Late autumn is a great time to observe tree buds and catkins. The buds will become next year’s leaves, and catkins play different roles on different trees. Trees form buds to protect the leaf axils, the buds can be hard and sometimes even fuzzy! Paper Birch tree catkins contain seeds that look like tiny butterflies and seed protectors that look like shields or fleur de lis. To see them, you can try squishing a catkin in the palm of your hand- look very closely, then toss the seeds and protectors in the air to see them fly and float through the air.
– Sarah Waddle and Shane Steele