Spring has Sprung in Syracuse
By Alex Malanoski
SYRACUSE, N.Y. – This week marked the first week of spring in Syracuse with sunny skies and temperatures peaking in the 70s.
While many are eager to get outside and enjoy the warmer weather after a long winter, people often do not consider the science behind the changing seasons. Douglas Frank, an SU biology professor, said the start of spring is marked by the spring equinox.
“We denote spring on the calendar as the day that the sun is directly over the equator,” Frank said.
The spring equinox also sparks the reemergence of Central New York’s abundant plant life. Frank said that plants monitor the skies for signs of spring during the winter months and will only begin to blossom when the days are long enough.
“After dormancy in the wintertime, the plants are adapted to begin growth to try and maximize their growing season and the amount of time they have their leaves displayed so they can photosynthesize,” Frank said. “They start developing when temperatures start warming up in the spring.”
The start of spring does not just signal the rebirth of plants and animals lying in dormancy or hibernating in the winter. Meredith Martin, an SU psychology professor, said the change of seasons also has a profound effect on our mental health.
“We hear a lot about this now with the COVID pandemic and how that is increasing our likelihood of remaining indoors, not necessarily connecting with nature or with other people in the same way,” Martin said. “Spring and the ability to get outside offers some potential safe opportunities to engage with others in unique ways.”
There are plenty of public parks, lakes and trails in Central New York where people can get outside and appreciate the warmer temperatures. Tammy Carter, a Cicero resident, said Green Lakes State Park has plenty of opportunities to enjoy the season while staying safe.
“I’ve been coming here since I was a little girl. There’re so many different walking trails, running trails, a beach area, campgrounds up above, birdwatching,” Carter said. “There’s so much to this park, I think it can be done here if everyone’s smart, wears their mask and still does this socially distanced.”