Make Like a Tree and Leaf!

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Chlorophyll absorption
Tree leaves absorb all wavelengths except green. Green is reflected, which is why leaves appear green to the human eye! Courtesy of The Encyclopedia for the Environment.

Today is the first day of autumn! We’ve finally made it to the best season! The weather is cooler…or it will be, and the leaves will soon start to show off on the trees! Here in the Park, we have some gorgeous fall colors that you can’t miss. But, when is the best time to come? Well, it just so happens that a lot of people get FOMO (fear of missing out) over fall leaves! There are a ton of fall foliage maps online that you can check out. Below is a great example!

As a comparison of what those seasonal changes in the landscape might look like throughout the weeks, below are a few photographs from the Park in those different stages.   Read more

What Makes a Champion Tree?

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Infographic on how to measure a tree's height
An infographic on how to measure the height of a tree. Courtesy of The Virginia Big Tree Program.

Did you know Mariners’ Park is home to a national big tree? This tree is the biggest of its kind in the NATION! Right here in Newport News! You may be thinking about all the largest trees you’ve seen in the Park, wondering which one it might be. But, I bet, if you walked by it you wouldn’t even notice it! Our champion tree, which proudly sits on The National Register of Big Trees as designated by American Forests, is an evergreen bayberry that stands tall at a whopping 14 feet tall. You might be wondering, how did our tree get discovered? How did The National Register of Big Trees find out about it? Or that’s not that big!

As with any story, we have to start at the beginning! Our tree was originally added to The Virginia Big Tree Program website in 2015. But the Program itself began in 1970! You can check out all of the trees in the database here. The Program, run by Virginia Tech, “maintains a register of the 3 largest specimens of over 300 native, non-native, and naturalized tree species…The Virginia Big Tree Program is affiliated with the National Register of Champion Trees, which is administered by American Forests.” according to their website.   Read more

City Nature Challenge is here! What might you discover?

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We made it! The City Nature Challenge began at 12:00 AM April 30 (Friday) and ends at 11:59:59 PM on May 3 (Monday)! Please get outside and take some snaps of wildlife (animals, plants, and fungi)!

If you do come to Mariners’ Park or you’re in the area, you might be wondering what some common critters you might encounter. I would suggest reading a great blog post from Erica, our park department manager, posted last year that talks in detail about the wildlife in the Park (click HERE to read her blog). Erica’s post should give you a good idea of what to see in the Park from trees to mammals to turtles and even dragonflies.   Read more