My 2015 Search for Spring (and Skunk Cabbage)

Skunk cabbage generates its own heat, melting the snow around it.

Photo A: Skunk cabbage generates its own heat in a process called thermogenesis allowing it to melt the snow around it. Here, at Pilcher Park Nature Center in Joliet, IL, skunk cabbage bursts though the ice in a frozen runoff.

Every March, I go to the woods in the hope that I will find evidence that spring has begun. For me, that’s when skunk cabbage emerges from the mud or, as is the case this year, through the snow.

Skunk cabbage has heat-generating properties, which allows it to melt the snow and ice around it.

Today, March 7, I visited Pilcher Park Nature Center in Joliet, Illinois. It took only a minute to hunt down a skunk cabbage and the signal that spring is here! See Photo A.

A visit to Black Partridge Woods in search of skunk cabbage, which signals the beginning of spring, resulted in an altogether different find that also signals that spring has arrived.

Photo B: When I visted Black Partridge Woods in search of a sign that spring had arrived, I didn’t find skunk cabbage. But I did find another sign that was just as convincing: a Rawlings baseball resting in the exact spot where skunk cabbage will soon populate. I haven”t stopped laughing about it since and I’m laughing right now.

Earlier this afternoon, I searched for spring at beautiful Black Partridge Woods in Lemont, Illinois. I headed straight for the muddy skunk cabbage habitat at the base of the bluffs. No sooner than I had reached the spot and looked into the water, there it was, a sign of spring that has had me laughing all day long: a Rawlings baseball. It rests in water where, in just a short time, will be filled with fanning skunk cabbage leaves (See Photo B).

Now celebrate! Spring is here, one way or another.


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© 2015, Mike MacDonald. All Rights Reserved.

This entry was posted in Chicago Nature, Cook County Nature, Digital Photography, Humor, Illinois Nature Photography, Macro Photography, Nature, Nature Photography, Photography Lessons, Will County Nature. Bookmark the permalink.

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