Think Spring, Think Skunk Cabbage!

A few of my friends on Facebook have been counting the days till spring. And meteorologists have been counting up the inches of snow we can expect on Tuesday.

In the meantime, while wrapping up a writing assignment for the Champaign County, Ohio, Visitors Bureau, I stumbled over a little trivia about the lowly and low-lying skunk cabbage.

The defiant skunk cabbage says, "Enough with the snow!"

Sure, it’s burdened by the onus of its odor. But the skunk cabbage has an uplifting characteristic—at least to anyone weary of snow.

You see, every year it’s the first plant to burst into bloom at the Cedar Bog Nature Preserve, south of Urbana. It usually does so in late February—even when there’s snow on the ground.

Unlike other plants, the skunk cabbage has the God-given gift of burning not just carbohydrates for energy, but also fat. Ah, to be a skunk cabbage.

In doing so, this early harbinger of spring creates enough heat to melt the snow around it, and give us all a gleam of hope.

Cedar Bog became Ohio’s first nature preserve in 1942 and is a National Natural Landmark. Just four miles south of Urbana on Woodburn Road, it’s a precious gem right in Champaign County’s back yard and home to several species of rare and endangered plants and animals. It’s a must-see attraction.

For a front row seat for the blooming of the skunk cabbage, be sure to attend Cedar Bog’s annual Skunk Cabbage Walk. The date is to be determined, by the skunk cabbage, of course, so look for announcements on the bog’s website.

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