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American Beech Tree (Fagus grandifolia).  The sun streams through the thin leaves of the American Beech Tree.  These “marescent” leaves remain on the tree through the winter, only falling down when the new growth pushes through in the spring.  Scientists are not sure why some trees do this, but one theory is that the leaves falling down in spring add a layer of nutrients to the soil when otherwise not many nutrients are being added. 

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Photographs by Valerie Lykes and Janine Ngai