We have walked through the last months
engaging our senses; developing our sense of sight, hearing, taste, smell and
touch. We’ve examined the tiny details on the forest floor and learned about
our beautiful local watershed. At last, we’ve arrived at spring, when the
natural world awakens from its dormancy and explodes into bloom all around us.
While the air in our region can still be
cold in April, the ground is starting to green. The tracks in the earth reflect
the movement of the animals, preparing for birthing season. The deer, heavy
with fawn, leave footprints deep in the mud straight up to their dew claws. The
groundhogs, emerging from their dens, looking grizzled and hungry, are ready to
The birds of prey—eagles, hawks and owls—have
hatched their young a bit earlier than the rest and race each other to find the
tastiest morsels to feed their babies; an unfortunate reality for the tiny mice
and voles freshly released from their subnivean winter world under the snow,
newly visible to the keen winged hunters’ eyes.
It is time for us to prepare for new life
as well, in our yards and garden beds, in the wild spaces where we forage and
in the landscapes we enjoy. It is time to prep the soil, to add the compost we
have created through the year with our vegetable scraps, grass clippings and
coffee grounds; it is time to aerate the earth with our broadforks and garden
tools. It is time to tuck tiny seeds into soft soil and wait patiently for
signs of growth.
Spring is renewal. It is potential made
manifest. It is the sweetness of the pea fresh from the pod, and the bees
awakening from their wintertime slumber. It is a season that asks us to enjoy
the simple pleasures and little things, and a reminder to trust. For even if we
have our doubts when the days are short and the temperatures plummet, spring
always comes again. That is its promise.
Nature Awareness Prompts for April
some seeds. Seed packets can be purchased from most grocery and hardware stores
or online. Look for organic, open pollinated, heirloom and native varieties.
Fill a cup or used egg carton with potting soil, poke a few holes in the bottom
for water drainage and set it on a bright windowsill. Plant the seeds, water
and watch them grow. Observe; wait and watch. See how the sprouts reach toward
the light, how they respond to water, sound, heat, the phases of the moon and
the sun. When they are a few inches tall and bright green in color, plant them
in a larger container and move it outside, or plant them in the ground.
one animal habitat, like a nest or a den, and figure out what lives there.
one native plant species by its flower.
This monthly invitation to explore nature
will continue throughout the year, and can be found either in print or as an
Online Exclusive at NALancaster.com or NABerks.com. Go to the Home page and click on the “In This Issue” image in
the top carousel or in the right column.
Tim Seifarth, with 24 years of experience
as a landscape professional, opened Earthbound Artisan nearly a decade ago.
Based out of Ephrata, Earthbound is an ecological land care company and native
plant nursery specializing in organic land management, permaculture, native
plant ecosystem design and installation, dry stack stone work and riparian
buffer and rainwater management. For more information, visit EarthboundArtisan.com
Natasha Herr has more than 15 years of
experience as a naturalist, earth care professional, writer and community
educator. Her passion is helping adults and children strengthen their
connection to the natural world. Connect with her at [email protected]. For
more information about her work, visit NatashaTucker.org.