Naturalist Notes: December, 2018

>> Naturalist Notes & Musings:

December is here and the days just keep getting shorter. The phenomenon of long days in the summer and shorter ones in the winter is one that we learn to live with, but it’s the real calendar for the comings, goings, and doings of Nature.

While quite a few organisms base their seasonal cycles of sprouting, flowering, hibernation and mating on temperature, many can’t trust the vagaries of temperature, and use day length as a much more reliable indicator of what is in store for them or their progeny. Snowstorms in October and 65 degree days in January are very real possibilities, and could easily trick plants and animals into thinking that the seasons are farther along than they really are; sometimes with deadly results. Snapping out of dormancy too soon, when there are still months of winter left could be catastrophic!

Once we get into January and bitter weather is really upon us, keep your chin up: it might be cold and wintry, but the days will just keep getting longer!

See you on the trails,

Marc Gussen, Naturalist



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