Monthly phenology reports about the Kinnickinnic River and watershed are brought to life by Jane Baffert, UW-RF senior majoring in environmental conservation.
The sound of a cool breeze drifting through the leaves of a Quaking Aspen creates a serene and peaceful environment in Nagel Wildlife Management Area. Their rounded, broad leaves mimic the sound of rain as they shake or “quake” in the wind. These trees can be seen along the foot trails near the main entrance. Quaking Aspen’s are part of the Willow family, and of all tree species in North America, they have the widest natural range. Quaking Aspens are unique in that their white bark carries out the act of photosynthesis instead of their leaves.
Ever wondered what these strange mounds of soil are? While walking through Nagel Wildlife Management Area you can see numerous mounds, indicating the presence of gophers or moles. While these mammals stay active during the day, spotting one is unlikely due to their tendency to stay underground. These mounds are often seen as annoyances in residential and commercial areas, but here, they are an exciting display of life. Gophers and moles create complex burrow systems underneath the earth that they use for shelter, food storage, and nesting. These underground tunnels can cover hundreds or even thousands of square feet!
Highbush cranberry is in full bloom this month! This bush displays delicate white flowers and edible cranberries. Highbush cranberries can be harvested and made into juice, jam, or jelly. These berries make a great substitution for traditional cranberries and are high in vitamin C. The berries are at peak ripeness from August to September. Foraging for highbush cranberries makes for a fun activity and a yummy treat!