Fall Foliage and Tree Identification

Autumn is one of the best times to identify trees using their foliage colors. Each species of tree turns color in its own time, making it easy to pick them out in the landscape. First, we see the Sugar maples beginning to turn yellow-orange and the Red maples right behind, turning red as you might expect. Locust trees turn yellow early and are among the first to lose their leaves. The Flowering dogwoods, common to both yards and forested areas, show maroon leaves with bright red berry clusters favored by winter bird residents including cardinals, titmice, juncos, and waxwings.

Hawthorn species also have bright red fruits at this time of year, as do apple and plum trees. Birds and mammals eat the fruit and spread the seed in fertilized piles. The uncommon Black tupelo is beginning to show fiery red hues. And the blueberries of the Virginia creeper, feed migrant bluebirds, thrushes, vireos, warblers, and even Wild turkey.

Most leaves will fall a week or so after turning. In mid-October, look for the yellows of hickory and birch as well as the multi-hued tones of Sassafras, a gorgeous tree with three distinctive leaf shapes. Later in the month, look for the golden-brown American beech, which holds its papery leaves all winter, and the assortment of native oaks. White oak turn yellow, Black oak turn yellow-orange, and Red oak turn reddish. The shrubby Maple-leaved viburnums will show maroon leaves, and invasive burning bush will boast bright reds. Native blueberries, which also turn red, are a better alternative for home landscaping.

This Sunday, October 7 join us on a Fall Foliage Hike, a moderate 3-mile walk through the woods. Meet at Lewisboro Town Park upper parking lot, Rte 35, South Salem at 10 am and experience and enjoy the beauty of autumn.

Written by: Krista Munger

Monarchs Are On The Upswing

Seen more monarch butterflies lately?

It seems so. Their sad saga is well known–a population collapse of over 90% in a few short years as the milkweed plant they depend upon is wiped out by Roundup herbicide. But citizens, land trusts, and even states have responded with ‘pollinator pathways’–gardens, roadsides, and parks planted with milkweed and other natives. At Old Field Preserve in Lewisboro, we saw over a dozen colorful monarchs in a sea of milkweed, goldenrod, and asters that had until recently been nothing but invasive shrubs. We counted 16 monarch caterpillars on a single orange milkweed in our garden.

Wishful thinking? Perhaps not. The monarch may follow the remarkable recovery of the coontie hairstreak butterfly. Famed wildlife ecologist Doug Tallamy told us, at a Lewisboro Land Trust lecture, that the coontie hairstreak was considered extinct until recently. This Florida native is wholly dependent on the coontie plant, a plant that nearly disappeared due to over-harvesting. But in 1979, a lone butterfly colony was found on an island off Miami.

Coincidentally, real estate developers there were being encouraged to landscape with native plants, one of which was the coontie. The plant came back, the butterfly came back. It can happen if we give nature a chance.

Common milkweeds are nice, but orange, swamp, and purple milkweed are even better with fantastic flowers that last a good part of the summer. Collect or buy the seeds now, sprout them in damp paper towels, place in baggies in springtime and wait for the monarch show.

Author: Jim Nordgren

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Record Review Article: Land Trust program for disabled and disadvantaged expanding.

Having fulfilled much of our original mission to preserve open space in Lewisboro, the Lewisboro Land Trust has shifted gears to an emphasis on environmental education and exposure, or as our tagline says, “linking people to the land.” As part of that mission, LLT introduced the Access Nature program three years ago. The goal of the program is to provide disabled and disadvantaged individuals, with an easy comfortable, and safe experience with nature and to connect them with the benefits it provides. According to our Co-Chair Bonnie Robins, “The success we’ve had and the need we’ve identified have caused us to embark on expanding the program. We’ve discovered that the need and desire for this is almost endless.”

During the pilot, we ran programs with the intellectually challenged and the mentally ill, persons with brain injuries, and non-English speaking immigrant families and children who live in our communities. The response has been overwhelmingly positive. Among the many benefits experienced by participants are reduced anxiety and depression, a sense of well being, stimulation of cognitive functiioning and creative poroblem solving, socialization and an increase in curiosity and self-esteem.

It is the wish of the LLT to be able to offer this program to a greater constituency, including veterans, and those with hearing and visual disabilities. We recently hired Gigi Guthrie as Access Nature Program Coordinator. These programs are all provided free to the groups we work with. Our goal is to be able to offer 20 of these programs a year by 2020. To date, we have raised about a third of our $50,000 three-year budget, and we are turning to you to help us raise the remainder so that we can fulfill the promise of bringing these programs to a much wider community. Please note that all donations made to the LLT Access Nature Program, a 501c3, are tax deductible. To help us to help the disabled and disadvantaged reap the benefits of nature, please click HERE. If you would prefer to donate by check, please send your check made out to Lewisboro Land Trust AN to LLT, POB 496, South Salem, NY 10590.

Thank you for your kindness and compassion.

Here’s what the Record-Review has to say about Access Nature…