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 Natural Awakenings Lancaster-Berks

Nature Observation Through the Seasons: April, The Promise of Spring

Mar 31, 2021 09:31AM ● By Natasha Herr and Tim Seifarth
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 feast.

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
•  Plant 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.

•  Find one animal habitat, like a nest or a den, and figure out what lives there.

•  Identify 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 or 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 and

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