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["Sullivan County"]
 
February        Natural Beauty         Issue 41
 
 
Snowflakes
 
Don't they look like they are dancing down from the clouds to the ground? Look closely and zoom in.  They are so intricate and beautiful! 
 
How is a snowflake formed?
It's a simple recipe that includes: Water vapor, subfreezing clouds, and a piece of dust or salt. 
 
When these are all present, water vapor crystallizes around the particle. As it falls to Earth, it grows into six-sided (hexagonal) crystals. Their journey to the ground determines what they look like when they get there. They may pass through clouds with different temperatures and moisture, get moved by wind, or bump into other snowflakes. Some never make it, because they melt or evaporate on their way down. The different conditions a snowflake goes through on its journey designs the pattern it has. Snowflakes might be needles, plates, crystals or columns!
 
Observe Snowflakes on your own!
See what kinds of snowflakes you can find next time it snows. It's fun! Here's what you need:

1) A small magnifier, about 5X.

2) A dark surface to catch snowflakes. Any dark fabric or dark cardboard will work fine. You have to catch the flakes as they fall; the ones already on the ground are usually a jumbled mess. Make sure the paper or fabric has been in the cold for a while. If it is warm, the snowflakes will melt.

3) A cold day. Not every snowflake brings beautiful snowflakes. Some days, especially warm days, you may not see much of anything interesting. Keep trying, though. Nice crystals are out there if you have some patience. You never know what you might find! 
 
William "Snowflake" Bentley, a farmer, was the first person to photograph a single snowflake in 1885. He photographed more than 5,000 crystals in his time and published a book of some 2,400 of those images. He noticed patterns based on weather and snowflake form that is called the Snowflake Thermometer. 
 
Mr. Bentley had lots of equipment to set-up to photograph a snowflake, but with digital cameras today, it is a lot easier. The next time it snows, capture these natural beauties on your camera and share them with others!
 
Snow Crystal Gallery
 
Local Resources for Place-based Education
 
Seed Packet Art Project
 
Help us put the culture back in agri-culture as we promote saving local seeds by submitting a design for the front of our Native Pollinator Seed Packets that will be given to area schools and sold at the SCCD 2020 Spring Plant Sale.
 
This project is for Sullivan County Middle and High School Students

Theme: Seed Mandalas & Mosaics

These can be made with real seeds, the seeds can be painted, or the seeds can be drawn.

Submission Deadline: April 10, 2020
 
Learn More
 
Curriculum Spotlight
 
Ice Sculptures
 
Bring some color into your winter by building colored ice sculptures in your school yard. It’s a great activity for all ages, and so easy to prepare!
 
The Happy Hooligans Blog by Jackie Currie has many fun ways to get outside and play during winter.  
 
Check it Out
 
Citizen Science
 
Sunlight & Seasons
 
Seasonal changes in sunlight affect the entire web of life. Observe the natural world closely. Record data, take photos, and make drawings. Look for patterns of seasonal change, and note webs of connections. On the 20th of every month — and also on the equinox and solstice — report your daylight and other signs of the seasons.
 
Start Observing
 
Upcoming Events
 
Collective Science and Stewardship in the Upper Valley
 
Explore ways to engage students in authentic investigations, reflection, problem-solving, and sharing their work publicly to strengthen students’ sense of efficacy and their abilities to create healthier lives and communities. 
Water
March 20, 2020
Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park
 
For more information and to register, visit the event page. Qualified candidates will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis, up to 15 participants per workshop.
 
Sign-up Today!
 
SCCD 2020 Spring Plant Sale
 
Everlasting Forest: The Story of Mount Sunapee
 
The ancient forest at Mount Sunapee State Park is irreplaceable. It is part of an exemplary natural community system—the only one of its type in New Hampshire. Learn about this enduring public forest and its ecological importance. This program of Friends of Mount Sunapee includes a PowerPoint presentation with discussion to follow.
 
Feburary 19, 2020
6:30pm at Claremont Makerspace
or
February 26, 2020
6:30pm at Brook Road Inn, Goshen

For more info, contact FOMS via
FriendsofMountSunapee.org, 603-863-0045
Hosted by Sullivan County Conservation District.
 
Join Us
 
Where will the Sullivan County Educators be this Month?
 
Bluff Elementary School- Dawn will be leading outdoor programs for Kindergarten, 1st, and 3rd graders in the school yard. 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders will be visiting the Eco Ag Center as field trips.
 
Charlestown Primary School - Dawn will be teaching 4th graders about how animals and plants survive winter. The stream table is in the 4th grade classroom this month. 
 
Claremont Christian Academy - Dawn will be teaching 4th & 5th graders lessons on snow science and tracking.
 
North Charlestown Community School- Dawn will be teaching 4th graders about snow science.

Everlasting Forest: The Mount Sunapee Story - Lionel and Dawn will be hosting these talks. 
 
Break Out of the Classroom! Winter Wonders - Dawn will be co-leading this 2 day teacher workshop. 
 
Please contact Dawn if you would like to set-up a school visit, workshop, field trip or want to volunteer.
 
Naturalist Notes
 
Rich Sunsets
 
You may have noticed that sunrises and sunsets seem to be more vivid in winter.  There are some reason for that!
 
Cooler temperatures allow for better air circulation. When the air can circulate more freely, dust particles and pollutants are scattered more effectively.
 
The angle of the earth to the sun may be the biggest reason. Blue light has a short wavelength, so it gets scattered easiest by air molecules, such as nitrogen and oxygen. Longer wavelength lights -- reds and oranges -- are not scattered as much by air molecules. During sunrise and sunset, light from the sun must pass through much more of our atmosphere before reaching our eyes, so it comes into contact with even more molecules in the air. The blue bounces off and the reds and oranges are seen. 
 
Finally, you most likely notice more sunrises and sunsets in winter since the photoperiod is shortened. The sun rises later and sets earlier so you don't have to get up at a frighteningly early hour or stay out past dinner time to capture the beauty.  
 
Mountaintops and beaches are the best places for watching the sunset or sunrise in New England. Mt. Ascutney, Sunapee, Monadnock are all nearby and great places to catch a sunset. Just don't forget to dress warm and bring a flashlight!
 
Catch a Sunset
 
 
Dawn Dextraze
Education and Outreach Specialist
Sullivan County Natural Resources and Conservation District
95 County Farm Rd.
Unity, NH 03743
603.504.1004
ddextraze@sullivancountynh.gov
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