If you live in a climate like we do (Denver area), right now is a perfect time to head up to the high country and catch some great fall colors. However, don’t wait too long, because it won’t be long before the first signs of winter settle in and those beautiful leaves are gone. We had a chance to sneak away for a quick Sunday drive this weekend. Needless to say, the colors were stunning. Here in Colorado, we mostly get yellow from the aspen trees, but it’s a beautiful contrast to the deep green pines.
The former science teacher in me always wants to give my kids real descriptions of why things in nature happen. Here is a super simple explanation about why leaves change colors found here
Plants make their own food. They take water from the ground through their roots. They take a gas called carbon dioxide from the air. They turn water and carbon dioxide into food and oxygen. Oxygen is a gas in the air that we need to breathe.
Plants make their food using sunlight and something called chlorophyll. Chlorophyll gives leaves their green color.
Winter days are short and dry. Many plants stop making food in the fall. The chlorophyll goes away. Then we can see orange and yellow colors. These colors were in the leaves all summer, but the green covered them up.
Some leaves turn red. This color is made in the fall, from food trapped in the leaves. Brown colors are also made in the fall. They come from wastes left in the leaves.
The world needs more little scientists, so go for a drive, enjoy the colors and teach your kids a few things about why we see them!