Monday, March 21, 2016

SBFiN South Burlington Families in Nature Easter Sunday Underwood Photos

Page down to read the tale,
Mrs Easter Bunny told me.

South Burlington Families in Nature (SBFiN)  Underwood Park Walk, Easter Sunday          2 pm to 3 pm: Sanctioned by our partner the SB Rec & Parks department.

Nine total guests attended (all adults). 
Lorene Chickering, Helen & Ted Riehle, Kathy Backes (party of 3), Carol Hignte, Dot Myer, Donnna Leban. Guide: Bernie Paquette

Larry Kupferman joined me on Wednesday on a two party Underwood Walk.

Song Sparrow telling us it is spring.


Wow, Underwood Natural Area is a large parcel.

That's a plant called Scouring Rush (Equisetum hyemale). It is actually not a rush at all, in the botanical sense. It's a "Horsetail", which is the group of plants in the Equisitaceae family.[Note the ridged, segmented stems.] These interesting plants have no proper leaves, and instead photosynthesize through their stems. The stems are very rich in silica, giving them a gritty texture, hence the "scouring" common name. Indeed, you can use a handful to scrub pots and pans fairly effectively.
These are often considered examples of "living fossils." While there are no T Rex at Underwood, there are examples of flora that the T Rex were trampling. These were around before flowering plants ever evolved! Sean Beckett, UVM

The Easter Bunny

The Easter Bunny quietly peaked out of the tall grasses while I was walking the Underwood Park path earlier this week. She folded back her ears waiting for me to bend down close to her and hear what she had to say. 

Her long thin whiskers twitched with excitement. I knew then that she had something unusual and important to tell me.

She swore me to secrecy, except that I could relay this story to only those who understood the magic of Easter.

To my surprise, her story as she relayed it to me, spoke not of Easter eggs, though she surely could tell many a colorful basket-full of tales sweeter than ever.

Instead, the Easter Bunny, first looking right, and then left, then behind her, started to tell me a tale as bushy and beautiful as her own bunny tail.

She whispered so softly I could barely hear her above the swishing of the swaying grasses. I leaned in closer, so close I could feel the soft fur of Mrs. Bunny against my face and ticking my nose.

She began, “A long, long, long time, ago, a young bunny nicknamed ‘MB’ born along with 21 siblings (brothers and sisters) - longed to make the tradition of Easter eggs even more special for a few nature loving children.

So each year while her brothers and sister gathered eggs, and dutifully painted them in preparation of Easter, she secretly gathered Magic Beans; not the kind that Jack used to grow a beanstalk into the clouds. These magic beans were even more special.

MB’s magic beans came in different colors just as the children who would receive them are different colors. Their magic only works if the child receiving them observes nature carefully for all its magical secrets. MB also added a touch of gentleness and caring to each magic bean so that the children would pass on the same to Mother Nature.

This Magic Bean tradition, handed down to only one special bunny, occurs only rarely." And so Mrs. Rabbit ended her story, again looking all around to insure the secret was safe.

Mrs. Rabbit added slyly that in order for the magic to continue the children who receive one of these magic beans must tell others about the magic of observing nature and of the many secrets, the outdoors offers to those willing to stop, look, and listen.

Before she bound away in quick successive hops, she told me where to find a few, (one for each child) of these Easter Magic Beans. 

I scouted the area we will be walking  on 3/21 (Underwood field only- we will not walk the wooded area at this event). Below are some photos of what we might see and perhaps what we might discuss.

To view the SBFiN mission statement, goals, objectives, click here

On 3/21 most of the path looked like this:
However some parts of the path looked like this. And the entire path was at least spongy. Therefore mud or winter boots recommended.

Here are some of my observations from my scouting trip to Underwood park. Perhaps we might see these and more. Also here are some thoughts and questions we might discuss as we Stop, Look, and Listen on our Underwood Park walk, in South Burlington, VT. 

Why are some patches of the tall grasses almost white compare to the surrounding grasses?

Is that Bigfoot?

How are the Queen Anne's Lace dead flowers like snowflakes?

How many different patterns of Queen Anne's Lace flower heads can you find? How many different patterns do you think there are of Q.A.Lace flower heads?

 How did the pine cones get on the path, so far from the trees? And why is this a good thing for the parent trees?

What is the relation of Wolly Bear Caterpillars and the winter weather forecast?

What else has walked these paths recently? What clues can you find? Can you identify what animal left them?

Isn't it great to live in an age and a city with natural open spaces and no dinosaurs roaming about eating people like chicken-nuggets? ~Bernie

How many types of plant seeds can you find? How are they each dispersed?

  I think I spotted a heard of cats; did you?

 What feature of cats did you see many of?

What other observations will you make along the Underwood Walk? 

Click SBFiN for more information about the program, resources, park photos, maps and more.

SBFiN Mission
 Connect children and their families to nature and to each other through time spent walking along SB natural area trails, observing and learning, outdoors. ~Bernie Paquette, Executive Director of SBFiN

SBFiN Program description 
South Burlington Families in Nature offers Community Outreach walks 2x per month from spring through fall.  The goal of our Community Outreach Program is to introduce families to SB natural areas through guided walks, and nature observations.