Where can you put your finger on the pulse of national fall colors? The newly expanded USDA Forest Service website, Fall Colors 2011, keeps its expert fingers on the heartbeats of the nation’s best locations in this fall season of leaf peeping. And, the colorful season is unfolding beautifully.
USDA Forest Service’s fall colors’ treasure chest for leaf peepers
The agency’s revamped Fall Colors 2011 website includes clickable maps in its Find a National Forest section that links to forest-by-forest fall color information and to state tourism and fall color websites. Fall Colors 2011 also offers a variety of family activities such as coloring pages for kids that can be compiled into a leaf book and links to a tree and shrub identification database complete with downloadable, free ID guides.
Free coloring pages of leaves and compile a children’s leaf book instructions
Fall Colors 2011 also offers coloring pages for kids that can become the materials for a wonderful, personal leaf book. In the coloring pages, children can learn about tree species including:
- American Chestnut
- Balsam Poplar
- Sugar Maple
- White Oak
Additionally, there are coloring pages that familiarize children with state trees including
- American Elm
- Eastern Cottonwood
- Eastern White Pine
- Flowering Dogwood
- Longleaf Pine
- Palo Verde
- Sitka Spruce
- Sugar Maple
- White Oak
Know your trees – free trees and shrubs identification guide
It’s always handy for leaf peepers to have a field guide of tree identification on hand. The USDA National Resources Conservation Service has developed a free, Conservations Trees and Shrubs ID Guide, that can be downloaded from the internet. The excellent guide was compiled with the assistance of National Resources Conservation Service foresters and plant specialists. And, it’s possible to download just the introduction, just the tree or shrub identification sections, or the entire guide.
Free science journal for kids
Additionally, the USDA Forest Service website is offering a free, downloadable science journal, Investi-gator, for kids. The excellent science journal was put together in partnership with the Cradle of Forestry Interpretative Association. The first article explains why some leaves turn red in the fall. The second article explains how ozone affects trees in Wisconsin. The third article examines how we protect the environment through policies. The fourth article discusses how soil activity changes in the wintertime. In fact, Investi-gator’s plain-speak learning information is not just for kids, but for the entire family. The science journal can be viewed online, downloaded, or ordered.
Expert autumn color trip planning help
Tom Tidwell, Chief of the U.S. Forest Service, indicates, “Fall is a special time when nature’s work transforms our landscapes into a natural patchwork of vibrant hues. Because the Forest Service is the national source for tree expertise, we are ready to help Americans plan their trips and appreciate the incredible show.”
Fall colors are big business
From coast to coast, state and local economies are boosted because of the fall season. For example, the New England area receives an estimated $8 billion annually to local revenues. Throughout the Midwest, millions of visitors hit the road to enjoy the sights. In the West, the mountains provide destinations filled with tourists seeking a glimpse of shimmering gold aspens. Weather conditions in all areas impact peak viewing dates, so information provided on the Forest Service website will help visitors best plan their trips.
Fall colors create family outings filled with cherished memories
Plan a smart family outing, hand-in-hand with the USDA Forest Service. You can find the best locations near you as well as have fall color activities in hand for the children.
Hurry, before this evanescent time passes, for New England poet, Robert Frost, was right when he wrote, “Nature’s first green is gold,/Her hardest hue to hold . . . So dawn goes down to day./Nothing gold can stay.”
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