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Ali’s observation of Steven’s Approach

-Steven’s Approach-
A profile of Prairie as observed by Ali Hall
Written by Matt Olhoft
“My impression is that the landscape has been carved out to make the road”. This was Ali Hall’s first thought as we stopped by Steven’s approach, a small prairie remnant located on Wolley Lake road. Steven’s approach is typical of most field approaches, being about 30 feet wide by about 40 feet long, just big enough to connect a field to a road bed. The field approach is bordered by a wheat field on the west and the road on the east.
Ali noted that there was Echinacea Angustifolia seen right away. Later the realization came that the field approach was loaded with Echinacea and that there may have been as many as 100 metal echinacea tags located right on the field approach. In fact, it was difficult to even stand in one place and not step on Echinacea. Several are setting flowers and will be in full bloom soon. Echinacea plants were in almost every square foot of the field approach.
In further observations, Ali noticed was that there were no rocks or trees present. “The area is kind of prairie like, but not really”, she said. There were several flowering plants seen, and they seem to be located on the upslopes along the ditch side and the field side. The majority of these flowering varieties seen to be birdsfoot trefoil, prairie rose, and alfalfa.
Some discussion ensued between Ali and myself as to the reason Echinacea loved this approached so much, even though it repeatedly gets run over by large equipment. We speculated that perhaps it was the soil type used to build the approach that may be a factor in why they are choosing this area.

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