Totally Total Demo

This morning the whole team (which consisted of six of us) went out to the Riley’s for total demo. Even with getting out there a little bit late, we finished in good time. With the little bit of time we had before lunch, the crew split up to quickly harvest Echinacea heads in the experimental plots. Wyatt and I harvested at P7 and P9 as well as the one Echinacea plant in Amy D’s plot (Amy your head is harvested!).

Lunch consisted of lots of acorns, which some of us got in head by. Jared collected more acorns and ended up designing a mini experiment with them. He left 30 acorns lined up on the picnic table, tomorrow we will see how many have been taken by the creatures living at Hjelm.

After lunch and the acorn experiment, Kennedy, Allie, and I headed out for more total demo. While it was hotter in the afternoon, the wind kept the heat at bay. Unfortunately the wind also decided to take my maps and blow them across the site we were working at. Throughout the afternoon the three of us finished total demo at Aanenson, West of Aanenson, and Tower. Including what we did at East Riley this morning, the three of us completed 343 locations today!

The Flog with a Frog

Today proved to be a day filled with various tasks and adventures. The team (minus Maris and Miyauna since they are leaving at the end of the week) went out to Riley to learn how to determine if an Echinacea head is ready to be harvested. We learned the four indicators and how to play the “Harvest Now” game, similar to rock paper scissors.

Next the team split up, a crew went out to do phenology while I was with Wyatt, Allie, and Kennedy to do total demo at Yellow Orchid Hill. Allie and I braved the west side and managed not to fall into the Grand Canyon, although we did have some moments where we thought we were going to fall. The biggest surprise while being out there was the temperature, both of us were cold! After last week it was much appreciated, until we both realized we didn’t have our sweatshirts and jackets with.

The number of people at lunch has fallen significantly since our first day in June, yet that doesn’t stop us from having great conversations over strange topics! Once we were full from our food (and some of us ready for a nap), the crew went out to P1 to continue measuring. Today Kennedy and I were partners, a sure sign for something fun to happen! Almost right away we find a big frog in our row, Maris came over to take a picture and she believes it was a Leopard Frog. Throughout our measuring adventure Kennedy and I found lots more critters, a spider neither of us liked, some strange exoskeletons, and a caterpillar we both loved which was sitting on a milkweed.

Part of our job when measuring the plot is to find staples in the ground where past plants were in order to stay on track. Kennedy and I were having quite the time with these staples, some rows we were struggling to find them while in other rows we would blindly reach into the grass and find them on the first try. At one position Kennedy and I each found a staple, meaning there were somehow two staples at one position. It was a good day to be working in P1, the sky was cloudy (allowing us to find plants easier) and the weather was cool.

The newest addition the Hjelm this week is Mia’s game for measuring P1. Every section we complete in the plot is one square we get to fill in on the road, all while a printed out picture of a gopher chases us. It feels good at the end of the day to be able to see how much progress we made!

Once chores were finished the team went out to the Andes house for a team dinner, Kennedy and I were both very excited for dinner after googling the dishes while we were measuring this afternoon. The first food served to us was chicken and vegetable samosas, which were absolutely delicious. Team Echinacea has now gotten very efficient at handing out plates and forks, passing each dish in a circle until each person is served. The second dish to come onto the deck and onto our plates was rice and curry, which was again delicious, even if it was a little spicy for me! The meal finished with some amazing mango lassi and a wonderful conversation discussing funny memories of science classes. It was a wonderful day ending with amazing food, thank you Andes House for hosting us tonight!

An orchestra, a road grader, and a debate about faces (a typical Monday)

Today we started the week off strong by pulling birdsfoot trefoil along Tower Road since it was wet from the rain last night. Reports differ based upon location, but Team Echinacea members were able to deduce that last night there was lightning, thunder, rain, and hail in west central Minnesota. Once we pulled everything we could find, the team split up for phenology. Wyatt, Kennedy, Allie, and I were assigned the NorthWest loop, aka landfill and surrounding sites. Allie took the GPS to shoot newly found plants at the smaller sites while the rest of us went to landfill. My favorite part about this morning was that, unlike last Monday, the hill did not smell! Once we finished at landfill, Wyatt, Kennedy, and I met up with Allie to finish the remaining sites. Notable stories include Wyatt meeting some biting ants and all three of us looking amazing in our blaze orange vests. After phenology we had some extra time before lunch so I was in a group helping John sort flags in g3, the flag bin is looking better every day!

After a quick (yet delicious) lunch the crew headed out to measure P2. We grabbed our visors, flags, candy canes, and measuring sticks and tapes. Once we got to the field we ran the measuring tape down the field and got to work. Allie and I were partners and managed not to fall into any holes while working, but unfortunately I learned the lesson that if I yell at the visor when it doesn’t work, it will not listen to me. Once I talked to it nicely, it seemed to work fine. As we worked down the field, we would move the measuring tape with us. This involved everyone ducking while three or four people would lift it. It made life more interesting when none of us were allowed to stand up for ten seconds! While packing up supplies, Laura and Maris perched on their rock and managed to produce music from a piece of grass, allowing us to relax after a hot afternoon.

To add to the excitement of the day, today the P2 crew got to see the road grader drive by and make the road look nice for us. Please enjoy the above picture of the view of the road!

In order to minimize the amount of cars parking on the side of roads and driving, we filled two cars with people. This meant that one person would be riding in the middle of the backseat of Mia’s car. This also meant that Mia would get to look at this person’s face every time she looked in the rearview mirror. On the way out this person was Wyatt, meaning it was not a rearview mirror, but instead, as Wyatt liked to call it, a “Wyatt-view mirror.” On the way back I ended up in the middle seat, and Mia made it clear as to whose face she liked to look at more (mine), and who had the best face in the backseat (me). The rest of the car ride consisted of talking about food and rocking out to Taylor Swift, as well as admiring the view of Minnesota’s fields. We finished out our day by doing our chores and waving goodbye to everyone!

The Gopher!

Monday morning we started out by doing our phenology routes, I was in the northwest/landfill group with Wyatt and Allie. Unfortunately, the wind was blowing in the wrong direction and it made for a stinky morning at landfill! The morning was the fastest morning of phenology yet, we were all back and finished well before lunch. The reason it was so fast was because so many plants were done flowering so we didn’t have to check them. Last Friday we did independent estimates of how many heads we thought were going to be excluded from our routes as of Monday morning. Alex won with an estimate of 521, only 2 off from the correct answer of 519 heads!

Our afternoon consisted of working on independent projects. For me, this meant heading out with Kennedy to P2 to asses style persistence and dust more echinacea for Team Dust. While we were there we saw lots of different critters, ranging from a robber fly (if you haven’t seen one, just know that you don’t want this fly to bite you) to a gopher. The gopher didn’t seem to notice that we were there, it came right up to us! As a future gopher, I was very excited to see my mascot in the field.

Since there was still more time in the afternoon, we went back to Hjelm to see what we could help with. I went out with Wyatt to search for liatris in remnants for his independent project assessing liatris and butterflies in the remnants. Some sites didn’t seem to have any, but others were promising! At the end of the day Wyatt and I helped Allie with the aphid project and we searched for aphids and looked at different echinacea plants in P1. While we were successful in finishing assessing all of plants, none of us found any aphids. Once we did our chores, we were able to head out for the day and get ready for Tuesday!

Bugs from July 7th

The first picture was taken at aa after lunch at 1:38 pm in the NE map section. It is of a small spider and there were also webs around the rays of the echinacea.

The second picture is from Nessman and is of a small, green and clear flying bug. It was taken at 2:33 pm.

The third picture was taken at Steven’s Approach this morning at 10:18 am. It is of a small, white fly on the head of the echinacea.

Finding Flowers!

Friday morning started with the whole team doing our first full round of phenology. I headed out with Mia to a couple of sites, we managed to find lots of new flowers and do phenology on multiple sites. At North of Golf Course, we managed to find so many new flowers that there are now 5x as many heads at the location as before! At East Elk Lake Rd, Mia and I set up some filters for Team Dust. The filters are measuring how much dust is deposited at multiple locations at different distances from the gravel road.

After lunch Mia, Laura, Kennedy, Wyatt, John, and I went out to finish flagging experimental plot 2. I can proudly say that we finished flagging and the plot is completely ready! Kennedy had the highlight of her life occur while out of P2, she almost dropped her water bottle while taking a drink but made an amazing save!

Since we finished flagging before the afternoon was over, each of us split up to help others with other work that needed to be done. I went out with Jared and helped him count Stipa at Landfill. We did not expect just how many plants were at the locations we were searching at, it took a while longer than expected. Once we finished we went back to Hjelm for a little watermelon treat and some good conversation.

Glad to have had a second successful week! Catch you later,


Searching, searching, and more searching

This morning a crew of us went out to search for Stipa, otherwise known as Porcupine Grass, in experimental plot #1. After practicing our skills together, we paired up and went searching. Each group found quite a few plants, some big and some small. Today Stuart found the biggest plant with 27 culms! Kennedy and I found many critters while searching for Stipa, including a caterpillar, a gopher, and a moth which was extremely photo shy. When I tried to take a picture of him, he decided it was better to fly into my face. Overall, it was a great morning to be out searching for Stipa!

After lunch a large group of us went out to take demos at a few sites. We started at Loeffler’s Corner and finished taking demos. I don’t know exactly how many there were, but there were plenty, believe me! My favorite part was that some had started to produce pollen and had gained their signature purple color. Then we finished demos at Railroad Crossing and Riley. Riley had my favorite flowers of the day, don’t they look so pretty?

Once we got back, we put our equipment away and went home to prepare for a hot day tomorrow, hopefully we will stay cool!

Emma Reineke

Echinacea Project 2021

Biochemistry, University of Minnesota – Twin Cities 2025

Graduated from Alexandria Area High School in 2021

Research Interests

I am interested in learning how research works and gaining an introduction into professional and college level research. This summer I am interested in studying how organisms and plants genetically change through generations, but in the future I would like to study much more so I can gain a better understanding of the world. My favorite classes have always been science classes so I am hoping to be able to apply what I learned in the classroom to real research!


I am from Alexandria, Minnesota. In my spare time I like to nordic ski, exercise, read books, play my violin, sew, spend time with my dogs, and be on the lake.

Here’s a photo of me!