ACROSS THE NORTHWOODS - Look around you and you may notice signs of autumn. We're already starting to see leaves changing colors but experts say this is nothing new for August.
Summer has been on the chilly side of normal. But that is not the cause of some trees in the Northwoods starting to show color.
"What makes them turn is primarily triggered by the day length. As the days get shorter, that's what makes start turning, getting ready for winter," says Jerry Van Cleve, U.S. Forest Service Silviculturist.
There are also other factors that lead to leaves changing. Some may have diseases that can contribute early change.
"The ones that I notice, just the loners that turn early. Usually those tend to red maple. But yeah, you'll see any tree that's under stress will kind of go to yellow whether it's an Aspen, or a Birch, or an Elm," says Jerry Van Cleve.
But give the healthy trees a month or so and they'll be ready to change too. And this year's fall season should be a brightly colored one.
"I think it's going to be a good year, you know, we got some of the ingredients in place. We got a nice wet spring and the summer hasn't been exceedingly hot or dry," said Jerry Van Cleve.
So as long as we get some nice days with above freezing nights, we'll see a lot of vivid colors this fall.
WAUSAU - Students at Northcentral Technical College in Wausau got to see Tibetan monks create a work of art steeped in Buddhist history.
The Mandala Sand Art is an ancient Tantric Buddhist tradition dating back thousands of years.
The Tibetan Monks from the Drepung Loseling Monastery are on an international tour called Mystical Arts of Tibet where they create mandalas in front of an audience.
"The colored patterns we are using, we are following the scriptures, the Buddhist scriptures. It's a very old tradition, more than 2,500 years ago," says Geshe Loden, head of the Mystical Arts of Tibet.
The monks' last visit to Northcentral Technical College in 2011 was so popular, they were invited back.
"At NTC we feel like it's important to offer our students a variety of different programming, and one of the things we feel our responsibility to do is expose our students to other cultures, other religions, other ideas," says Director of Student Development Shawn Sullivan.
The monks work hours at a time placing sand delicately in the lines of the intricate pattern.
The mandala will take them four days to complete, but the beautiful creation won't last long.
"After finishing this, making the mandala, we consecrate this completed mandala, and we dismantle it to symbolize the impermanence of all the conditioned things, all the phenomena," says Loden.
The monks' tour raises money for more than 3,000 monasteries in India. They also do it to raise awareness about the plight of Tibetans.
"Lord Buddha had started this, and that tradition keeps going on."
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