Ames Free Library

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A Glimpse of Nature

See what’s happening on the grounds of the Ames Free Library or nearby areas with “A Glimpse of Nature.”  Offered by Lorraine Rubinacci, the library's resident naturalist, this weekly photo blog is a gentle reminder to enjoy the wonders that surround us.

A Glimpse of Nature - Mayflower

We’ve all heard the proverb, “April showers bring May flowers.”  Well, it’s mid April, and the “mayflowers” have already begun to bloom.  I am referring to a particular flower, the species Epigaea repens, commonly known as trailing arbutus or mayflower.  This early-blooming species is a lovely, but humble, shrub that grows only a few inches tall as it creeps along the forest floor.

A Glimpse of Nature - Burdock

For the past two weeks, we’ve concentrated on “firsts” – the first observation of a natural phenomena in its annual cycle.  This is only reasonable, for the appearance of something new draws attention.  More effort is required to notice “lasts” – the last cricket to sing in fall, the last hummingbird to migrate, the last aster to bloom.  On March 17,  I noticed the end of a cycle that I’ve been photographing for months, the life of burdock. 

You already know this plant, if not its name or natural history.  It is the plant with burs!

A Glimpse of Nature - The Pace Quickens

March 18, 2022.


I will be offering “Trees in Early Spring” on Monday, March 21 at 2:30.  This 1-hour nature walk around the library’s property will provide guidance and practice in tree identification.  Learn some interesting facts about our local trees and develop skills to wow your friends.  

This program is suitable for adults and kids aged 10 and older.

A Glimpse of Nature - Nature’s Rhythms

I look forward to long weekend walks when there is adequate daylight and no need to rush. Last Saturday’s excursion at an abandoned cranberry bog didn’t disappoint. The sun was shining, and crusty snow still covered the ground. Animal tracks were everywhere, tracks that had repeatedly melted and froze and were largely indistinguishable. Canine? Rodent? Definitely mammalian. Towards the end of the trek, an unexpected sound caught my attention and made me smile: the song of a male red-winged blackbird, the first I had heard this season.


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