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Nature & You: It's possible to keep colorful fall foliage

Colorful autumn leaves don't have to disappear with the season. [OKLAHOMAN ARCHIVES PHOTO]

Colorful autumn leaves don't have to disappear with the season. [OKLAHOMAN ARCHIVES PHOTO]

Capturing autumn's beauty

What a lowdown, doggone shame!

Of what I speak is the fleeting here-one-day-and-gone-the-next spectacular showing of the autumn season's colorful tree leaves.

If only there were some magical method whereby you could keep these impressive natural items around in all of their glory for your continued enjoyment over the months and months yet to come.

Take heart, dear reader! I am here to tell you of just such a technique.

There is an easily obtainable chemical item called glycerin. It is a component of many commercial items on the shelves of your local drugstore; all you need do is initiate a close scrutiny of the ingredient list on various hand lotions and things of that sort. If you run into any difficulty, just ask the store's sales associates to aid you in your search. Yet one more source of glycerin is to effect a mail order via the World Wide Web.

From there, it is a simple enough matter to slather enough of the glycerin onto the colorful autumn foliage examples that you have meticulously collected. Just allow sufficient time for the chemical to thoroughly soak into the plant tissue. Follow that up with a gentle removal of any excess preservative from the leaf's surface. Set the leaves out to dry and cure after that.

The joy of this technique is it will enable the tree leaves to retain their flexibility, as well as their brilliant color.

I like to fasten the chemically treated tree leaves onto the window panes of my home. If you do the same, take care not to choose a window that is blasted by the brutal afternoon sun. A subdued backlighting of the colorful autumn foliage will brighten your mood on the upcoming somber weather of year's end.

Before you venture forth on this adventure, please allow me to offer you this one note of caution: Be sure to familiarize yourself with the technique of identifying the leaves of the poison ivy plant. This task, of course, will be especially challenging, what with some loose/unattached leaves of this toxic plant laying around on the forest floor.

After all, my job is to lead you on an exhilarating discovery of the natural world and to not, instead, cause you all kinds of pain and discomfort.

— Neil Garrison, NewsOK Contributor

Neil Garrison was the longtime naturalist at a central Oklahoma nature center.

Neil Garrison

Neil Garrison is an outdoor nature enthusiast. He is a graduate of Oklahoma State University/Stillwater; he earned a B.S. degree in Wildlife Ecology. Prior to his 2009 retirement, he was the Naturalist at a central Oklahoma nature center for 30... Read more ›

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