Helping children and families connect with the natural world

"In a Nut Shell" Blog

Penny Folsom shares her thoughts on a monthly basis with those interested in helping children and families connect with the natural world.

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Fall Changes


As I ponder over the seasonal changes, I remind myself that it is okay to embrace those changes. I have been reminded many times that change is good. As summer gives way to fall, I admire the bird migrations taking place. I find it fascinating that a creature as small as a hummingbird can travel so many miles twice a year. Imagine the many things they may face along the way. At preschool this past week we had two bird/window collisions. One resulted in a fatality (Lincolns sparrow), and the other (Nashville warbler) ended up with a broken wing.  I took the injured bird to a local wildlife rehabber, hoping for the best. Both birds were passing through downtown Grand Rapids on the way to their wintering grounds. They have no idea of the changes they will encounter along the way or at their destination. Both of these species spend the summer/breeding season in the UP of Michigan or as far north as Canada. Wintering grounds are the southern United States to Guatemala for the sparrow, and Mexico and Central America for the warbler. Crossing the Gulf of Mexico alone is an astounding fete. They embark on a non-stop flight of up to 500 miles, which can take 18—22 hours depending on weather. Amazing!

“Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influences of each.”   

—Henry David Thoreau