This past Tuesday’s unseasonably warm temperatures was the perfect remedy to combat spring fever and an inexcusable reason not to get outside and enjoy the fabulous weather. My remedy was a self-prescribed a dose of outdoor adventure at ForEvergreen Nature Preserve, and by the looks at the number of cars in the parking lot, many others decided to partake in warm-weather therapy as well.


It was “spring at first sight” before I had stepped foot along the trail as colorfully clad joggers, hikers, nature photographers, dog walkers and bike riders took advantage of the warm afternoon at the preserve. Stroud Township acquired the former Evergreen Golf Course through Open Space Funds, and now owns the 42-acre ForEvergreen Nature Preserve. A long-term lease has been established between Stroud Township and the Brodhead Watershed Association and Pocono Heritage Land Trust. ForEvergreen Nature Preserve hosts a combination of wildlife habitat that includes upland forests, grassy meadows, transitional fields, woodland borders, vegetative wetlands, pristine streams and passive ponds.


These natural communities are where I searched for sights, sounds, shapes and even smells of spring, which I often refer as “observation overloads.”


Just a few steps downhill from the Education building called my attention toward a wetland meadow that was teaming with sounds of birds. Red-winged blackbirds and song sparrows rejoiced the new season as they perched on the withered brown stems of last’s years cattails. Ardent blue jays scolded from the trees bordering the marsh while a pair of American crows alarmed from overhead. Tiny little chickadees wearing jet-black caps and bibs cheerfully sang their names while a pair of Carolina wrens scolded to play a game of hide and seek from a thicket of pokeweed. The huge iconic nest cradled up in the tall white pine tree appeared to be empty but a majestic bald eagle silently soared overhead and gave promise to new beginnings.


Natural shapes and designs were hard not to miss along the trail and left the imagination run wild such as the forged imprints of diamonds which crisscrossed the bark of a white ash tree or the clusters of staghorn sumac fruits that resembled fuzzy crimson torches balanced at the tips of the branches. If one was to make a piñata out of a wooden pole than the shagbark hickory tree seems to be the best choice, and perhaps the dangling seeds balls of American sycamore might bounce and tap back-and-forth like pendulums if given the chance. Braids of bittersweet intertwined with vines and billowy puffs of milkweed seeds exploded when touched. A chiseled trunk by the pond assumed, “Leave it to Beaver,” while the muskrat that swam past my camera owned up to the fresh pile of scat on the rock.


Smells of the season and some from the past were there to be sampled such as the fresh piney scent of an eastern red cedar and a hint of mint from overwintering bergamot seed heads. Perhaps the best was from sampling a spicy sprig of wintergreen compliments of black birch. All these savoring scents immediately vanished thanks to a malodorous mammal. Lest we forget the true harbinger of spring with a smell that tickles the senses in the most unpleasant way- the mauvaise odeur of Pepé Le Pew.


It was time to head back to the car while pleasant springtime memories or in my case- “observation overloads” were still in my mind, and the fragrance of the season not whiffed away by the bombshell bouquet expressed by a furry critter dressed in black and white. The unseasonably warm weather this past Tuesday was best spent outside, and the perfect remedy to combat spring fever by being captivated by the many sights, sounds, shapes and smells during my frolic in February at ForEvergreen.