February 22, 2012
- How Plants Survive the Winter
- Family Fun
- Upcoming DEC Events
- Hudson Valley - Norrie Point and Stony Kill Farm Environmental Education Centers
- Capital District - Five Rivers Environmental Education Center and Albany Pine Bush Discovery Center
- Central New York - Rogers Environmental Education Center
- Western New York - Reinstein Woods Environmental Education Center
How Plants Survive the Winter
Plants need water to survive-so what happens in the winter when all the water is in the form of ice or snow? Some plants, such as certain flowers, complete their life cycle in one year and leave seeds behind to grow in the spring. The foliage on other flowers dies, but the bulb underneath the ground is still alive. Trees and shrubs have a bark covering that protects the living layer from the cold. Bark inhibits evaporation from twigs and stems, which are just as cold as the air. New leaves and flowers are hidden within protective buds.
As autumn arrives, many woody plants adapt to changing temperatures. First, plants stop growing as days grow shorter. Second, plant cells undergo chemical changes after the first frost. These changes keep ice crystals from forming within the cells of the plant. Third, a woody plant becomes acclimated (a fancy word for getting used to something) as temperatures turn frigid. Some evergreen or coniferous trees can survive temperatures of 100 degrees below zero!
Non-woody plants, including grasses, die back to their roots in the fall. They spend winter as seeds, bulbs or rootstocks beneath the snow and out of the wind.
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Subscribe to Conservationist magazine-New York's award-winning publication with astonishingly beautiful photography and captivating articles.
Learn the best places to view wildlife at DEC's Watchable Wildlife pages.
Many people can identify a tree by its leaves-maple leaves and oak trees are easy to spot. But did you know that some people can identify trees by their bare twigs? Have an adult collect two twigs from each of three different kinds of trees. Then get together with six family members or friends, and have the adult pass out the twigs, one per person. Take a few moments to observe your twig; then record the color of the twig, the color and shape of the buds, the type of branching pattern (are the branches on the twig opposite one another, or do they alternate?), the texture, whether there are thorns and even how the twig smells. Use your observations to find the other person with a twig from the same tree. Ask the adult who collected the twigs which tree they came from, and see whether you can identify it.
Plan a Winter Garden
Animals and birds face a tough time during New York State winters. Temperatures drop below freezing, sources of food are scarce, and water freezes. Shelter from the weather is vital for animals and birds to survive. Take a look around your yard this winter to see where animals like to visit. Jot down some ideas for a winter haven for wildlife. You can even make a drawing of where plants should go in your yard. Be sure there are plenty of evergreens, like conifers and holly, and low-lying bushes to shelter animals. Conifers provide excellent shelter, nesting sites and food for a variety of species. Plants that hold their fruit long after it ripens-like juniper and winterberry-serve as a food source for animals in the winter. Consider using plants that are native to New York State. DEC's Tree Nursery begins selling seedlings in early January. When spring comes, put your plan to work, and plant your winter garden.
Read Conservationist for Kids for more information and activities!
Upcoming DEC Events
Norrie Point Environmental Center
Discover Norrie: Winter Tree ID
Saturday, February 25 from 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM
Programs at Stony Kill are now offered by the Stony Kill Foundation (link leaves DEC's website); there are no DEC education staff at the site due to fiscal constraints.
Open Barn Tours
Saturdays and Sundays, February 25 and 26, March 3 and 4 from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM
Girl Scout Outing: Learn to Snowshoe
Thursday, February 23 at 2:00 PM
Geared for girl scouts 8 years and older. Scout leaders and scouts must accompany each other. Call 518-475-0291 by Thursday, February 16 to register your troop.
Family Fun: Snowshoe Outing
Friday, February 24 at 2:00 PM
In the event of insufficient snow, the program will be conducted on foot. Parents and children must accompany each other. Call 518-475-0291 by Tuesday, February 21 to reserve snowshoes and/or to register.
Teacher Workshop: Teaching about Winter
Saturday, February 25 from 10:00 AM to 3:30 PM
Call 518-475-0291 by Friday, February 17 for more information and/or to register.
Family Fun: Dr. Seuss Read-A-Thon
Saturday, March 3 from 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM
Whether sister or brother, father or mother, parent and child must accompany each other.
Albany Pine Bush Preserve Discovery Center (This link leaves DEC's website)
Scoop on Poop
Friday, February 24 from 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM
Call 518-456-0655 or go the Albany Pine Bush website to register. Cost: $3.00/person, $5.00/family, children under 5 free.
More events at Albany Pine Bush Discovery Center (This link leaves DEC's website)
Central New York
Programs at Rogers are now offered by the Friends of Rogers (link leaves DEC's website); there are no DEC education staff at the site due to fiscal constraints.
Sugar Mapling Basics with Fred Von Mechow
Saturday, February 25 from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM
Call 607-674-4733 to register.
Western New York
Advance registration is required. Call 716-683-5959.
Outdoor Adventure Club: Winter Adaptation Walk
Thursday, February 23 at 10:00 AM
For children ages 10 and up. Snowshoe rental = $4.00/person; Friends of Reinstein members = $2.00. Call 716-683-5959 to register.
Thursdays, February 23 and March 1 at 4:30 PM
Enjoy a one-hour program for kids featuring a different, fun, outdoor activity each week. For children in grades K-5. No registration required.
Learn to Snowshoe for Kids
Saturday, February 25 at 10:30 AM
Snowshoe rental = $4.00/person; Friends of Reinstein members = $2.00. For kids 5 to 8 years old. Call 716-683-5959 to register.
Cross-Country Ski Tour
Sunday, February 26 at 1:00 PM
For adults and children ages 10 and older. Ski rental = $4.00/person; Friends of Reinstein members = $2.00. Call 716-683-5959 to register.
Evening Snowshoe Walk
Tuesday, February 28 at 6:00 PM
Snowshoe rental = $4.00/ person; Friends of Reinstein members = $2.00. Call 716-683-5959 to register.
Winter Wildlife Snowshoe Walk
Saturday, March 3 at 10:00 AM
Snowshoe rental = $4.00 per person; Friends of Reinstein members = $2.00. Call 716-683-5959 to register.
The Reinstein Woods Experience
Saturday, March 3 at 1:00 PM
Explore and learn about our environmentally friendly "green" building, and tour the trails in this guided program. Call 716-683-5959 to register.
Event Descriptions at Reinstein