Fall Leaf Chromatography

Materials - Fresh Green Leaves

Materials: Fresh Green Leaves

Materials:
Variety of freshly plucked leaves
Clear plastic cups, jars or glasses
Rubbing alcohol
Plastic wrap
Pencil
String
Coffee filters

Procedure: Place Torn Leaves in Individual Jars

Procedure: Place Torn Leaves in Jars

Procedure:
1. Collect some green leaves from multiple trees.
2. Tear up each leaf and place the pieces in a cup (one leaf per cup).
3. Add just enough rubbing alcohol to cover the leaf bits and cover with plastic wrap.
4. Allow the cup to sit for about 30 minutes.
5. Tie a piece of coffee filter to a pencil and place the pencil over the cup, allowing the coffee filter to dangle and just touch the top of the liquid.
6. Let the coffee filter sit for an hour or two.
7. Compare your results.

Procedure: Allow Experiment To Sit

Procedure: Allow Experiment To Sit


What Happened and Why?

As the liquid traveled up the coffee filter, you probably noticed a separation of colors. More than likely, you observed varying shades of green and maybe even some red, orange and yellow areas.

Results

Results

Leaves appear green because of a pigment called chlorophyll, which is necessary for photosynthesis. Chlorophyll can often cover up other pigments, though. When fall arrives and the leaves begin to change, chlorophyll breaks down, allowing you to see the red, yellow and orange pigments contained within the leaves. In the experiment above, you were able to see these hidden pigments on the coffee filter. Use these results to guess which trees will be most colorful in the fall!

Wildlife Hideouts

Gardening for Wildlife Month is a great time to look at your yard from a different perspective – the eyes of an animal. Providing a safe place for wildlife to hide from people, predators and even Mother Nature is a great way to attract animals to your garden.

Pond Beside Discovery House

Pond Beside Discovery House

The National Wildlife Federation has several tips on their website for ways you can create cover for wildlife. Planting native shrubs and thorny plants will provide a safe hiding place for many animals. Aquatic animals, including fish, frogs, salamanders and toads, may find safety in backyard ponds and streams. Mature and even dead trees are ideal hiding places for birds as well as many insects.

Ground Cover in the Zoo

Ground Cover in the Zoo

In Animal Discovery Zoo, we have several areas that provide safety for native wildlife. The pond outside of the Discovery House has routinely housed frogs, fish, and insects. In our Certified Wildlife Habitat just past the entry to the zoo, we have several trees and shrubs full of foliage that create cover for any animal looking for a place to hide. The tall trees surrounding the zoo area provide safety to such animals as chipmunks, squirrels, rabbits and several species of bird.

Creating diverse places for wildlife to hide by providing a variety of cover such as tall trees, low shrubs, grasses, water features, etc. is a sure way to attract an assortment of animals to your yard.