by Lorraine Cherry, Friends of West 11th Street Park
Although it’s the forests of New England that are famous for their brilliant show of color in the fall, we can frequently see a subtler version of that color right here in West 11th Street Park. Why do leaves turn colors before they drop from the trees? Why do some leaves turn yellow, some red, some just brown?
In many parts of the country, the weather gets too cold for most plants to photosynthesize, so they go dormant, dropping their leaves to save energy. As unneeded green chlorophyll is broken down, other pigments that were there all along, but in lower concentrations, can now shine through. So we can now see the yellow in the leaves of elms and ashes, and red, yellow, and orange in sweet gums. Another native species whose leaves turn bright colors is the sassafras. [There are several growing along the bayou side of the walking trail in Timbergrove Park (along T.C. Jester north of 11th).]
As you walk through the park or around the neighborhood this fall, look for some colorful trees and see if you can identify them. Here are some easy ones to recognize:
If you and your family would like to learn more about what you can see out in West 11th Street Park, visit our newly updated website (www.west11thstreetpark.org) and click on “What’s Alive in the Park.” Robert Delgado, long-time board member with Friends of West 11th Street Park, spent a big chunk of his free time last spring researching and rewriting this section. Now you can find all kinds of authoritative information and pictures describing the bees, birds, butterflies, damselflies, and dragonflies that you are likely to see out in the park. Many thanks to Robert for all of his hard work on the park website!
If you love West 11th Street Park, if you walk the trails, if you enjoy the gardens, if you and your kids like learning about nature on the nature tour, it’s easier than ever to help support the park! You can donate online by going to www.west11thstreetpark.org and clicking on the “Donate to West 11th Street Park” link on the home page. Friends of West 11th Street Park is a 501(c)(3) corporation so your donations are tax deductible.
Please remember that it is against the law to have your dogs off-leash at West 11th Street Park. It is illegal because it is a potential safety issue for people with small dogs or children, for older people, for people with balance or mobility issues, and for the leashed dogs (regardless of size) of other people using the park.
Please obey the law and extend common courtesy to your neighbors. Keep your dogs on a leash.