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It’s that time of year in the northern hemisphere when warm summer weather is giving way to the cooler autumn temperatures. Here in upstate NY, we are seeing the brilliant color of the changing leaves. This week’s Geography Quest is the first in the month of October so a Treasure Hunt to find some vivid leaf color is in order. Join us!
Fall Foliage Treasure Hunt
- Start in the US State where you can see the faces of former US Presidents carved in stone.
- Travel to the state where the mighty Mississippi River opens into a river delta.
- Next stop is the home of Fred and KITTENS University. (Need a hint? Click here.)
- Our destination is home to the northern end of the Appalachian Trail.
What is our destination state?
Find Out Why the Northeast Has Such Vivid Leaf Color in the Fall
Do you know the prime conditions for leaves turning colors in autumn? We’ve certainly had our share of it this autumn. Bright sunny days followed by cold, clear nights produce the best color along with adequate rainfall over the summer. Trees which are stressed do not produce great color come fall.
We love the book Why Do Leaves Change Color? by Betsy Maestro. As part of the Let’s Read and Find Out Science series this book does a great job at explaining why leaves change color and what makes the best colors. I love the vivid illustrations and scientific explanations which children can understand well.
Make a chart listing your student’s favorite trees and what colors the leaves turn. You might include drawings or collect a leaf.
Where in the United States Will You Find Great Autumn Color?
Talk with your students about what sort of trees lose their leaves and where you’ll find leaves falling for the winter and where you won’t. Make a map of where the deciduous trees are concentrated in the United States.
I have heard that peak leaf color is delayed a week by every 100 miles you travel south. So, 100 miles south of here in Pennsylvania they are about a week behind our color.
It might be a fun investigation to see if that idea is correct. Watch leaf color forecasts (yes, there is such a thing) and record when the peak fall foliage dates are. Make a map of when peak color will arrive and see the trend. Does it agree with the statement that peak viewing is a week behind for every 100 miles traveled?
Autumn leaves are a little bit of heaven on earth. Stay tuned for another post on how to enjoy autumn leaves with your homeschoolers.