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The Trout Lily Project at Bernheim

Yellow Trout Lily (Erythronium americanum) is a beautiful spring flower that blooms along the creeks here at Bernheim Forest. It produces a single flower in early spring, and it can take up to 8 years before individual plants will flower in the forest. Once the lily flowers, its anthers (the part of the stamen that […]

What’s in this Creek Foam?

Every year while working along the creek, I notice foam on the creek surface. I’ve always wondered what causes this, and I worry that it is caused by pollution. Foam in creeks is normally caused when the surface tension of the water is reduced and air is mixed into the water causes bubbles to form. […]

American Woodcocks are Nesting at Bernheim

It’s spring, and that means nesting birds. American Woodcocks have already been found nesting along the Wilson Creek Valley at Bernheim. Females make a shallow depression in leaves and twigs on the ground in young forests. Males do not play any role in the nesting and care of the young. American Woodcocks can lay four […]

A Tale of Two Orchids: Puttyroot and Cranefly

Puttyroot Orchids (Aplectrum hyemale) is a beautiful orchids that develops a single leaf in the fall which persists through the winter until late spring when it begins to flower. It is one of our more common orchids, but by no means does that mean it is abundant. It is found in higher quality habitats and seems […]

Mourning Cloaks Have Returned

With the warmer weather we have been experiencing this week, mourning cloaks and other butterflies have been seen flying around Bernheim Forest. Mourning cloaks are one of many butterfly species that overwinter, or live through the winter, as adults. They are usually one of the first butterflies seen each year, in addition to Question Mark and Comma […]

The Wood Frog, a Frog for All Seasons

With the milder weather this year, wood frogs (Lithobates sylvaticus) have been heard calling on warm, wet days here at Bernheim Forest. Wood frog eggs have also been found in many of the ponds in the forest. Adult wood frogs live in woodlands and breed in vernal ponds (temporary wetlands that fill from snow or […]

Squirrels in Winter

Winter is a great time to do one of my favorite things, squirrel watching. Bernheim Forest is home to three species of tree squirrels. Everyone knows the bird feed stealing gray squirrel, Scirurus carolinensis. It is seen in many city parks and suburbs, but it can also be found in the mature woods found here […]

Frost Flowers Are Nature’s Winter Surprise

One of my favorite things about early winter is frost ribbons, or ice flowers. Frost ribbons are thin ribbons of ice that form at the base of White Wingstem and other flowers on cold nights when the sky is clear. They can range in height from 6 inches to 24 inches, and are usually more […]