40NATURE IN WINTER

Armed with skis or snowshoes, you can still explore trails in the wintertime.
Armed with skis or snowshoes, you can still explore trails in the wintertime.
Few people think about insects in the winter months. But many stay active, even when the temperatures drop below freezing. Snow fleas, also known as Springtails, are tiny grey-black insects that use their powerful forked tail as a spring to jump around on the snow. On a mild spring day, a group of them looks like someone sprinkled pepper on the snow.

Snow is a wonderful insulator. It acts like a large blanket on the ground, protecting small animals and plants. One of these is the Meadow Vole. Voles dig thousands of roads and tunnels in the dark and silent layer of leaf litter between the soil and snow. The Meadow Vole spends the winter in these tunnels, eating grasses, seeds, and the bark at the base of young trees. These voles are also food for hawks, owls, and foxes.

Why not take a cue from our animal friends, and spend some time outside? Conservation Areas provide wonderful habitats and are great places to get some exercise. Animals have learned to adapt to the weather, so why can’t we?

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