Posted on April 01 2021
Happy April 1, Explorers. This month on the Journeys blog, we’re writing about springtime and Earth Day.
It’s finally spring, the best season of the year in this writer’s opinion! Maybe you’ve noticed a few daffodils blooming in your yard (amazing!), or you’ve had to start taking seasonal allergy medication (horrible). Spring officially started on March 20 with the spring equinox, but April always feels like the true beginning—the grass is green again, new blooms are popping up, and trees are finally budding.
According to the National Phenology Network, spring in the plant world begins at the First Leaf and First Bloom. The network tracks those two measures in lilacs and honeysuckles, along with temperature conditions, to create a mathematical model that calculates the progression of “spring leaf out.”
So far, the data says spring 2021 arrived early in the southeast and southwest—California and Arizona saw their earliest spring leaf out in 40 years—but spring remains behind in the mid-Atlantic. Mid-Westerners, get ready! Spring is “gaining momentum” in that part of the country.
Below, explore the National Phenology Network “Status of Spring” map.
As you’re gardening, you come across a path left in the dirt by something, you just can’t figure out what. The path looks almost like tiny footprints. In this puzzle, you need to follow a path left around your garden by this mystery creature.
To solve the puzzle, print and cut out the garden map. Start at the Forsythia. The creature left mud smudges on your flower labels, so the labels offer clues to which flower you need to go to. Once you think you’ve found the correct flower, fold the map so that its square lines up with your current square, and trace the path between them.
Make sure you write down the first letter of each flower you visit (including Forsythia!)—they’ll reveal the creature you’re tracking!