In conjunction with Open Field, I’ll be posting a series of reports that examine Open Field and the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden through the lens of phenology. The lens of what now? Phenology refers to recurring life cycle stages, such as leafing and flowering, emergence of insects, and migration of birds. As the Open Field Phenologist-in-Residence, it’s my privilege to observe, document, and share the sequence of natural events as it unfolds on the Walker campus.
Hibernation is so over! For ground squirrels and people alike, we’re ready to emerge from our winter digs and stand up in the sun! On March 15, I saw my first 13-lined ground squirrel of the season. Unlike the ubiquitous gray squirrel, these smaller rodents hibernate during winter months. And now they appear to be emerging from their dens and burrows.
An attentive visitor to the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden will recognize these animals, which are frequently seen standing upright and surveying their surroundings or scampering for shelter under the arbor vitae hedges. And since these animals eat insects, you could interpret their appearance as a cue to get close to the ground and look for six-legged crawlies.