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Winter warmth a mixed blessing for forest

Jennifer Ohop, second from left, talks a bit about one of the forest’s most overlooked but common life forms – lichens, a symbiotic combination of algae and fungus that can live almost anywhere. To her there’s a simple mnemonic joke to remember that: “Alice Algae and Freddie Fungus took a lichen to each other, but now their relationship’s on the rocks.” Gus Steeves. (click for larger version)
December 27, 2011
SOUTHBRIDGE — When it comes to weather, New Englanders are beginning to realize we don't know what to expect anymore.

It's not often we get a thunderstorm on the Winter Solstice followed by a 60 degree day.

About 20 people took advantage of that unusual warmth Thursday to explore the Claire Birtz Sanctuary as part of Opacum Land Trusts' annual Solstice Walk. Around them, the wildlife was enjoying it too.

"They love it," observed Opacum President Jennifer Ohop. "It's been an easier winter for them this year [so far]. To have this open water, they have the chance to collect a lot more food."

For more on this story, please see tomorrow's Southbridge Evening News.

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