Fall Foliage Spotter: Spot the colours

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Ever wonder who decides when the fall foliage is at peak? Or what the difference is between 75 and 80 percent color? It is people like Steve Slayton, a county forester and foliage spotter.

Autumn brings changing colors to trees. Leaves change to various shades of yellow, orange, red and even purple. It may just be a chemical process of chlorophyll breaking down, but changing autumn leaves are a multimilliondollar business for tourism in many parts of the country, such as New England. Fall foliage viewing is a popular activity. Here's how to view fall foliage. The fall color season, Autumn usually runs from late September to mid-October.

"You have to know your area. Foliage varies not only because of climate, but from place to place and because of species variations. I was raised right here in Caledonia County, and I use familiar hillsides that I've been watching now for 36 years.” Steve Slayton says.

Fall foliage is determined by a number of factors, including shorter days, colder nights and the amount of moisture in the ground.

In United States of America, visitors spend some $400 million during the fleeting weeks of foliage in Autumn.

Vermont’s tourism department announced that Michael Snyder, commissioner of the Forests, Parks & Recreation department, had been named the state’s first official “Foliage Forecaster.” Vermont is likely the only state that could justify such a position. Leaf spotter as they are called; help monitor the state of the state's fall foliage. Twice weekly, he and the other spotters report what they see, which compiles the reports and relays the information to travelers who telephone the state's foliage hot line.

Fall foliage is always a hot topic for conversation in Vermont. And the spotters, many of whom have been doing the job for years, help take the guesswork out of foliage forecasts as they track the progression of color up in the hills and down in the valleys.

To avoid confusion, foliage spotters are requested to use specific termsin their reports. They talk about the stages as: early, mid-, near-peak, peak, past-peak and isolated color. Each stage usually refers to a specific elevation rather than a whole area.

It’s a seasonal job only in fall season. It’s for the person who loves to be out there in the nature. Although his job is very important since the official fall season would start based on the information he would provide. Visitors spend some $400 million during the fleeting weeks of foliage each fall.

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