|"It melts in your hand!"|
When you are an educator, out on a trail with a group of kids, you are constantly searching for the unexpected. "Teachable moments" as we call them.
This morning, Ijams/AmeriCorps educator Lauren Bird was outside with a group of kids here on a Parents Day Out Camp. They soon found the ribbons of beautifully sculpted frost growing low to the ground from the stems of plants.
"It looks like Styrofoam," said one of the girls near the front of the line. "But it melts in your hand!"
"These are called frost flowers," said Lauren.
When the water inside an old wingstem or crownbeard plant begins to freeze and expand, the stem splits and the rapidly freezing water is extruded, creating beautiful fine wispy thin layers of ice. They often are formed into exquisite patterns that curl into petals that remind some people of flowers. Others call the icy phenomenon "frost breads" or "hair frost." Frost flowers tend to form on windless, cold nights.
Frost flowers are as ephemeral as they are beautiful.
Ijams has been a place for urban kids to learn about nature in a safe, structured environment for 90 years (1923-2013).
- Story and photo: Stephen Lyn Bales
|Ice flower that melt away as soon as the sun melts it|