Tag Archive: Spring

The Smell of Spring?

February 17, 2023 - By Ellen Powell, DOF Conservation Education Coordinator I’m on a mission to teach you that plants are cool. They may look like they’re just sitting there, but they’re hiding superpowers. Watch this blog in 2023 for more posts about amazing Virginia plants!   In the dead of winter, from the muck of a woodland seep, rises a hooded figure of mottled purple, the color of dead flesh. Undeterred by snow... Read More

The Early Caterpillar Gets the Leaf!

May 12, 2021 - By Katlin DeWitt, DOF Forest Health Specialist Spring is a welcome season for many living things, signaling the end of cold weather and resurgence of color through plants blooming and leafing out. This period of awakening also means that insects emerge and utilize tender foliage for their own development. Forests support many insects throughout their life cycle, but some Lepidopteran species (butterflies and moths) are called early season defoliators, meaning... Read More

Flower Power

April 28, 2021 - By Ellen Powell, DOF Conservation Education Coordinator As a botany enthusiast, I spend a lot of spring hikes looking down, seeking out flashes of white and pops of color from early spring wildflowers. Fortunately, when I get tired of staring at the forest floor, there are blooms to be seen at eye level and above, thanks to our spring-blooming native trees and shrubs. I should first note that all of... Read More

Field Notes: The Early Shrub Gets the Sun

March 31, 2021 - By Ellen Powell, DOF Conservation Education Coordinator With recent warm weather, Virginia’s woods are greening fast. After a dormant winter, plants gear up for photosynthesis again, using carbon dioxide, water, and sunlight to make food. You might be familiar with some early spring wildflowers that emerge on the forest floor, taking full advantage of the leafless canopy to gather some sun of their own before being shaded out by trees.... Read More

Field Notes: Wandering the Winter Woods

March 16, 2021 - By Ellen Powell, DOF Conservation Education Coordinator A few weeks ago, on a cold but sunny day, I visited Paul State Forest in Rockingham County for the first time. It was a great place for a winter woods walk. The Paul became a State Forest in 1962 – a gift to the state from a local judge, John Paul. The forest is included in the Department of Wildlife Resources’ (DWR)... Read More

Field Notes: Sounds of Spring

April 10, 2020 - by Ellen Powell, conservation educator The flush of green suffusing our woodlands isn’t the only signal that spring is here. If a daily dawn chorus wakes you this month, it likely includes our state bird, the northern cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis). This species is a bit unusual, in that both males and females sing, providing a familiar soundtrack in woodland edges and thickets statewide. Learn more about cardinals and listen to... Read More

Field Notes: What’s in the Woods? Daffodils!

February 25, 2020 - by Area Forester Lisa Deaton Daffodils, Narcissus spp., are always a welcome sight — they are nature’s colorful announcement that spring is near! When we encounter daffodils in the middle of the woods, they are often a sign of an abandoned homestead. In the photos below, the flowers appear to surround an old shed or well (left), and these blooms near an old brick foundation (right) have thrived under 70... Read More

Field Notes: What’s in the Woods Today? April 22, 2019

April 22, 2019 - by Area Forester Lisa Deaton Two Snake Day! Last week the sun was shining, and the fresh spring foliage and flowers were lovely.  The road in the photo above was a Gloucester County state road until Beaverdam Reservoir was built in 1989,  submerging a section of this road. Pawpaw blooms (Asimina triloba) Eastern redbud blooms can resemble tiny hummingbirds. (Cercis canadensis) Then I almost stepped on a copperhead snake heading... Read More

Field Notes: The Beauty of March

March 23, 2018 - by DOF Area Forester Richard Reuse March and April are the most beautiful months in Virginia. Relative humidity is low, the spring ephemeral wildflowers are blooming and the bugs aren’t out yet….except for the ticks. Here are some of the things I’ve seen this month. These are trout lilies. It’s very unusual to find them in eastern Virginia. Oh deer…there’s a fungus among us. A nice loblolly pine stand that... Read More