Georgia State Parks and Historic Sites
Fall 2013             

Dear Junior Ranger,
In this issue we will explore Fall Finds-happenings in nature best experienced in the fall season - from berries and seed pods to the arrival of birds that spend the winter in Georgia.
Fall is beautiful time of year to explore in the outdoors - get out and enjoy it!
Cindy Reittinger
Chief Naturalist, Georgia State Parks
Also in this Issue:
* Become an Ambassador
* Who Lived Here?
* WOW - Blue Mushrooms!
* Try It - Geocaching
* Learn More About It
* Test Your Seed IQ
* Outdoor Fun

Cool "Critter"
Can you identify this Georgia critter?

Correctly identify this animal by November 10 and be entered to win a free Park Pass - good for free admission to all Georgia State Parks for a whole year!  Email your answer to the Chief Naturalist.

Include your first name, and your age.

Become a Georgia State Parks Ambassador

Are you an older Junior Ranger (age 16 and up) looking for ways to stay involved and support Georgia State Parks & Historic Sites?  America's State Parks has the answer - become a State Park Ambassador and earn badges for your accomplishments.
Who Lived Here?

Correctly identify the name of the family that  lived at this location for more than 140 years.  Submit your answer by November 10 and be entered to win free admission to visit this State Historic Site with your family.  Email your answer to the Chief Naturalist.

Note:  The house pictured in the last issue of the E-News was the home of  the Dent family - Hofwyl-Broadfield Plantation.
Try it - Geocaching

You can use technology to have fun exploring in the outdoors.  If you have a smart phone with a GPS you can enjoy geocaching.  It's like a treasure hunt - follow GPS coordinates to find a hidden cache box. All of our state parks have hidden geocaches to discover.
* Watch "What is Geocaching?" video
* Go to and get started
WOW-Blue Mushrooms!

The staff at Tugaloo State Park recently shared this photo of a blue mushroom found at their park.  This mushroom is an Indigo Milky.  According to the National Audubon Society's Field Guide to Mushrooms the Indigo Milky starts out dark blue in color and fades with age. 

It's amazing what we can find in nature when we take the time to stop and look!
Learn More About It

Check out these books at your local library:
Berries, Nuts & Seeds (Take Along Guides) by Diane Burns
*  Plant Fruit & Seeds by David M. Schwartz
* From Acorn to Oak Tree by Jan Kottke

Answers to "Test Your Seed IQ": 
Southern Magnolia, Persimmon, Oak, Poison Ivy has white berries


Photo Credits
Masthead, Linda Patrick
Cool Critter: Dirk Stevenson


Berries & Seeds

Fall is the best time of year  to see nature's bounty of seed pods & fleshy fruits.  This includes American Beautyberry - the "Cool Critter" pictured in the Summer E-News, as well as Poison Ivy berries.  All are important food sources for wildlife.

Look for the bright colored fruits of Hearts-a-bustin' (pictured above).  It's also called Strawberry Bush.  The warty pink seed capsule splits open to expose bright red seeds that turkeys and other birds like to eat.  
* Take a walk and look for fruits and seed pods. Fall is a cool, colorful and quiet time of year to enjoy a hike.
* Make berry ink and use it to write a poem, story or letter.
* Learn more about a winter migrant just arriving in Georgia - Yellow-bellied Sapsucker.
* Test your Seed IQ below.
* Visit a Georgia State Park or Historic Site and enjoy fall activities.

Test Your Seed IQ

Seeds are contained in fleshy fruits and a variety of seed pods.  Test your knowledge of Georgia fruits and seeds.






The seed pod pictured above (left) comes from what Georgia tree?
A.  Red Bud
B.  Hemlock
C.  Southern Magnolia
D.  Spruce Pine

The fruit pictured above (right) is from what Georgia tree?
A.  Mulberry
B.  Cherry
C.  Hackberry
D.  Persimmon

Acorns are seeds that grow into what kind of tree?
A.   Sweetgum
B.   Oak
C.   Maple
D.   Dogwood

Which Georgia plant does NOT produce a red fruit?
A.  Dogwood
B.  Partridgeberry
C.  Jack-in-the-pulpit
D.  Poison Ivy

Answers at the bottom left of the page.

Seeds Carried on the Wind




While they may not be as colorful as fleshy fruits, seeds that travel on the wind are fun to look for too!  Some like common milkweed and dandelions are like little parachutes.  Others like the one-winged seeds of maples are more like helicopters - they spin when they fall!

Birds Arriving for the Winter

When most people think about bird migration the first thing that comes to mind are birds that travel to Central and South America for the winter.  But, for some birds "south" is Georgia.  Be on the lookout for Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers (pictured left) in your backyard.  They nest in the northern U.S. and Canada and are just starting to arrive in Georgia for the winter.

Outdoor Fun
Reel in a Fish and Win Prizes Too!

Grab your fishing pole and head to a Georgia State Park.  We offer some of the best fishing around,  and now through December 1st you can win cool prizes for your catch.   All you have to do is take a picture of your fish at one our Reelin In the Prizes measuring signs and send it to Georgia State Parks.

Enjoy a Fall Hayride
What better way to enjoy colorful fall leaves and the cool crisp fall weather - join us for a hayride and bring the whole family.  Hayrides are happening at Amicalola Falls, Cloudland Canyon, Etowah Indian Mounds, and F. D. Roosevelt State Parks.

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