There’s a scientific reason why leaves change color in the fall and it isn’t because Northern Michigan’s fall color season brings colder weather, as is often assumed. The truth is, the shorter days of fall signal trees that it is time to take a break from the work of photosynthesis that defines the trees’ spring and summer. The trees gradually seal off the stem of each leaf so that it doesn’t get food or water. The green color fades and yellows and oranges, already present, begin to show through. The maple’s deep reds and purples are thought to be caused by glucose trapped in the leaves after they are sealed off.
Grass River Natural Area is a wonderful place to wander the many colors of fall. Like to run in the cooler weather of fall? Sign onto the Labor Day Weekend Run at Grass River Natural Area. The Grass River Natural Area Trail Run on Saturday, September 4, 2010. There will be a Kid’s Fun Run, 5K trail Run and family activities from 8 to 11 a.m.
Nestled in the hills of Antrim County (near the village of Bellaire) in Michigan’s northwest corner of the lower peninsula, the Grass River Natural Area encompasses lakes, a meandering river, rushing streams and crystal clear creeks — a haven for plant and animal life, including both rare and endangered species spanning five distinct ecotones. This natural eco-guardian project and adventure in environmental tourism lies midway on the renowned Chain of Lakes waterway, a connector of Torch and Clam lakes, and Lake Bellaire.
Educational classes for children, adults and school groups, emphasizing the environment and water and land protection are at the core of the popular outdoor curriculum. A network of trails with observation platforms and boardwalks traverse an educational area providing easy access to upland, wetland and aquatic habitats. A portion of this five-and-a-half mile system is wheelchair and stroller accessible.