Monday, September 25, 2017

Sharing Fall Hiking

By Beth Sullivan
We are coming into a beautiful time of year. I guess every time has a special beauty, but the changing colors of late summer into early fall are inspiring. Meadows are showing golds and pinks of the taller meadow flowers; grasses wave. The woodlands are beginning to show different hues of green, more varied, deeper.

Expanses of salt marsh are absolutely the most beautiful as the salt marsh grasses settle into swirls and swaths of colors as seeds form. Soon the edges, the coastal woodlands, will begin to show the first colors in the Black Gum trees whose leaves go red early in the season.
An artist’s eye does not always go just to the large view of the landscape. It is also a time to look closely. Insects are phenomenal at this time of year. They may not sit still for portraits, but a camera can catch them in an instant.
Birds have fledged; many are gathering in large flocks, preparing for the changing season. Many young are still learning the ropes from parents, and many osprey are still returning to nest sites. Soon they will leave.

Time to get outside

It is also a time of renewed energy after the heat of the summer. Time to get out and hike. Kids, especially, have been confined all week at school; they need to stretch, to run, to use different muscles. We all know, though, that being in nature stimulates different thought processes, different senses and enhances so many educational processes.
I invite you all to re-investigate Avalonia’s Hike and Seek program. It is more than a game, it is not a competition, but an enjoyable educational challenge for kids of all ages. Each of Avalonia’s trailed preserves has something special to offer, different features, different vistas. Hike and Seek gives the visitor some guidelines for walking a trail, goals for observations, targets to find, making the journey more enjoyable and meaningful. And it is free.
As Avalonia moves into our next 50 years we need to build a conservation ethic in our next generation (Yes, we will be fifty next year. More about that in another post.). It is our mission. That generation will replace us. What better way than to make the outdoors fun and safe and inspiring.
In order to highlight different preserves, I will re-run a few past blogs of some of the special ones. I will get out hiking too and look with new eyes. Also, please take a look at the web site Preserves pages to find a hike that suits you. There are so very many places to enjoy.
Capture someone really making a connection with nature. Photograph by Kent Fuller 

Find the beauty in all seasons.

Get real close to see the details.

You never know when a pattern in nature will catch your eye.

Share what you find

But, we do have a favor to ask: show us what you find. We have added a special link on our website just for this purpose. Please send your high resolution photos via the on-line form located herePlease include your name, date and location of the picture. Also, add any pertinent information you might like to share. We will review all submissions. Some may go on our members’ photo page, and we may use some for Avalonia social media and publications. Won’t that be fun to see.
You can also post to Facebook yourself using the #avalonialandconservancy or #avaloniahikeandseek hashtags.
We are also starting a video archive. It really isn’t scary or hard to push the video button on your camera or phone and take some wonderful videos while out on the preserves. Send those too! Just hold the camera steady on one subject; don’t pan. Take several clips. It really is fun.
So now, while the light is clear and crisp, the colors are brightest in the angles of the sun, get outdoors. Take a child with you if possible and pass on your knowledge and enthusiasm.
Take your camera. Get up close or take the distant view. Pay attention to what you see. Get into the story of the scene before you whether it is a far horizon, a single standing tree, or the center of a flower and-when you have something special-share it!
Somethings can be hard to find.

But maybe you will find a gem.

Step back to take a long view and tell a story.

You may be in the right place at the right time.

Photographs by Beth Sullivan, unless otherwise indicated.

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