Week of February 27, 2022 – March 5, 2022

staff member Anna Stunkel Environmental Educator

by Anna Stunkel, Environmental Educator

When hiking in a quiet winter forest, I often feel like trees are friends along the journey. Snow can absorb sound, causing the forest to feel silent and winter animal activity is a bit more secretive. But the skeleton shapes of trees are always there, branches waving in the breeze, welcoming me as I venture along.

On a recent walk around Baltimore Woods, I noticed that there has been quite a bit of snow melt around trees. This is because the trunks give off heat, resulting in a snow well around the base of each tree. Evergreens often have the largest wells since their dark needles tend to absorb (and thus radiate) more heat. I even came across one heart-shaped snow well, which was fitting for the February season.

When exploring a new area, I always enjoy getting to know the trees that live there. Have you met your tree neighbors? Consider going for a slow walk, feeling the bark of trees and looking high into their canopies. How old do you think these trees are? Do you notice any twists and turns in the branches? What might this say about how the surroundings have changed over time?