Nature Notes – Summer Solstice

Summer Solstice Returns

by Jill McDonald

At last the season of summer is upon us! According to, summer officially begins this year on Sunday, June 20 at 11:32 pm EDT in the Northern hemisphere!

The Earth will arrive at the point in its orbit where the North Pole is at its maximum tilt (about 23.5 degrees) toward the sun at that official time, resulting in the longest day (length of sunlight hours) and shortest night of the calendar year. The northern hemisphere receives sunlight at the most direct angle of the year on the Summer solstice.

According to astronomers, the seasonal dates on our calendars are based on the position of the Earth in relation to the sun. These dates therefore fluctuate slightly each year and are considered astronomical seasons. 

On the other hand, meteorologists observe seasons based on the annual temperature cycle, grouped into three-month increments. June 1st is always the first day of meteorological summer.

Whichever date you choose to celebrate the change of the season, summer definitely will officially be here either way very soon!

There are countless joys among nature to savor during the summer! Here’s highlighting some of my favorites: 

  • warm temperatures 
  • active wildlife and birds
  • beautiful flowers and gardening
  • seeing butterflies and hummingbirds 
  • trees canopied with leaves 
  • crickets’ and katydids’ music at night
  • cicadas buzzing during the day (soon)

Summer is such an amazing season! Enjoy this time of year and create some wonderful memories. Here’s a few fun outdoor ideas: 

  • enjoy a day or evening at the beach 
  • enjoy a sunrise or sunset
  • hike on a trail
  • have a picnic
  • read a book outdoors
  • relax in a hammock
  • make a campfire
  • roast marshmallows
  • stargaze
  • blow bubbles
  • draw with sidewalk chalk

Let summer inspire you to have fun!

Albert Camus once said, “In the depth of winter, I finally realized that within me lies an invincible summer.” Let the joys and memories of summer recharge you and stay with you throughout the year. May you each enjoy summer in whatever ways bring you the most joy! Happy Summer Solstice!

Backyard Petunia, Photo by Jen Garry

Jill K. McDonald is a freelance nature & travel educator, writer, photographer, and speaker. She can be reached by email at or connect with her on Facebook at:

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