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Look at the Leaves Day

As we get deeper into fall, more leaves are changing color and starting to fall off of trees. In many areas the leaves are beautiful this time of year, making it fitting that today is Look at the Leaves Day. Leaves provide energy for trees and plants by converting sunlight into sugars and starches with a process called photosynthesis. During the spring and summer, leaves appear green because of a chemical called chlorophyll that allows them to photosynthesize. As it begins to get cooler and the sun is out less as days shorten, trees start to store up energy for the winter, and the chlorophyll breaks down. Energy begins to be stored inside of trees instead of inside their leaves. Then colors such as orange, yellow, brown, red, and purple appear, some of which the chlorophyll had hid from being seen before. Chemicals create these pigments as well: carotenoids make leaves orange, yellow, and brown and are always present in leaves, and anthocyanins are in some leaves and bring out red and purple hues. Anthocyanins are created when sugars get trapped in leaves after chlorophyll is gone. A seal is created between branches and leaves, which protects the tree during the winter months and causes the leaves to fall to the ground.

How to Observe Look at the Leaves Day

Celebrate the day by going to an area with a lot of trees and looking at the leaves. Check to see what areas are at near or full peak. If you find some leaves on the ground, you could study them and identify what type of leaves they are. Other fun things to do on the day may be to rake leaves and jump in them, or to preserve them.

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