Science will forever fascinate me, especially when it involves nature.

A coworker of mine recently brought to my attention something strange in her backyard at the base of some of her trees. It looked as if someone washed there hands with soap and left behind the lather- almost like sea foam that gets washed up on the shoreline.

My inner 'Bill Nye The Science Guy' was shining through and had to get to the bottom of it so I called the professionals over at DNRT (Dartmouth Natural Resources Trust).

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Nick Wildman, the Executive Director of DNRT, was familiar with the peculiar soap-like substance my coworker had discovered at the base of trees, describing it as an intriguing natural phenomenon. He shed light on this strange sight, emphasizing that it's more common than you may think, occurring in wetlands and areas with abundant water.

Wildman explained that the phenomenon is associated with proteins and elements present in the bark of trees. Although the frothy substance closely resembles soap, he is quick to clarify that it is not a synthetic or contaminating agent. Instead, it is a natural process triggered by rainwater running down the tree trunks.

Nothing more, nothing less.

As rainwater descends, it collects proteins and substances from the tree bark, creating a solution that possesses the unique ability to stick together. This combination, when exposed to aeration, results in the formation of bubbles – similar to the childhood activity of blowing bubbles in milk through a straw.

Wildman goes on to recount witnessing this natural phenomenon in various settings, particularly in rivers and wetlands. At first glance, the frothy substance might be mistaken for contamination, raising concerns about the health of the ecosystem. However, Wildman emphasizes that this misconception is far from the truth. The foam is nothing more than a perfectly natural process driven by elements inherent in the environment.

In a world where environmental concerns often dominate headlines, the discovery of this natural phenomenon adds a touch of wonder and fascination. The older and wiser I become, the greater appreciation I develop for the complexity and beauty that nature beholds.

My final piece of advice is to get outside. Keep exploring and discovering all the secrets of nature while you can. Even if it is just a pile of air bubbles, you're older self with thank younger you, this I can attest to.

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