Today is the first day of spring, and it's going to be a beautiful one.
But, in four days, there's a 60% chance of snow blanketing the region . . . again.
Late winter and early spring snow can be discouraging to those who are ready for warmer temperatures and steadier sunshine.
Luckily, Mother Nature provides many clues that spring has really and truly arrived on stage, even though Jack Frost is taking a few extra bows.
Many folks look for blooming hyacinths, tulips, or daffodils to signal that spring is here, but these flowers didn't evolve in this area - they're not native here - and so they can be unreliable as spring predictors, blooming early or late based on other factors.
Wild, native plants and animals take their spring cues from sunlight, instinct honed by millions of years of natural selection and evolution, that when the days get longer, warmth and energy will spread up the food chain, despite a few late cold snaps.
The following slides will help you get to know some of the native flora and fauna that signal spring's arrival, sentinels to look to for hope in the snows of February and March (and sometimes even early April, but let's not think about that).
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