Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Wednesday Explorers Club ~ Skeleton hunting

Early spring is the perfect time to look for skeletons on your lawn - leaf skeletons, that is. We usually have a bunch of leaves that don't get raked up before the snow, and so they sit all winter, in the damp and cold. Decomposers - fungi, bacteria, and small insects - get to work eating the soft tissue of the leaves.

What's left is a network of tough veins. These make up the transport system of the tree: they provide a way for newly made sugars to be carried to the roots for storage. They carry water from the trunk to the cells of the leaf.

Go on a leaf skeleton hunt. The best places to look are wet spots in your lawn, or a pothole or other puddle that has been around since fall. What kinds of leaf skeletons can you find? Our oak leaves take longer to break down, so we rarely find oak leaf skeletons. But the aspen leaves seem to degrade well. If you want to preserve your skeletons, you may have to dampen them before pressing.

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