Not Just for Kids
Quick! Before Theyre All Gone
by Vivian I. Zumstein
Fall is a wonderful chance to spend some time outdoors exploring leaves.
Why do leaves change color? All summer leaves are green because they are chock-full of a chemical called chlorophyll (klôre-fil). Thats a big word.
Chlorophyll is called a pigment because it has a color. Its green. The leaves use chlorophyll to make food from sunlight and carbon dioxide (a gas in the air). When the days get shorter, there isnt enough sunlight to make food so the chlorophyll begins to go away. Thats when the fall magic occurs! As the chlorophyll disappears, other pigments, ones that the chlorophyll covered up, can show their true colors. There are three other major pigments in leaves:
- Anthocyanin (ãnthô-se-nin): red to purple
- Carotene (kãre-tn): orange
- Xanthophyll (zãnthe-fil): yellow
Now, match colors to trees. Can you still remember how to name the leaves by their shape? You did that lesson in Not Just for Kids on October 16 [Vol. XI, No. 42]
Oak leaves have irregular shapes with several lobes. They are often brown in autumn, but some can be deep red.
Sweet gum leaves are star-shaped with five sharp pointed lobes. Most turn yellow in fall, but sometimes they are red, purple or mixed colors.
Maples are the most dramatic fall dressers. Often shot through with red, yellow and orange all in the same leaf, maples have three major points with two minor points closer to the stem. The edges are ragged.
Tulip poplar leaves are really big, sometimes six or more inches across. The tips are broad and the base is nearly straight, almost like a square, with four short-pointed, paired lobes. Tulip poplars turn yellow in the fall.
Check out www.mbgnet.mobot.org (click on temperate) for more details on leaves.
Once youve explored the leaves, preserve your favorite specimens for a few more months between wax paper.
Leaf Art for the Window
- Freshly collected fallen leaves
- Roll of wax paper
- Dry iron on medium to high setting
- Ironing board
- Tear off two sheets of wax paper (12-16" long)
- On the ironing board, place first sheet of wax paper. arrange leaves on the wax paper. Leave about an inch of open space around the edges.
- Place the second sheet of wax paper on top of the first.
- Run a light iron over both sheets to melt the wax and seal in the leaves.
- Cut the edge of the paper in decorative curves.
- Hang in a window that receives lots of sunlight.
In January, when all the trees outside are naked, youll still have a few leaves hanging in your window to remind you of fall.
Kids Stuff This Week
Saturday, November 15
Kids 10 and up dress in warm clothes and bring the family for a morning bird walk, led by Ranger Steve, to search for winter songbirds and raptors. 8am @ Kinder Farm Park, 1001 Kinder Farm Park Rd., Millersville. free; rsvp: 410/222-6122.
Paint & Read
Kids ages 3-5 and their parents roll up their sleeves to paint a turkey platter. Also seasonal story reading: Minnie Moo and the Thanksgiving Tree by Denys Cazet. 10-11am @ PaintN Pottery, 5 Oxford Way, Huntington. $12: 301/855-8000 www.paintpottery.net
Sunday, November 16
Kids of all ages discover the world of animals at night, looking for and listening to nocturnal animals as you traipse through the woods. 4-5:30pm @ North Tract, Patuxent Research Refuge, Bald Eagle Dr., Laurel. free; rsvp: 301/497-5887 patuxent.fws.gov.
Tuesday, November 18
Is it going to snow soon? Kids of all ages learn how to read the sky and its constantly changing signals on this nature exhibition. Bundle up. 10:30am-noon @ King Landing Park, Kings Landing Rd., Huntington. $3 w/discounts; rsvp: 410/535-5327.
Every Tuesday Evening
Have you ever wanted to learn how to play chess? Kids of all ages are welcome to join in and learn. Jim Becker will be available to teach beginners. 6:30pm @ Barnes & Noble, Annapolis Harbour Center. free: 410/573-1115.
Saturday, November 22 - Kids ages 8-14Join Ranger Bob Hicks to create an all-natural holiday wreath. Then use your imagination to make oneto hang on your front door. 10am @ Kinder Farm Park, 1001 Kinder Farm Park Rd., Millersville. free; rsvp: 410/222-6122.
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Calling Chesapeake Countrys 2003 Babies
Were collecting pictures of Bay Weeklys newest readers to spotlight on our last Not Just For Kids page of the year.
Send your favorite baby picture (with babys and parents name and address; babys birthdate; your name and address) to: Bay Weekly P.O. Box 358 Deale, MD 20751 (original photos will be returned) or e-mail: email@example.com.
Send digital photos in .TIF or .JPEG format at 150 dpi, no smaller than three inches wide.
Photos must be received by Thursday, December 18. Well send family and baby a souvenir copy!