Ames Free Library

"Where the Community Connects"

A Glimpse of Nature

See what’s happening on the grounds of the Ames Free Library or nearby areas with “A Glimpse of Nature.”  Offered by Lorraine Rubinacci, the library's resident naturalist, this weekly photo blog is a gentle reminder to enjoy the wonders that surround us.

A Glimpse of Nature - Burdock

For the past two weeks, we’ve concentrated on “firsts” – the first observation of a natural phenomena in its annual cycle.  This is only reasonable, for the appearance of something new draws attention.  More effort is required to notice “lasts” – the last cricket to sing in fall, the last hummingbird to migrate, the last aster to bloom.  On March 17,  I noticed the end of a cycle that I’ve been photographing for months, the life of burdock. 

You already know this plant, if not its name or natural history.  It is the plant with burs!

A Glimpse of Nature - The Pace Quickens

March 18, 2022.


I will be offering “Trees in Early Spring” on Monday, March 21 at 2:30.  This 1-hour nature walk around the library’s property will provide guidance and practice in tree identification.  Learn some interesting facts about our local trees and develop skills to wow your friends.  

This program is suitable for adults and kids aged 10 and older.

A Glimpse of Nature - Nature’s Rhythms

I look forward to long weekend walks when there is adequate daylight and no need to rush. Last Saturday’s excursion at an abandoned cranberry bog didn’t disappoint. The sun was shining, and crusty snow still covered the ground. Animal tracks were everywhere, tracks that had repeatedly melted and froze and were largely indistinguishable. Canine? Rodent? Definitely mammalian. Towards the end of the trek, an unexpected sound caught my attention and made me smile: the song of a male red-winged blackbird, the first I had heard this season.

A Glimpse of Nature - Survivors

Today is a mild, sunny day, one of those days when the library patrons are smiling and the birds are singing. It’s quite a contrast to last Friday’s ice storm which challenged anyone who ventured (or lived) outdoors. The day after the storm, I was stepping gingerly through the library’s ice-encrusted property to see what might be seen when the soft voices of eastern bluebirds caught my attention. A small flock was passing through, including this bird which paused long enough for me to take a good look.


A Glimpse of Nature - Twigs and Buds

Trees in Winter” was a “before” quiz, an assessment of what you already know or can aim to learn. It limited the selection of trees to those living at the Ames Free Library, a manageable group growing on a small, easily-traversed property.  I hope that their names and images will stay in your mind as you visit the library. The game will remain open as a learning tool even after the contest closes on February 10.

A Glimpse of Nature - Trees in Winter

Winter is a great time to learn how to recognize trees, now that all those leaves are out of the way!  Bark, buds, and the tree's shape offer helpful clues. Why not try your hand at tree identification by playing our "Trees in Winter" game?  This illustrated multiple choice quiz is centered on trees growing on and around the Ames Free Library.  It is fun and informative, and it’ll be good preparation for your winter walks.  There is an optional outdoor component, and small prizes will be awarded to the two players with the best scores.


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