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A Case For Winter

Mount Airy Forest on snowy day

A Case For Winter

By: Allison Mercer, part-time Naturalist with Cincinnati Parks Explore Nature!

Winter has a harsh reputation for being colorless, quiet and cold. On the coldest and grayest days, anyone can feel negative about the season. This year, though, when many have been couped up and feeling restless, it’s the perfect time to give winter a closer look. Take some time outside to explore and experience winter’s lovlier qualities.  

Winter is colorful! From the firey red of the male cardinal to the hazy purple of dried wild flowers, seeds and leaves, you can find a rainbow of colors. Even the grays in a cloudy sky paint their own kind of beauty. It can be invigorating to take a hike through one of our parks and see how much vibrancy and life can still be found in the winter.  

Winter is peaceful. The air has a quiet calm that can be refreshing after the busy holidays. If you listen, you can hear local birds singing or “complaining” about the empty bird feeder; even an occasional squirrel chattering. Winter is also a great time for taking a night hike because it gets dark so early. Owls are often active this time of year looking for a mate, so it’s a great time to practice owl calls. Try the Barred Owl’s famous phrase, “Who cooks for you? Who cooks for you all?” You may even get a response! Walk next to a meadow and you’ll hear the grasses playing a wispy melody. Or just breathe in the chilly stillness and let your stress float away in the breeze. 

Winter is cold. Yes, that is also the main complaint about winter, but it can also be the most fun! Take advantage of the cold to do things you can’t do in the warmer months. Some of my favorite ideas include ice bowling and making ice sun catchers. Ice sun catchers can be a creative outlet and an excuse to explore your yard for natural items with which to decorate them. You can also use bird seed or dried fruit to decorate them while feeding the birds a healthy snack. You can find more detailed directions and other winter activities here: https://runwildmychild.com/outdoor-winter-activities-for-kids. If you like making treats for your feathered friends, you can also make a gelatin bird feeder ornament. For an online tutorial for gelatine bird ornaments, join us on February 25 at 10:00 A.M. on our Facebook Live Event.  

No matter the season, spending some time in nature can be healthy and refreshing. Let’s head outside and give winter a chance to prove it is just as wonderful as any other season.

About the Author

Allison Mercer, Cincinnati Parks NaturalistAllison Mercer is a Part-Time Naturalist at LaBoiteaux Woods Nature Center and team member of Cincinnati Parks Explore Nature! division.. As a naturalist, Allison helps to create programs that seek to connect people of all ages with nature. Allison has been with Cincinnati Parks for almost four years, but in the Nature Education field for the better part of 20 years, with some time in the middle to stay home with her four kids. What Allison loves most about nature is the way everything within it is connected and has an important part to play. There is never an end to its wonder, especially when it is shared with others. When she’s not at work, she enjoys spending time with her family and working in her garden.