Nature in Winter at the Tulpehaking Nature Center

The Tulpehaking Nature Center will feature an exhibit that is a celebration of winter and water. Through photographs and interactive activities, “The Quiet Months: An Exploration of Winter,” opening Dec. 4, takes a look at the special properties of water that make winter unique; how plants and animals survive the frigid season; and how we all can enjoy the marvels of nature in winter.

photo: Jonathan Michalik
photo: Jonathan Michalik

The exhibit will feature the work of regional photographers with images from near and far — from the Abbott Marshlands and Delaware River in Trenton to ice fields in Iceland. The photographs illustrate how water freezes creating varied textures and patterns, and show the beauty found by those who take the time to look.

While seemingly quiet on the surface, the story of winter involves a flurry of activity and strategies by the plants and animals that must brave the cold environment. Winter magic begins with the unusual properties of water. Frozen water (ice) floats; frozen water expands; frozen water may form frost, snow or ice. Some plants and animals have developed adaptations that include forming “antifreeze” that prevents damage to cell membranes, building up layers of fat or growing a thicker fur, or moving to moderate climates. The latter may be “vertical”’ migration — a turtle digs into the mud at the bottom of a pond and skunks and bats hibernate in trees; or migration may occur over extraordinary distances — songbirds to South America or of butterflies and dragonflies over the Gulf of Mexico.

The Tulpehaking Nature Center is located at 157 Westcott Ave. in Hamilton. It is open Fridays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 4 p.m.

The nature center provides programs and exhibits that encourage visitors to explore and discover the many cultural, historic and natural resources of the Abbott Marshlands. It is owned by the County of Mercer and operated by the Mercer County Park Commission. For more information about the nature center, programs and schedule of events, go to www.mercercountyparks.org.

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