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A Great First Day! Anna Meehan FLOG

Good afternoon, flog!

Today was an amazing first day at The Echinacea Project. While it may have gone slightly unexpected due to COVID-19, we managed to have a product and fun-filled day. I’m so excited to have been introduced to the wonderful plant, Echinacea angustifolia!

We began our day by meeting at the Hjelm House for introductions and COVID-19 guidelines. As a junior in highschool, networking is extremely important. One perk of working with Team Echinacea is that I get to meet an array of people from different backgrounds, experiences, and have access to an endless supply of knowledge about ecology and conservation. This became apparent when we visited Staffanson, where new and recurring team members familiarized themselves with native and non-native species. This experience opened my eyes to the extensive biodiversity of prairie, as well as how burning affects the versatility and populations of flowers, grasses, legumes, and any other plants you might find.

John got a really awesome picture of me with the “monster plant”, which is known to provide several Echinacea heads. Featuring me, for size reference!

After our trek through Staffanson, we visited “South of Golf Course”, a heavily disturbed prairie remnant. The lack of biodiversity and clear topographical difference reminded us of how human interaction can impact environment, but also provides us a place to study ecological restoration in heavily-impacted areas.

After lunch, I had a chance to visit some remnants with team member Lea, where we practiced flagging, observing, and estimating Echinacea plants. Thanks to that, I now know what to look for when trying to observe several species of plants, which will be crucial for future experiments.

I then spent the afternoon visiting a controlled burn near the Hjelm house. During the burn, several flags that marked former Echinacea (planted by the team for observation) had suffered, and were less-than-impressive. Team member Emma and I worked hard to replace and mark flags, which will be helpful in future experiments this summer.

An example of a flag Emma and I marked this afternoon
An image of our hard work, as well as the remains of some poor, poor flags. At least the Echinacea benefit from that!

By the end of our flag restoration extravaganza, it was time to pack up and head home. Now, we get to rest and do it all tomorrow! I’m excited to see where our projects take us this summer, which will all be documented in our flog!

Until next time,

Anna (Meehan)

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