A few weekends ago on a crisp warm Saturday, my fiancé and I went on a nice long walk at Umstead State Park. A gorgeous warm winter’s day, it made us dream about the coming of spring. To say this week has been the polar opposite is quite the understatement. As I write this, we have reached our high today of 20 degrees Fahrenheit and will soon be plummeting back down to a nice cool low of 0. The only thing that makes this weather worthwhile was that many of us got a snow day out of it!
Growing up in the mountains of NC, I love snow days. From the infamous Blizzard of ’93 in Hendersonville to last year’s Snowpocalypse here in Raleigh, I have always been a huge fan of snow. Sledding, snowball fights, building snowmen, hot chocolate, and best of all, no school, made for the best days of any kid’s life. This week’s winter weather may not have been the ideal storm to create a winter wonderland; it did however offer a unique glimpse into the beauty of NC’s Piedmont region in winter.
Yesterday, Walt and I ventured out to Horton Grove Nature Preserve to continue our progress on building small boardwalks over various drainages crossing the trails. I went up a bit early to explore and enjoy the beauty of the woodlands and the prairie covered in a blanket of white. And it’s more than just the beauty that makes these winter events wonderful. Slow melting ice or snowfall can help regenerate ground water supplies, and provide moisture to plants during drier months of the year. Furthermore, these storms can act as a force of change in the environment. Walt and I spent quite some time clearing downed debris from the wind and the ice of the last week. While it may be just a temporary headache for us, the environment reacts to these newly opened areas over a longer timeframe. When spring arrives, I guarantee you that many new plants will be popping up in the fresh sunlight that now reaches down to the forest floor.
So, next time winter weather arrives and you’re stuck in line at the grocery store buying milk and bread, remember that great benefits for both the environment and you come with the weather. This is The Dirt- Tales from the Field, a blog to give you an inside view of our work here at TLC. As always, feel free to send questions or comments my way by emailing [email protected] or calling my phone at 919-908-0061.
Disclaimer: I feel I should include a “don’t try this at home” section to this blog post. I don’t want anybody to drive out to our preserves when they shouldn’t. Please take caution in all weather events. If you have any doubts it is safe to be out, please don’t go out! Wait until the roads and trails are safe before leaving home.