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National Wildlife Week: Friday Frogs And Flowers
Goodbye, season of oddball winter weather and snowpocalypse(s). Hello, spring!
Spring officially starts this Saturday, March 20—mark the occasion by continuing to celebrate the 73rd annual National Wildlife Week! Because it’s Friday, and I’m big on alliteration, let’s take a closer look at flatlining frogs and fantastic flowers.
Spring Into The Season
The North American wood frog, also known as Rana Sylvatica or “masked frog”, is an iconic symbol of spring. If you were walking through a wintertime forest, you’d have no idea the wood frog was even there—but it is! Wood frogs hibernate in winter and freeze their bodies. Yes, the frogs freeze themselves. Winter’s cold temperatures set off signals inside the frog, directing it to freeze its internal organs. Not much happens next—no breathing, no kidney function, and no heartbeat. When spring arrives, the frog’s pulse reboots, beginning this annual phenomenon of spontaneous resumption. Within a day, the wood frog comes back to life in order to mate.
Neighborhoods In Bloom
Wildflowers are also key indicators of the vernal equinox. On your next lunch break or during an afterschool activity, keep your eyes peeled for these commonly seen North American wildflowers.
Spring Beauty – Although there are multiple species of spring beauties around the country, the most well-known species is claytonia virginica. This flower can be found primarily in woodlands, low to the ground. Look for the flower’s whitish-pink flowers and petals with dark pink veins.
Lilies – The lily family (Liliaceae) is large and in charge when it comes to spring’s blooming wildflowers. Lilies are characterized by three petals and three sepals. Depending on where you live, you could see mariposa lilies, trilliums, Solomon’s-seal, desert lilies, and fawn lilies in a variety of colors.
American Pasqueflower – This wildflower received its interesting common name because the blossom has a tendency to bloom around Passover and Easter. The American pasqueflower decorates grasslands throughout the Great Plains and upper Rocky Mountain regions. The flower blooms in purplish-blue blossoms that grow in short clusters with one flower to every stalk.
How To Kickoff Spring
Photograph flowers this spring with tips from National Wildlife Magazine editors.
Enter the 40th annual National Wildlife Photo Contest to earn the chance to win more than $30,000 in cash prizes.
Watch The Today Show and NWF’s David Mizejewski celebrate National Wildlife Week in this video:
Photo by Amy Nyberg