365 Nature – Day 291

In 2016 I’m doing a 365 Nature project. Learn more about the project and see all the 365 Nature posts.


I was back in the arboretum after a few days away and I was curious to see how the park held up to the windstorm over the weekend. It was easy to see evidence of wind, leaves coated the ground, thickly in many places. I love to walk through after wind, before the parks crew blow the leaves all away. There were many small branches down and a couple of trees. One magnolia tree simply leaned over in a non-dramatic fall. Trees seem to fall either with great drama, or none at all. Earlier this year, on Day 74, I walked through the arboretum after a windstorm and found dramatic tree fall. Trunks had been snapped, jagged, sharp edges protruding from the break.

This time, there were no massive breaks like that and the magnolia tree seemed to have been slowly pushed over, the soil around the roots was bulged up, raising a bench up and askew. Another small tree, a witch hazel had branches laying down on the ground. There were many branches from Douglas Fir, Western Red Cedar and other trees all over the paths. One of my favorite windfall finds are branches covered in mosses and lichens. I love to pick them up and look at the diversity on a single branch and if I get my hand lens out, I will see small invertebrates, still living in the down branch.

The autumn colors continue to flourish, the Japanese Maple collection and witch hazels are becoming particularly fiery now.

Kelly Brenner
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Kelly Brenner

Kelly Brenner is a naturalist and writer based in Seattle. She founded and writes The Metropolitan Field Guide, a blog for ideas, thoughts and resources for the design of urban wildlife habitat and has contributed articles to a variety of other websites and publications.

Kelly has a certificate from the University of Washington in non-fiction writing. She continually takes classes and attends talks on various natural history topics. In 2009 she earned a bachelors degree in landscape architecture from the University of Oregon.

She's also an avid photographer focusing on the natural world.
Kelly Brenner
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