Is summer over? (Take a picture to tell us!)

At the Thomas Starr King Middle School across the street from me (Go Lions!), students return to classes before Labor Day. They’re among a growing number of kids who mourn summer’s death in August…unlike in Virginia, where the King’s Dominion law protects the rights of teenagers to ride roller coasters through the first Monday in September.

Summer, for the record, has been bit of a roller coaster itself this year, when it comes to weather and climate: heat waves, massive wildfires in the Western United States, heavy rains and water inundation in the Southeast, with “historic” flooding in Louisiana that brought both Donald Trump and President Obama to the Pelican State. And the dizzying ride isn’t likely to end just because summer does; our observers are already noticing leaves turning and other signs of fall.

The artificial line of Labor Day can’t control the rhythms of nature, but it does offer a great opportunity to observe and report on them.

This is where you come in.

Four times a year we ask you to go out to a favorite spot and snap pictures of the landscape.

Returning to the same spot, time after time, helps us observe changes and make comparisons. Scientists we work with use these observations as frames of reference to build a more comprehensive national picture of drought and other landscape level changes.

So tell us – or rather show us – the story of your summer to help us put together a picture of our summer.

1. Go to a piece of land you like to look at. If you live in a city, pick a place where there’s some water, trees, or vegetation – parks or greenways are great!
2. Take a picture of the landscape. Better yet, take four, facing north, east, south and west.
3. Go to the Landscape page at our website or open up your app, click on Investigations, and find the Landscape investigation there.
4. Upload your pictures as a sighting. Tell us where you are.

We know this is starting a new routine for many of you. But it’s a really useful one. And if you’re gonna be ‘gramming your last days of vacation anyway, you might as well share how good your view is with us, too. Go, ahead…rub it in. You know you want to!