Top Photo: Panaeolus sp. mushroom.

These attractive mushrooms (Panaeolus sp.) sprouted under a fern at the entrance to the Dinosaur Trail.

Panaeolus mushrooms growing in mulch under fern at Dino Trail.

Boxelder, also known as ashleaf maple is a common tree here at the museum, but none reach their maximum height of about 60 feet. The name ashleaf maple comes from the tree’s compound leaves resemblance to ash leaves. It usually has five leaflets per leaf but may also have as little as three leaflets, which is the reason for its possible misidentification as poison ivy. And, the name box elder comes from the tree’s wood color (white) resembling the wood of a European shrub called the common box. The elder part of the name comes from its leaves similarity to old world elders (shrubs). It’s a tree with many identities, but few of its own.

The tree’s young branches are often green and the seeds produced are a sure giveaway that it is indeed a maple.

Boxelder compound leaf in spring/summer (5 leaflets).
With 3 leaflets as in poison ivy.
Young branches are usually green.
Seeds confirm maple lineage.

The Sailboat Pond in Catch the Wind is a pleasant place to stop, rest and sail a remote control sailboat. During a slow time at the pond with calm winds and no visitors, keep an eye out for the unexpected.

Sailboats in a calm.
Eastern phoebe hunts from masthead.

Fall is the peak of yellowjacket season. Their hives are at maximum capacity and there’s a noticeable frenzy to their daily activities, constantly coming and going.

And going.

And finally, cold November rains typically knock down any remaining leaves from the trees, so, until that happens, appreciate what endures.

Fall colors.

Catch them before they go.

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