Nature Notes: Spring Ephemerals

May is a month of treasure hunts. I like to explore the outdoors with a specific treasure in mind. How many butterflies can I find today? How many turtles and frogs can I count down at the pond? How many bird nests can I see in our yard? My favorite treasures to find are the ephemerals – the earliest of our spring wildflowers. So where do you look to find these blossoms? First you have to know a couple of things about our flowers.

Our native trees typically bear the first flowers that we see in the spring. This is because most of our native trees are wind pollinated, so their flowers must emerge before their leaves, otherwise the leaves would get in the way of the wind moving the pollen around. Tree flowers  don’t always look like your “typical” flowers, so take a peek because their flowering period is coming to a close!


Quaking Aspen flowers – not  a “typical” flower. 5/4/16

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Can the Planet Power Pals Save the Earth?

We’re happy to be hosting four weeks of earth-saving, planet-protecting, veggie-eating


Eco Camp is truly a hands on experience.

fun this summer. But, we need your help! We’ve been hosting our Eco Camps for the last decade and have countless adventures, but this year we’re introducing a fun way to participate.

Coming to this year’s Eco Camps are the Planet Power Pals. This earth-saving team is taking new recruits for the summer. You can be a part of the newest planet-protecting team if you fall under the following requirements:

Super Hero Team          Training Dates           Age

Raccoon Rascals           June 13-17               Grades 1-2

Bear Brigade                 June 27-July 1         Grades 3-4

Bat Battalion                July 11-15                  Grades 5-6

Rabbit Rangers            Aug 8-12                   Pre-K (Ages 4&5)


The Planet Power Pals are here to save the day!

Program Manager, Quinn Swanson, said about the upcoming summer camps, “I love the enthusiasm of the campers. Even if it’s their first time, they’re eager to get their hands dirty.”

There are a tons of “training” activities and field trips for the recruits planned each week.


Planet Power Pals are all smiles!

Program Specialist Nora Woodworth said, “My favorite activities are the nature walks. We have tons of trails winding through the forest and by water. We spend a lot of time outside. It’s the best.”

Even though we always need fresh recruits into the Plant Power Pals academy, we love seeing our returning super heroes. Program Assistant, Michelle Hoefs said, “I look forward to Eco Camp every year. I love seeing the new and returning faces of the campers. When we have campers return, it shows to me that we’re doing something right, that others think we’re doing something well.”

We require at least five cadets for each training session. (We’ll make the call two weeks before each session.) Registration will continue through to the first day of each training session of each week if we get enough cadets (providing there is space). So, get your registrations in!

Your planet needs your help! We’re all counting on you!

The 30×30 Challenge!

30x30 challengeThe month of May is finally here and arriving with it is the wonderful spring weather we have been waiting for! May offers the perfect opportunity to spend some time outdoors, for several different reasons: 1. It’s beautiful outside. 2. It’s a phenological explosion!  3. Many of us have a severe nature deficiency after hiding inside during the cold of winter.  4. It’s beautiful outside. Did I already say that? Continue reading