Signs of Spring Contest Returns!

By Derek Stoner, Conservation Project Coordinator

Last year's Signs of Spring Contest winner, Amy White, holds her prize: a framed photo collage of all 20 Signs of Spring seen last Spring at Ashland! Image by Derek Stoner.

Twelve days ago the world-famous groundhog predicted six more weeks of winter from atop his prognosticating perch in Pennsylvania.  On that day in Delaware, we basked in 60-degree temperatures.  Then this past weekend, we shivered in 20-degree blast of Arctic air that came packing a double dose of snow showers. 

A classic push-and-pull is underway with Mother Nature, as we edge ever-closer to the end of Winter and the beginning of Spring.   The only certainty is eventually Spring will prevail!

To continue a fun tradition begun last year, we welcome you to participate in the Second Annual Signs of Spring Contest.   The basic rules are simple:  All Signs must be observed on the grounds of the Ashland Nature Center, in order for this to be a fair contest.  Come on out to the center and help us discover the first flowers, the first frogs, and the first turtles of the season!    Enter your guesses on your official entry form, but also keep a blank form at home where you can record the observations you make in your own backyard or local park.   

Bloodroot is one of the first wildflowers to bloom in Spring in our region. Look for it to appear in the next month! Image by Derek Stoner.

The selected Signs of Spring include these 6 flowering plants: Snowdrops, Skunk Cabbage, Bloodroot, Spring Beauty, Trout Lily, and Violet.   The first bloom of these flowers found at Ashland is declared the first of Spring for this contest.

To participate, simply download the Signs of Spring Contest 2012 entry form, fill out your guesses as to which species will occur each week, and send this form back (as an email, a fax, or by postal mail) to Derek Stoner ( by Friday, February 17. 

If you would like some hints as to possible timing of these Signs of Spring, check out last year’s results:  Signs of Spring Contest 2011 .

 (If you would like a good hint to get you started, two Signs are already visible at Ashland.   When the contest starts next week on February 19,  the Snowdrops and Skunk Cabbage are blooming and ready to be counted.  So check them off for the week of February 19-25!)

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