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Fall is such a magical season, don't you think? Even before the weather turns drastically cold, changes begin to take place in almost every sphere of the natural world.

One big change that comes to mind at this time of year is animal behavior! Animals instinctively change their eating habits in preparation for the chillier weather. Those that stay here in cold Nebraska during the winter will start packing away as much food as they can, whether in the ground or in their bodies. Those animals that rely on insects and water for their food will begin to migrate to a warmer climate, in search of available food. We can probably all recall seeing a big "V" shape of Canada geese up in the sky, right? Those flocks of geese are all over the sky at this time of year! I saw my first 4 migrating geese of the year just yesterday!

Or what about changes in plants? In my opinion, the change of color in trees and grasses is one of my favorite parts of fall. Those of you from the Northeast are probably thinking, "Girl, you don’t even know!" Even our muted colors here in the Midwest are beautiful to me. I love the moments when wind rushes through and makes a bunch of leaves fall down at once – it makes me feel like I'm in an autumn version of a snow globe. Those bright colors change the look of our whole landscape, obviously, but they change our perception of it, too. Somehow it just feels warmer and more inviting, even though the weather may be a bit cooler than before.

All of the changes and activity that come with the Fall season make nature so approachable, especially for young children. The birds are busy, the squirrels are going nuts (see what I did there?), there are colors on the ground, the mosquitos are few and far between, and you don't get heatstroke every time you try to go outside… don't those sound like ideal conditions for going outside and exploring? Whether you and your littles go out in your own backyard, at the park, or even at Fontenelle Forest, there will be something to catch your eye and something wonderful to investigate.

If you're looking for a great excuse to come out to Fontenelle Forest, check out Hands-on-Habitat on October 17! This is a special drop-in-and-play event that provides an environment for informal guided exploration, specifically for you and your kids aged 0-5 years. This month's Hands-on-Habitat will focus on all the beloved parts of fall, like crunchy leaves and pumpkins and gourds, with a little bit of learning and fine motor development thrown in too! Register online and come anytime between 10am and noon on October 17 to join in the fun! And make sure to spend some time in Acorn Acres, our outdoor playscape, or on the boardwalk or trails - find out how wonderful Fall at Fontenelle Forest can be!

Lindsay Cooley

from Fontenelle Forest

Lindsay is an environmental educator at Fontenelle Forest in Bellevue. She was born and raised in Omaha, and is happy to be back after spending the past four years interning and working at various nature centers around the country. Lindsay has a background in environmental science, and is passionate about cultivating a love of the natural world in children and adults alike. When she's not cutting out craft materials or taking kids on hikes, Lindsay loves birdi ...

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