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Conservation-Color My World By: Kevin Williams, Grundy County Conservation Director

October 18, 2018
Reinbeck Courier
Fall is upon us. Each year I think I remind you that fall is my favorite season. And I will almost always state that it never lasts long enough for me. With the wet weather that we have experienced, I feel for the farmers and the difficulty that this fall has meant for harvest. Maybe we have turned the corner on wet weather but the water logged soil will make things difficult for the remainder of fall I am afraid. As a former trumpet player and a child of the sixties and seventies, my all-time favorite group is Chicago and my all-time favorite song is their hit “Color My World”. My (our) world is full of color right now. Traditionally, fall leaf color peaks in the middle of October. And that’s where we are right now. For some reason, I am noticing the color a little more this year. The other day while tooling down the highway, I was appreciating the colors found right now on the Pioneer Trail between Grundy Center and Reinbeck. The trail parallels Highway 175 for most of that stretch. The diversity of shrubs and trees found growing in that old railroad corridor makes for a lovely view whether you are peddling a bike on it or cruising along beside it in your car. There is much speculation and some folklore associated with the spectacular color changes we generally see in the autumn in our yards and woodlands. One “theory” has to do with warm sunny days and cool nights. Another is based on the changes in the length of the days as fall approaches. Some say it is related to soil acidity or a tree’s location on the slope. Others that it is related to frost. All these ideas, are true to some extent. I could spend the rest of this article trying to explain how leaf color occurs and the science behind it, but that is not the purpose of the column this week. You can google up that information and I’d invite you to do that. Rather, I wanted to just drive home the fact that there is a remarkable amount of color happening under our noses if we only take the time to notice it. As I stated earlier, fall always flies by too quickly for me. This year maybe even quicker if that is possible. Take a walk or bike ride on one of our trails. Take a drive out to and through one of our many parks. Or might I suggest that you at least take a drive from Grundy Center to Reinbeck and enjoy the Pioneer Trail from your car window.

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