Tree Farm Trail

We walked the Tree Farm Trail at the Horseshoe Pond area of Cuyahoga Valley National Park last evening with the kids. We got to watch a great blue heron patiently waiting for a chance to spear its dinner in the shallows of the pond. Also saw greater lobelia along the connector trail that takes you to the picnic shelter on the peninsula of Horseshoe Pond.

Back to the topic of the Asters of September, we did see smooth aster, and New England aster along the trail, as well as a host of other beautiful late season wildflowers. This is the perfect time to get out and see these wonderful colorful natural works of art.

I could feel winter moving closer, and see fall in the yellowing leaves of the maples and ashes. Get outside and see the wildflowers before the opportunity is gone for the year. Time flies.


Fall migrations playing near you!

My last post, about the Asters of September, reminded me that we will soon be seeing lots of changes in Nature. Late summer and fall is the time of wildlife migration. Birds, butterflies, dragonflies,, whales, bats and other creatures change their routines at this time. In Northeast Ohio, we are blessed with several flyways crossing our skies.

This month and next month are a great time to get out and explore Nature, witnessing the diversity of wildlife as the birds fly through. We have some great federal parks and preserves in Ohio, and an abundance of state lands suitable for observing bird migrations as well.

Check out this article from about fall migrations to learn a bit more: eNature: The Fall Lineup.


You choose- Spring or late summer wild flowers?

I used to pine for the coming of spring, with its trillium, and violets, and spring cress, and toothwort. From the depths of the winter with its colorless lull, I would envision the spring ephemerals and believe these spring beauties were the most magnificent of all.

Now I know, as I remember each year after August, that it is the asters of September that hold the crown. I take that back. It is not just the asters, it is late summer wildflowers in general that deserve the title of the most vibrant visions across the landscape. The goldenrods, asters, Joe Pye, ironweed, thistles. All of these create a tapestry of color on the September hills.

Today I was out on the Cross Country Trail at Virginia Kendall (Cuyahoga Valley National Park). Dozens of wild flowers lined the trail, both in the forested and field sections of the trail. September is the perfect time to see white snake root among other things. White berries weigh down the slender branches of gray dogwood shrubs. Berries abound on non-native Russian Olives, Hawthorns, Doll’s Eye, and many other plants.

After reading naturalist William Hudson’s “Tribute to Late Bloomers”, and getting out to explore Nature in the September sunshine, I think you’ll agree that the Asters and wildflowers of September are a sight we should always remember.

What do you think?


Western Reserve Land Conservancy – Plain Dealer Living News –

Western Reserve Land Conservancy – Plain Dealer Living News –

Here is an article about a program I gave last month-I missed it in the newspaper, but just found it online randomly. One of the most important things we can do for Nature is to conserve habitats. Read more about land conservation at Western Reserve Land Conservancy’s web page.


Hocking Hills the Fall

I have always loved the other-worldly feel of the Hocking Hills area. The rock outcroppings, caves, mature forests and hilly landscape all make for some exciting and sometimes challenging hiking. Not to mention the feeling that you are walking through a natural “place of power”. It just feels to me like the Earth’s energy is very close to the surface in the region. You can close your eyes and almost feel the vital energy that holds us all together pulsing through the rocks and trees and streams. Check out this Plain Dealer article to learn more about the hunting, fishing, and natural relaxation options:

Hocking Hills fine in the fall – Cleveland Outdoors by D’Arcy Egan | The Plain Dealer –