From Little Acorns Grow

By Boak Wiesner

A cluster of baby Bur Oaks stops me in my tracks as well as pulls me out of my morning’s reverie – what will these young trees see in their lifetime, I wonder? Though they will not live long enough to see the advance of the next Ice Age, the most recent of which sculpted the landscape of the Arb itself, they will see the more rapid changes due to increased warming.

DSC_0307A bit further on, a full-grown tree with many limbs again stops me. To think, each part of that tree is getting about a quarter-inch bigger all around each year – that’s a lot of carbon dioxide to absorb. Would that it could be enough to lower the amount of that gas in our atmosphere!

DSC_0325Just after I climb onto the boardwalk, I see the tracks of a racoon glistening in the wet mud. As the fruits of plants around here as well as the young of invertebrates and smaller vertebrates, that racoon will have more and more to eat.

DSC_0338Here at high summer, most bird species have stopped singing. But as I get along on the boardwalk, the “witchity-witchity-witch” of a Common Yellowthroat greets me. He perches up on a branch so I think he is observing me – a change of roles!

DSC_0345A Common Whitetail couple joins me on the boardwalk. His brilliant white abdomen is covered in wax particles – it’s called pruinescence – and that’s the source for the name. Now if I could just get some to hang around in my yard to eat up the mosquitoes!

DSC_0352Boak Wiesner is a Minnesota Naturalist Volunteer

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