Label: Seasons

October 7, 2014

Those of us who live in the Northeastern U.S. are very lucky in the Autumn, because the mix of deciduous trees in our forests and countryside make for a magnificent show as the leaves turn in August.

The change is so distinct that it can even be seen from space! This is our Cool Photo of the Week, taken by NASA’s Terra satellite, which is orbiting about 438 miles (705 kilometers) above Earth. You can see the Great Lakes in this photo, along with the changing autumn leaves.


Have you ever wondered why the leaves turn colors in the fall? Leaves stop producing chlorophyll when the days get shorter and the temperatures are colder. Chloropyll, which enables plants to turn sunlight into energy, has a green tint. So, when the chlorophyll is gone, the other colors in the leaves become visible. That’s why we see what is know as "fall colors."

Photos: Mary Terriberry/Shutterstock, NASA 

Posted by: Seymour Simon

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May 8, 2013

Have you looked recently at all the different shades of green around you? If, like me, you are lucky enough to live in a part of the country where the seasons change, you are enjoying Spring right now. The thing I love best about Spring is that the landscape has come alive and it is splashed with many, many different shades of green.

Do you think that you know what color "green" is? When you look hard, especially in the springtime, you’ll see that green comes in many variations.

For today’s Writing Wednesday, I’d like you to look at this photograph, tell me how many different shades of green that you see, and describe three of them. Look hard - I bet you will find more than you ever imagined!

When you are finished writing, you can click on the yellow "Comments" link at the bottom of this blog post if you would like to share your writing.


Posted by: Seymour Simon

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March 20, 2013

Can you feel it? Smell it? See it? Spring officially arrives tomorrow, March 21st, at 7:02 a.m. ET. Here’s an excerpt from a book that I wrote about the arrival of spring:


Spring in America means heavy rains and late snows. It means birds flying north, trees and grasses pushing out new green leaves, wildflowers bursting into bloom and the sound of spring peepers. Spring is a season of beginnings, a signal of a renewal of life across America.

        Spring is the season to look for skunk cabbage shoots poking through the snow, to hear the early morning songs of robins and the late afternoon cackle of red-winged blackbirds, to feel the soft catkins of a pussy willow, to taste the first berries that ripen, and to smell the wet earth after a rain. Springtime is the sounds and sights of nature reawakening across America after the white sleep of winter snows.     

-   from SPRING ACROSS AMERICA, Hyperion Books, 1996, by Seymour Simon    


Today, for Writing Wednesday, we would like you to write about the signs of Spring where you live. Even if there is snow on the ground in New England, hail falling from the skies in the southeast, heavy rains on the west coast, or a frigid wind blowing across the northern plains, you can still find signs of spring when you step outside your door.

Take a few minutes and tell us what you see, what you smell, what you hear, what you feel. Use all your senses, and write about how you know that Spring is finally coming to your neighborhood. I am driving up to my lake house on the edge of the Berkshire mountains this afternoon, and I will write and tell you what I find.

You can click on the yellow "Comments" link at the bottom of this email to post your writing for your friends and family to read.

Happy Spring, everyone! 


Photo: Liz Nealon 

Posted by: Seymour Simon

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September 18, 2011


It is autumn in the northeast, which means that the countryside is dappled with fields of goldenrod. These yellow weeds are a favorite of the monarch butterfly, and everywhere that I went today, there were monarchs flitting amongst the yellow flowers, sipping their nectar.


Then, I realized that all the monarchs I saw were also flying in a southerly direction. The winter migration has begun. Over the next few weeks, these delicate creatures will travel nearly 3,000 miles to their winter home in Mexico.

Posted by: Seymour Simon

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September 2, 2011

I have a home in the upper Hudson Valley near the New York State-Massachusetts border. The Northeast and Mid-Atlantic States were just hit by the enormous rains and flooding caused by Hurricane Irene last weekend. Driving around looking at the swollen rivers and streams and the downed trees in some areas I realized that there was another, more seasonal, change in some of the trees. They were beginning to turn red, the way they do every autumn.




Autumn is one of my favorite times of year in the Northeast. Ideal autumn weather is bright, warm days and cool, crisp nights. The days grow shorter, the nights longer, pumpkins and tomatoes are ready to harvest, and yes, school is starting up again.


I wrote a series of books about the Seasons Across America. The photograph above is one that I took of autumn leaves for my book AUTUMN ACROSS AMERICA. Here is the explanation I wrote in that book about the change of color: 

Yellows, oranges and golds are produced in leaves by pigments (coloring materials) called carotenes, reds by pigments called anthocyanins. You can’t see these colors during the growing season because they are hidden by the bright green of chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is the green pigment that helps plant cells use sunlight to make food, a process called photosynthesis. In autumn, as days grow shorter, chlorophyll production slows down and the green fades, revealing the yellows of the carotenes. 

When chlorophyll production stops, a layer of woody cells develops and begins to seal off the leaf from the twig. Water can no longer reach the leaf. As the trapped sugar breaks down, red anthocyanin colors are produced by exposure to sunlight. Cloudy, rainy autumn weather prevents the red colors from forming. Ideal red colors come when autumn has bright sunny days followed by cool nights.




Posted by: Seymour Simon

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May 13, 2011

Yesterday, we drove along winding roads through the hills in Dutchess and Columbia counties, in New York State. It’s very agricultural up here, with many horse and dairy farms.

Spring is the season for animal babies and we saw many calves and foals in farms along the roads. This calf is two to three months old and follows its mother everywhere. Where mom goes, baby is not far behind.

Spring is an amazing season of quick changes. Trees and bushes leaf, and the color of the leaves changes from a pale yellow-green to a darker green in a few weeks. Flowers bud on apple trees and on forest floors as if by magic. Birds are singing. Butterflies are flitting from one bush to another. It feels as if you’re in a nature movie, but this is real life and it happens every spring.

Years ago, Rachel Carson, a scientist and naturalist, wrote a book called Silent Spring. It was about the dangers of using too much and the wrong kinds of insecticides. The "silent spring" referred to the bad effects of insecticides upon birds. Every time I hear birds singing in the spring, I give silent thanks to Rachel Carson, a wonderful nature writer who also provided me with the inspiration to become a writer. 

(Editor’s Note from Liz Nealon)

I often travel with Seymour as he walks in nature and photographs, and thought that it would be fun for readers to see what was going on "behind the camera" while Seymour was taking the photograph above. This herd was very curious, poking their heads through the fence and nuzzling to see if he had any food for them!


Posted by: Seymour Simon

(2) Comments  •   Labels: Animals, Seymour Photographs, Seasons   •  Permalink (link to this article)