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Walking in Beauty

March 27, 2024

Starting fresh

Spring is a time of renewal, when flowers bloom, animals and insects awake from winter hibernation and the days become longer and warmer. Join our spring hike on Saturday, April 20, at 10 a.m. at Brennan Woods.

The first tastes of spring came to Clear Lake preserves in the form of emerging plants; tiny, delicate spring ephemerals; and striking scarlet elf cups. At first, I thought the reddish bit protruding from the leaf litter was human debris. Thin and spongy, the red side was glossy and the outside, soft and felty.

Though widely distributed across the planet, scarlet elf cups are rare. They are among only a few mushrooms that appear in below-freezing conditions, growing on decaying sticks and branches beneath leaf litter.

This little pop of color stood out at Elizabeth Hanna Nature Preserve. It is a scarlet elf cup, an early spring mushroom.

Garlic mustard, true to its name, has a garlic aroma when crushed. It is an invasive species that can spread across a forest floor, competing with native plants. Clear Lake Township Land Conservancy will host a garlic mustard pull on Friday, April 26, at 10 a.m. at Elizabeth Hanna and Waterfield preserves.

Image Description Here
Garlic mustard is a biennial plant that starts as a bunch of vegetation like this the first year and produces flowers that go to seed the second year.

By Amy Oberlin
Land Steward

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