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Nature walk treasure

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Braving the chilly winds, the “naturalists” headed out along a muddy trail by Caulkins Creek. Mark Baldwin from the Roger Tory Peterson Institute encouraged everyone to smell the cranberry-colored blossom of the trillium growing along the creekbank.

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Stinking Benjamin is the common name for the wet dog smelling Purple Trillium. While discovering the leaf litter under the basswood tree, Susan noticed a large brown cocoon of the cecropia moth.  My treasure was found accidentally during a Sound Map activity. I sat for ten minutes listening to the sounds of nature – the song of the redwing blackbird, rustling beech leaves, flowing water and even a plane and truck back firing down the road.

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I was startled to look up and right in front of me was this nest hanging down from the branches of a young beech tree. How could I have not seen it before? I was so in tune to sounds that I didn’t even see what was two feet in front of me. I snapped several photos hoping to identify it back at the house using the Peterson Field Guide to Bird Nests. We’ve been so busy learning about nature photography and critiquing manuscripts that the identification will have to wait for another day. The nature walk was full of wonder and surprises for everyone…especially when we learned to open not only our ears but our eyes, too.  Post written by Barbara Gowan, author and photographer. Photo of nest by Barbara Gowan; other photos by Sarah C. Campbell.

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