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Issue 7

June/July 2021

Greetings fellow nature lovers

Welcome To The Enchanted Nature Newsletter

Summer Evening Entertainment

The "Dog Days" of summer have arrived.  The calendar period from July 3rd to August 11th is referred to as the Dog Days of Summer. It turns out that the term has nothing to do with dogs, canine behavior, hot dogs ,or anything remotely earthly. 

 Ancient Romans noticed that Sirus—which they dubbed the “dog star” as it is the brightest star in the constellation Canis Major—appears to rise alongside the sun in late July. On July 23rd, specifically, it is in conjunction with the Sun, and because the star is so bright, the Romans believed it actually gave off heat and added to the Sun’s warmth, accounting for the long stretch of hot and humid weather. They referred to this time as diēs caniculārēs, or “dog days.” The term,  "Dog Days of Summer" came to mean the 20 days before and 20 days after this alignment of Sirius with the Sun—July 3 to August 11 each year. 

The summer heat can make enjoying the outdoors challenging. 

The heat can also make us appreciate the cooler temperatures at night a lot more. If you're lucky enough to live in an area with lightning bugs/fireflies, you can enjoy nature's wonder flying all around you. 

If you are fortunate enough to still see the stars without too much light pollution, stellar constellations and the Perseid Meteor Shower can also provide night time delights at this time of year. We want to encourage you all to enjoy the nature at night. Maybe you'll even hear some music from frogs and toads.

From Our Readers

It has been excruciatingly arid in our part of the country. Pastures are browning up, and everyone is hoping for rain. An Enchanted Nature reader from the New England area sent us a fungal pic for identification. Being that there are mushrooms fruiting, he is not suffering the same drought conditions. 

The mushroom is a Giant Puffball (Calvatia gigantea)

Giant Puffball, Calvatia gigantica

After we sent some information back to our reader and asked him to slice the mushroom open for identification, he was nice enough to send us a video. Thank you Aimé!

...As you can see in the pic below, the aptly named Giant Puffballs can get quite large

Please continue sending us your pics and queries:   

You can also text your pics & questions to (540) 324-8778.

Pics from the Writers

One of Vicki's favorite summer visitors is the illuminating lightning bug 

By: Victoria Vacher

I look forward to their season and love watching them but I am not a fan of catching them nor putting them in a jar. It seems to me extremely cruel to trap wild beings. I am, however, a fan of having them land on my hand and watching their habits. In my experiences doing that, I have observed many wonderful behaviors. I have watched as they groom themselves, wiggle their antenna and frequently one of their wing juts out right before they light up!

Tree Buds, Why Trees leaf out in the spring

Lampyridae is the taxonomical name of these charismatic creatures but where you live largely determines whether you call them lighting bugs or fireflies. In the west and the north they are generally referred to as fireflies and in the south most call them lightning bugs. One possible explanation could be that especially in the west and less often in the North they experience more wild fire activity and in the south more lightning strikes. They are fascinating organisms no matter what you call them.

Fireflies are not actually flies but beetles (Coleoptera) and there are over 2,000 species dwelling in woodlands, forests, wetlands, suburbs and parks on every continent except Antarctica. Approximately 160 species live in the U.S. and Canada. Each species has its own unique Morse Code like flashing sequence used to attract potential mates. Males usually fly back and forth blinking rhythmically while the females perch in a tree or shrub and respond with their own light. Eventually the male will make his way to her following her glow.

Glowing is a biochemical reaction that is so efficient scientists are using it for medical applications. One hundred percent of the energy is turned into light. None is lost as other forms of energy such as heat. Our most advanced LED bulbs aren’t as efficient as lightening bugs!

Most of the life cycle of this magnificent insect is spent underground. They begin their life as a faintly glowing egg in moist soil or leaf litter. Approximately three weeks later they hatch and the larva emerges. It stays in its moist habitat eating worms and other invertebrates. For the next two years the lightening bug eats and develops finally reaching the pupa stage. During the next three weeks the pupa undergoes a metamorphosis much like the butterfly. They then emerge from the ground and fly free.

Lampyridae are especially sensitive to light pollution. That and the amount of poison being sprayed in our cities, suburbs and farms accounts for the drastic decline of this awe-inspiring creature.

Summer evenings wouldn’t be the same without the blinking of lightening bugs!!!

I am completely enthralled with these marvelous little critters and I adore their

Brilliant Blinking Bioluminescent Bellies!!! (Say that three times fast!!!)


*Enchanted Nature News*

Give the gift of nature! We now offer gift certificates. They can be customized and emailed for any occasion. The gift certificates are available at our Trading Post

We have added a new web page called, "Our Local Friends". These are small local businesses that we support and feel confident recommending. Keep an eye on the page, as we expect the list to grow.

Autumn is just around the corner and it is one of the busiest seasons in the Shenandoah Valley. Be sure to book your tours well in advance.

If you have any nature, gardening, or horticultural questions or comments, feel free to send them to

We are booking tours now. The weather is warm. Wildflowers are blooming. Don't miss the magic. Sign up to spend a day with us being enchanted by nature.


is this month's video theme

    We decided to share a recent news piece from CBS Sunday Morning about fireflies/lightening bugs

Findings reported in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, suggest that keeping a few snapshots of greenery around yourself might be beneficial. When participants viewed the natural images in the experiment, their stress levels lowered, thanks to the activation of their parasympathetic nervous system – which controls certain rest functions. "Viewing green scenes may thus be particularly effective in supporting relaxation and recovery after experiencing a stressful period and thereby could serve as an opportunity for micro-restorative experiences and a promising tool in preventing chronic stress and stress-related diseases." Take a deep breath, hold it, and let it out slowly as you relax.

If you're ready to explore the forest,

 come out for an adventure with us 


There are many proven health benefits to spending time in nature. It has also been proven that just looking at images of nature can provide multiple health benefits including: reducing depression, speeding healing, improving your immune system, preventing dementia, improving your mood, and increasing happiness. We plan on ending each newsletter with a short video of a natural scene. Hopefully the videos will provide you with some of the benefits listed above.

If you don't see the video, link to the it here:

Stay safe and enjoy nature

If you haven't taken the time to explore our website, please do.

There are a lot of free educational resources to enjoy

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