The Autumnal Equinox is Upon Us

What’s better than a Monday? A Monday you can call The Autumnal Equinox! Today at 3:50 a.m. the sun was directly in line with the equator, marking the official equinox. As a result. both the Northern and Southern hemispheres will have the same amount of daylight. Which means the first day of astronomical fall for us, and the beginning of spring for those south of the equator.

As daylight hours continue to shorten, the leaves will start to change color. This is because the color change is more dependent on light than temperature Vox reported. The short days cause the green and leafy trees to signal to their leaves to stop producing chlorophyll, which is what gives leaves their green color and photosynthesis.

Temperature and weather conditions, though, can impact the intensity of fall colors along with the timing of when they change. Hopefully this year, we get a bright and colorful fall!

New Rules Heading to Virginia State Parks

More than a dozen new rules go into effect at Virginia State Parks in October.It’s part of a fast-track regulation review from the Department of Conservation and Recreation. Some of the changes to state rules update outdated languages, others could catch campers off-guard.

Here’s a list of some of the changes that could affect you:

  • Generator use will be prohibited at campsites and in the campground at all times.  Previously, generators were allowed except during quiet hours (10:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m.)
  • Drones and unmanned aerial systems have been included in the list of “flying machines” prohibited in the park.  There is a provision that exempts rescue and training exercises for law enforcement.
  • Vaporizers or e-cigarette use is banned in buildings or parts of parks where tobacco smoking is banned.
  • Fungi have been added to the list of materials park visitors cannot remove from parks.  That list includes trees, minerals, rocks, and historical artifacts.  However, there is a new provision that allows fruits, nuts and berries to be collected for personal use.
  • The penalty for urinating or defecating outside in designated areas or facilities is being re-classified.  Previously an individual caught doing so, was charged with indecent exposure (a class-1 misdemeanor) regardless of intent.  They were also required to register on Virginia’s Sex Offender Registry.  Once the new rules go into effect,  that violation of park law will become a class-3 misdemeanor.
  • Electric power-assisted bikes will be allowed on designated bicycle paths. 

The new rules go into effect Oct. 17, you can find the complete list here. State officials are still taking public comments on these pending rules through October 2nd. 

Fourth Graders Receive Free Admission to National Parks Through ‘Every Kid Outdoors’ Program

If you love the outdoors, it’s safe to say that most of your favorite memories as a kid involved exploring nature and getting outside. Every Kid Outdoors understands that and is offering students in the fourth grade a free annual pass to our nation’s national parks for a full year.

From now until August 31, 2020, fourth graders all over the United States can get a free pass to visit any federal lands or waters. For more details and to claim a pass, parents of fourth-grade students, homeschooled included, can go to Every Kid Outdoors’ website. Educators can also get in on the deal in addition to other special program opportunities for teachers to extend learning outside the classroom.