Saturday, March 19, 2016

Springing Forward

Morels of spring 2013 - from "Mushroom Annee" Yarnton
This year "spring forward" applies to nature as well as our "beloved" daylight savings time.  Everything is a week or two ahead of schedule.  According to news just out in Time Magazine: "Global temperatures in February were the most above average since weather record keeping began nearly 150 years ago, bringing the world the closest it has ever been to what scientists consider dangerous levels of warming, a federal government agency confirmed Thursday."  To confirm this, the latest is news of morels found at several locations in southwest Missouri already.  Wonder where.....well DUH!  You expected GPS readings?

Our friend Jeff Cantrell, the MDC educator from the Joplin area sent us a nice description of a spring trip you might consider, along with some enticing photographs.  Here is a guest blog from Jeff with his photographs:

Buds are bursting open - Cantrell
One of the best things about having a “weekend” on a Wednesday/Thursday combo is you can savor several thousand acres of the Mark Twain National Forest to yourself. I spent 6 hours there this morning and I never saw one human being. Solitude can have many meanings; “pure soul refreshing” is one of them.

Piney Creek Wilderness (Barry County) can be one of your favorite starting points for chasing spring, it is mine. What happens here will be taking place in a matter of days in Newton, Lawrence, Christian, Dade counties and perhaps in over a week in Jasper, Cedar, Vernon and Barton... This “Wilderness” is latitude-even with southern McDonald County so there should be equal riches taking place in McDonald as well.

Their serviceberry are ahead of ours - Cantrell
The serviceberry are providing a mid-canopy, white petal-cloud layer against the pines and it is striking from a distance. Plus, you can hand pick your favorite scene by framing the blooms against the dark short-leafs, the blue sky, individually or in a floral swarm.

Spring Beauty - Claytonia virginica - Cantrell
Spiderwort - Tradescantia ernestiana. - Cantrell
Pine warblers and white-throated sparrows were in chorus, little midland brown snakes have emerged, and five species of butterflies were out. The ephemerals consisted of bloodroot, toothwort, harbinger of spring, Sweet William, pussy toes, violets, woodland spiderwort (cow slober), spring beauty and false rue anemone (wind flower). The holler/ wet areas harbored southern leopard frogs, peepers, western chorus, and American toads. My mind wandered as always to sleeping Ursids (black bears), wondering what they were dreaming of?

So if you are off this weekend, you might check out Big Sugar State Park, Piney Creek, or other southern Master Naturalist region targets. The life is opening up in our direction and changes daily.

Enjoy! It is a great time of year. - Jeff


  1. Nice! The trout lilies are starting to bloom and the first mayapples are up in the Boston's. Nice time to hike there. But I've got to get out here in SoMO and have a look for morels - they always elude me!

  2. Beautiful nature and flower shots and excellent phlog as well. =0)