A Taste of Spring in Early Winter

By Holly Einess On this bright and mild morning, I decide to continue my earlier exploration of the Dog Trails. As I drive past Andrus Learning Center, on my way there, I see a “Trail to Hilltop Parking” sign. Why drive when I could hike? I park my car and set off. The trail winds…

Winter Lights

By Mary Beth Pottratz The noon sun sits low in the sky as we near the winter solstice, or shortest day of the year. The sun is at its furthest point from our equator. Less than two weeks before our days will start to lengthen! Noon Sun Despite the low sun, today’s 29⁰ with low…

Snow Tacos and Tracking Up a Tree

By Sydney Chandler Fresh snow changes what we see in the landscape and it draws our attention to new observations. At the Arboretum, there is a magical perfection of untouched snow. In contrast, there are disturbances that tell stories of “Who?” and “What happened?” Fothergilla a.k.a. Snow Tacos At the Arboretum, colors and smells typically…

Late Fall Findings

By Mary Beth Pottratz There are still a few white berries red-osier dogwood; most have been eaten by birds and other animals. Pale golden tamarack needles dust the pathway, and some are still on the trees. Mixed with pale golden gingko leaves, it is a study in monotone texture. Tamarack Needles The Rose Garden and…

Promise of Sun

By Greg Lecker It’s cold but breaks of sun offer a promise of warmth.  Between the Ordway Shelter and Green Heron Pond, a bit of warmth attracts my attention.  The sun glows within a clump of witch hazel.  I approach to study the shrub border. Witch Hazel Witch hazel is a large rounded native shrub…

Plenty of Nature on the Dog Trails

By Holly Einess I arrive at the Arboretum on a cold and cloudy day in the mood to explore some new territory. Looking over the map I’ve grabbed from Oswald Visitor Center, the Dog Trails catch my eye. I’m told by the volunteers at the visitors’ desk that the trails are well worth a hike…

Exploring the Forest Floor

By Sydney Chandler A beautiful fall day: the leaves on the trees are few, the blanket of leaves on the floor is deep, and the camouflaged forest floor prompts curiosity and mysteries. Bare Trees On this fall day, drops of blood along the Wood Duck Trail create a spooky Halloween mystery. The trail of blood…

Beneath the Surface

By Greg Lecker The windy, gray day passes a rumor of clearing and sun.  As I walk along the path on the south side of Green Heron Pond, a red squirrel chatters at me.  A chipmunk – or ground squirrel – darts across the path and dives into its burrow. Front Door for a Chipmunk…

Sights and Sounds on Spring Peeper Trail

By Holly Einess After several cloudy days, and more on the way, I take this sunny morning as an opportunity to check out the fall colors at the Arboretum. I drop behind the Snyder Building down to the small pond below the waterfall, where a pair of mallard ducks cuts a path through the duckweed,…

Early Autumn Jewels

By Greg Lecker I leave the Trex deck overlook below the Ordway Shelter and enter the path that winds around the north side of Green Heron Pond. Immediately, a cluster of blue berries catches my attention. Arrowwood with Berries A thickly branched bush is flush with dark green leaves and laden with intensely blue berries. …