If you have a question of nature that you’ve always wanted to know or recently wondered, please send your question via email to [email protected]

Q: What good is the old prickly hawthorn in my yard?

A: Besides occasionally providing resident or migratory wildlife secure cover or roosting sites, the hawthorn shrub provides a mineral rich early season pollen source for bees (honey bees, and a whole variety of wild bees) and butterflies. This source of pollen triggers queen bees to begin the cycle of reproducing a brood of new bees. This first cycle of new bee reproduction is considered relatively small compared to the prolific bee reproduction that happens when the high quality easily digestible protein rich pollen of dandelions becomes available in early May. Other early spring pollen sources include willow, vine maple, and chokecherry.

Q: What is a solar storm and how do they impact us on earth?

A: Solar flares are explosions of energy and magnetic force that typically develop around massive storms on the sun's surface that are called sun spots. A sun spot is a disruption on the surface of the sun that is similar to a massive storm on earth, except the size of these storms and their causes have yet to be fully understood. Solar storms have the potential to knock out power grids for extended periods and cause catastrophic damage. Under the right situations, when the earth and sun face each other during a solar flare event, earth can be battered by massive bursts of energy via wavelength X-rays, gamma rays and magnetic disturbances. Solar flares can affect shortwave radio communication on earth when the energy from a solar storm emits a flare.

Q: What is lake spring turnover?

A: Seasonal stratification in Kalamalka Lake and Okanagan Lake occurs because of how temperature changes with water depth. The lake’s thermal profile is the pattern of temperature shown in the lake’s cross-section. The profile changes from one season to the next and creates a cyclical pattern that repeats each year. The interval of uniform temperatures is referred to as spring turnover. In spring after the ice melts, lake water is generally the same temperature (4°C – the temperature of maximum water density) from the surface to the bottom. Spring winds allow the circulation and mixing of the lake water. Oxygen and nutrients get distributed throughout the water column as the water mixes, which is important for fish and aquatic plants. Oxygen-rich surface water is pushed to the bottom and sediment and nutrients from the bottom of the lake rise to the surface.

If you have a question of nature that you’ve always wanted to know or recently wondered, please send your question via email to [email protected]

The All Things Natural project has been funded in part by generous support from the United Way Youth Initiate Grant.