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What's Happening Outside Now - Has Spring Sprung?

By Bill Willis

March 8, 2017

Red Maple Tree
A red maple tree begins to show its red flowers.
Photo courtesy of Bill Willis

The NIEHS campus doesn’t know whether to spring forward or still hunker down. Is this pseudo-spring or just a big tease? Signs of spring around campus:

  • The second driest February on record occurred last month.
  • The tree leaves are emerging from their winter leaf buds.
  • The red bud flowers are showing purple and the Forsythia their yellow.
  • The Canada Geese have begun to pair and are chasing other males away.
  • The snakes are leaving their winter dens and can be seen sunning along the trails.
  • The aquatic turtles are competing for their place on the sunny logs.
  • The purple martin houses are being raised in anticipation of the bird’s return.
  • The bluebird boxes final touches are being done, with birds already picking out their houses.
  • The nuthatches can be heard on campus. Hopefully the nuthatch houses will be put to good use this summer.
  • Wildflower beds will be plowed in March and planted at the end of the month.
  • The riparian zones that were disturbed by the new walking trail will be seeded with a fescue seed blend to help stabilize the shoulders.
  • Invasive plants like Johnson grass, Japanese Lespedeza, and Japanese stilt grass were physically removed when the walking trail was graded.
  • A monarch milkweed garden plot is being checked for new Milkweed sprouts. This natural area is scheduled to become part of the Butterfly Highway program.
  • The Memorial Garden plants have been groomed and mulched with straw.
  • The bee blocks/boxes have been harvested and pupa stored in the refrigerator. The boxes have been cleaned, repaired, and replaced on campus.
  • The algae are responding to the bright days and warmer water temperatures by putting on a growth spurt about three weeks ahead of last year’s calendar.
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