Spring explodes at the Learning Center

willow blossom

All around the learning center spring is in the air. Birds are chirping, blossoms blooming, mosquitoes buzzing. It’s a glorious change from the blanket of snow that has been on the ground throughout the last few months. Two weeks ago many of us grad students packed up some bags and left for a week of “spring break.” It felt odd at the time calling it such because the roads still had piles of snow on the sides, many trails were still covered, the air was still crisp with a touch of frost, and very few creatures were venturing out.

We returned to the learning center this week to find that our porches, which had been buried in snow from winter roofalanches, now had barely any remnants of snow. The trails no longer required waterproof shoes to keep your feet dry from the heaps of slush covering the paths. Birds have begun to sings and twitter about catching bugs and nesting. The most exciting part of it all however, is that the plants are beginning to blossom.

vine maple blossomTop Photo: Willow Tree Blossoming in the Amphitheater
Above Photo: Vine Maple
Doug Fir ConesDouglas Fir Cones

It’s amazing to me how much a place can change from season to season. The North Cascades Environmental Learning Center is like a new world to me right now. I’m seeing plants that I don’t remember seeing in the fall and paying more attention to how the plants are growing and what they look like. I’m hearing new bird calls and love waking up every morning to the dawn chorus. The squirrels and chipmunks are back to scurrying about, and the bats have come out of hibernation.  I noticed them flying about the Lilly Shelter as I stoked the campfire the other night.

With all this change and wonder I feel my senses come alive. I’m excited to go out and play, explore new things, and expand my knowledge. It really shouldn’t be such a shock to me that I come alive this time of year, nearly every spring I too blossom in the light of the sun. Though I know the rain will eventually come and the cold might linger a bit my excitement grows for the last two seasons of our one-year residency here at the learning center.

Photos by Meghann Willard


  1. Saul

    Just when you think it will never happen, spring arrives and the world opens wide like the opening of a symphony. I look forward to being at the Center next week.

  2. Jeanette Waters

    Thanks for the beautiful relay of sights and sounds of Diablo. I’m taking a deep breath and enjoying this life in your words.

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