Nature Notes

Bookmarked for Later

The Scotch pine has long green needles and small cones forming at the end of branches. Needles spread out from the branch like a thinned-out lion’s mane. Small knobs cover the branches.

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By Sydney Chandler

During the transition from winter to spring, many inconspicuous winter sights are full of potential! Plants, scenic views, and locations that we’ve seen during the winter might be particularly interesting to observe as spring takes over the landscape. Here are a few selections from this “Bookmarked for Later” category.

Scotch Pine

The Scotch pine has long green needles and small cones forming at the end of branches. Needles spread out from the branch like a thinned-out lion’s mane. Small knobs cover the branches. How will the cones look as the season progresses? Will they bulge with growth? Will they change color? Will the knobs on each branch become something more?

Green Heron Pond

Melting ice and snow disguise the animal tracks that cover the marshy edges of the Green Heron Pond. Tracks lead along the Wurtele Bog Boardwalk, under the overlook with benches, and into a hole in the ice. Who has been frequenting this pond? Will we be able to catch a glimpse of these sneaky explorers in the spring? Will we overhear their daily activities happening beneath the overlook and boardwalk?

Green Heron Trail

Tree cover hugs many sections of the Three Mile Walk, and this section along Green Heron Trail is no exception. Notice the bare trees, the sky visible above, the open spaces along the forest floor. How will this scene slowly shift as spring arrives? Will different smells and sounds will appear at this particular vantage point on the trail?

In gratitude for seasons, the “same old trail” is never the same trail. Differences become amplified as we transition from winter to spring. Notice the subtle changes early on, the small adjustments that occur throughout the season, and the hints of changes to come. What spots at the Arboretum have you bookmarked for later?

Sydney Chandler is a Minnesota Master Naturalist Volunteer.

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