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Autumn is the season that is full of changes within nature. It is also a fun time of year when people around the world celebrate and give thanks. Let’s take a look at all that autumn brings us.

Autumn

Red, yellow, orange and brown are the colors of the leaves before they fall to the ground.

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Autumn (sometimes called fall) is one of the four seasons of the year and is the time of year that transitions summer into winter. Along with the tree leaves changing color, the temperature grows colder, plants stop making food, animals prepare for the long months ahead and the day light starts growing shorter.

The Autumnal Equinox

The autumnal equinox occurs around September 23 each year. Why is this day important? On that day, the sun provides equal amounts of daylight time and night time.

It tells us in the northern hemisphere (where the United States is located) that we are entering the season of autumn, and we will soon be losing daylight hours.

The bottom left is a picture of the autumnal equinox in September. Notice how Earth has exactly half sunlight and half-darkness. There is an equinox for each season.
Equinox

While the northern hemisphere experiences autumn, the southern hemisphere experiences spring. When the northern hemisphere experiences spring, the southern hemisphere experiences autumn.

If you happen to live close the equator (the invisible line around the center of Earth), you will never see autumn because it stays warm all year long.

Plants

In the fall as the weather grows colder, many plants stop producing food. The short amount of sunlight makes the leaves begin to change to yellow, orange, and red colors before turning brown and falling off. The evergreen trees do not lose their leaves because they naturally produce a wax cover on their needles that protects them from freezing.

This picture shows the beautiful, vibrant colors of autumn before they turn brown and shed.
New England Trees

Animals

Depending on where you live, you will start to see animals begin to store food in their nests and dens, like squirrels who gather acorns before winter.

Some animals, like bears, eat extra food to build up extra fat on their bodies, while others will grow warmer coats of fur to stay warm all winter. The animals will find a private, hidden place to stay safe, warm and dry while they sleep through the cold months.Autumn is also when many birds fly hundreds and even thousands of miles to find warmer weather to live in for the winter months.

One bird, called the Arctic tern, travels 11,000 miles each way, which is like going across the Unites States three and a half times!

Harvests

In the autumn, food is harvested around the world. The harvested foods vary due to soil and weather differences. Many common foods that are harvested around the world in autumn are grains, such as wheat and rice, vegetables and fruits.

In the United States, autumn is a time to harvest wheat, pumpkins, squash, corn, apples and cranberries to name a few.

This picture shows a combine harvesting wheat on a large field.
combine harvesting wheat

Harvest Festivals

We can’t forget to mention how fun this time of the year can be around the world. This is the season that many countries take time to celebrate and give thanks, like at Halloween and Thanksgiving. One very important part of the harvest festivals is the food.

People all around the world take the seasonal foods that they have just harvested and prepare them into delicious meals and deserts. Pumpkin is particularly popular in the U.S.

Lesson Summary

Autumn transitions the hot summers into the cold winters. The autumnal equinox marks the beginning of autumn in the northern hemisphere where the Unites States is.

Autumn is the time of the year when plants shed their leaves and animals prepare for the winter. Foods are harvested and prepared into delicious meals for harvest festivals that are celebrated around the world.

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