Nature Notes from Common Ground

Week of April 26, 2021

Spring Ephemerals are Blooming!

If you love wildflowers, right now is a wonderful time to take a walk in the forest, but you’ve got to act quickly! The spring ephemerals are showing their stuff. “Ephemeral” means “lasting for a short time.”

Spring ephemerals are woodland plants that produce their aboveground parts (stems, leaves and flowers) very early in the spring. They do this to take advantage of the light that reaches the forest floor before the trees grow their leaves back. Once these plants have bloomed and produced seed, they die back, with only their underground parts staying alive until next spring.

These are lovely plants to look at, but please don’t pick them, as this may be their only chance all year to reproduce!


Nature activity of the week

Exploring Mosses

The damp cool days of spring are a great time to explore moss. Take a walk - in the woods, in the park, around your neighborhood, or check out the hike below - almost anywhere will do, preferably somewhere a bit damp and shady. Keep your eyes on the ground, and look for moss.

How many different kinds of moss can you find? Some are brownish-green, some are bright and almost neon, some are soft and velvety, some look like heads of hair! Touch the different mosses gently with your fingertips to feel their textures. Notice where they are growing - a rock in the woods, a crack in the sidewalk, or maybe even the side of a building! Take photos or sketch your mosses. You could even create a moss map of where you find them!

If you want to get to know your moss even better, you can create a moss terrarium. (Just make sure you’re allowed to collect the moss, and don’t take too much from any one place!) Click here for instructions!


Weekly Video

Noticing Nature: Trout Lily
Garter Snakes Mating


Hike of the Week

Fort Hale Park

Each week we share a family-friendly hike or outdoor adventure. Click here to visit Fort Hale Park in New Haven!


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About this series

Our programs for children at Common Ground are place based, hands on, and focus on community, friendship, and nature-based learning and play.

In this time of virtual learning and social distancing, we seek to support teachers and families in getting outside in safe and healthy ways. We hope this series provides content and activities to help your students or your family engage in nature-based learning, whether you are learning in person or virtually.

Some of the funding we rely on to keep Nature Notes free comes from the Robert F. Schumann Foundation and The Claire C. Bennitt Watershed Fund, established by the South Central CT Regional Water Authority.