Hearts Found in Nature

By Makenna Adams

Love is in the air…and the ocean, and plants, and space! Mother Nature must love Valentine’s Day, because she has crafted some beautiful heart-shaped landscapes all across the globe. Read on to explore them!

  1. Castle and Heart Lakes, California

In Dunsmuir, California, hike around the beautiful Castle and Heart Lakes. The trail boasts beautiful wild flowers from late February all the way until late June, and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and bird watching, and allows dogs! 

2. Heart Nebula in Cassiopeia, NASA

The Heart Nebula exists about 7500 light years away from Earth. Located in the Perseus Arm of the Galaxy in the constellation Cassiopeia, the nebula was discovered in 1787. Luminous, this iconic astrophotography target glows thanks to a mix of bright pink hydrogen gas, and dark dust clouds.

3. Heart Shaped Crater on Mars

The Arabia Terra region on Mars spans its Northern Hemisphere. Unnamed, this precious crater is about 0.6 miles long in the region, and was captured on May 23, 2010, by the Context Camera (CTX) on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

4. Gutierrez Lake, Argentina

Nestled in Nahuel Huapi National Park, Argentina’s oldest protected land, Lake Guiterrez boasts beautiful warm waters and is home to many species of Patagonian fish. 

5. Wetland at Guandu Nature Park, Taiwan

In 1996, developers threatened to turn the stunning Wetlands at Guandu Nature Park into a stadium. Thanks to acts of protests from environmental activists, the park was salvaged and became a nature preserve in 2001. More than 230 bird species, including the Greater Painted Snipe, make their home here. 

6. Whitsundays Reef, Australia

Voyage to Northern Queensland and you will find the spectacular Whitsundays Reef. Like Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, this region needs our protection. Visit https://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/thingsyoucando.html to learn more. 

7. Heart shaped rock at Joshua Tree National Park

Exploring Joshua Tree National Park in Southern California guarantees that you will find darling rocks like this one. Metamorphic rocks, like this Valentine’s-themed one, are the oldest in the park; most are thought to be 1.4 to 1.7 billion-years old. 

8. Bleeding Heart Flower

Those with broken hearts on February 14 may identify with the Bleeding Heart Flower. A decidous plant, Bleeding Hearts discard their leaves at the end of the summer and develop pink, heart-shaped flowers in spring. Unique, the flowers arrange themselves in horizontal clusters along the plant’s stems. 

9. Galešnjak Island, Croatia

Uninhabited, Galešnjak Island in Croatia gained attention only 12 years ago, after Google Maps captured its unique shape, despite the fact that by Napoleon’s cartographers first charted the island in the 19th century. With low vegetation and pebble beaches, the island remains largely untravelled to, as most other tourist destinations in Croatia offer far more amenities. Nicknaming  Galešnjak “the island of peace,” the family who owns the island planted olive trees, the olive branch being a symbol of love and peace, throughout it. 

10. Anthurium Plant

Travel to any grocery store around any holiday and you can find this tropical plant. Easy to grow indoors, Anthurium gets exported from South America to American stores where it is picked up by consumers by the thousands. While the heart shaped, colorful “bloom” looks like a flower, it is actually a spathe, or shield-like leaf. It serves to protect the spadix, the yellow spike in the image, which contains the buds of several tiny flowers waiting to bloom.