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Farewell, Flog!

Goood afternoon!

Yesterday was my last day with Team Echinacea. I’m sad to say goodbye so soon, but my Junior year of high school is calling me. I had an amazing summer with the team, and I learned so much about plants and the prairie in a unique experience I wouldn’t be able to get anywhere else.

It wasn’t just my last day yesterday, but also Lea, John, and Emma’s. We wrapped up our time together with one last goat-herding excursion, some packing, and a little bit of demo before our early lunch.

At lunch, we had some delicious vegan chocolate cake (Thank you Jean for all the cakes you’ve made us this summer!) and sat in our 2020 grass-circle for the last time. John and Lea’s puppy pals came to visit too! I’m going to miss our little spot under the oak trees, but I won’t miss the constant fear of acorn-pelting…

Who’s a good boy? Clyde’s a good boy!
Huxley and Velmie came to visit too!

In the afternoon, Emma, Mia and I went out to Hegg Lake/P2 to shoot demo on some recruitment sites. I got some quality time with Darwin in the car while we drove, and Emma was able to shoot one final site with him. I think it was a pretty sentimental experience for the both of us.

MYSTERY DOGS!! These guys were hanging out on the side of the road as we drove by… we thought they were coyotes, but we were pleasantly surprised!
“don’t speak to me or my son ever again”
Just kidding! Darwin and I are very social

At the end of the day, we cleaned up Hjelm as much as we could, returned our equipment, and said the final good-byes for the summer. I’m going to miss Team Echinacea as Fall and Winter come, but I’m hoping to visit again next summer. Thank you to all the people who helped me grow as a scientist and student. I wouldn’t exchange this summer for anything, and I’m grateful we were given the chance to come together in 2020.

Signing off for now,

Alpha Mike / Anna Meehan

Diary of a seedling

Dear diary,

            Today the loud lumbering noises came back, it has been a while since they last visited but the day lengths seem similar to last time. The noises got louder when they found me, I guess that means that they were excited to see me again. I wonder if they know that I look forward to their visit every year.

            This has been a big year for me I worked really hard and I grew two whole leaves! The longest one is all of seven whole centimeters! My parent plant would be so proud of me! Speaking of the good old ‘rent, I haven’t heard from them in a while. I miss them but I am excited to strike out on my own, I hope that I can flower some day and make them proud.

Anyway, today was a good day since the loud lumbering noises came for their visit and I look forward for when they come and visit again. But for now, I have to go back to getting ready for the cold. I am keeping busy making sure all of my sugars are packed away and ready for midnight snacking.

Sincerely,

            M

The Tart Plum Plum Tart is ready for Mary Berry’s approval

Today Emma and I did some sling in the morning when we visited this seeding M. Lea did her last field work of the year this morning! During lunch Drake brought his Tart Plum Plum Tart, to share! It was very good, and we all appreciated the time that picking all of the plums took. In the afternoon Emma and I set off to do some of the little demo left. I got some practice at operating Darwin. Operating Darwin is a bit trickery than I was expecting but with a good teacher like Emma I picked it up fairly quickly.

Me attempting to get the GPS in the exact right spot….

Until next time!

Bur bye,

Mia

Adventures in New Territories

Hey flog! It’s been a minute!

The team is starting to wrap up our season as we say goodbye to more members. We’re sad to see them go, but our remaining group has continued to power through- business as usual!

Emma, Mia and I started the day off with demo in some sites previously untouched by the 2020 team. First, we went to Hegg Lake, where I harvested some Echinacea pallida as well as Echinacea angustifolia, the last field-work step of our hybrid experiment (Stay tuned for an update on that in the coming weeks!). Emma and Mia practiced demo in some smaller sites so that Mia is trained in on Darwin, or “Chucky D”, when Emma and I leave.

In the afternoon, Emma headed off to do some more work on sling, while Mia and I harvested heads. Emma not only managed to finish the sites she planned, but also went on to tackle Staffanson! Big sites like that are hard to manage, especially on your own. Go Emma!

Mia and I continued to pick away at P1 harvesting. We got a good portion done, and plan on finishing it in the coming week. I also took some pictures of plants in different stages to improve our protocol, which will help newcomers and oldtimers in the following years.

Overall, our small team turned out to be pretty successful! We were productive, pushed through, and made it out alive. Here’s another success story for the books- or, maybe just the flog.

Until next time!

Anna (Meehan)

Sling!!

Hey flog its ya girl Mia!

Today Amy D. came up from the cites to help kick off sling refinds!

I had never done sling before, but I thought it was pretty cool. It’s kind of like if measuring and demo had a kid, because you have to measure all of the seedlings but also still find nearest neighbor. We were able to finish three sites today, East elk lake road, KJ’s, and south of golf course!

Amy D. and I on the hunt for seedlings!

This afternoon we worked on some p1 harvest as a team and Emma went off to work on her independent project.

It was a hot one out here today but we all made it out alive and are ready to get some more stuff done tomorrow!

Emma posing with Chucky D

Mia

Last Day :(

Sadly today was my last day. We started off the day by moving the goats, which was really fun. Then we keeping going on rechecks in P1, and ending the day with cutting big blue stem.

I had a wonderful summer and I wouldn’t change it at all! I have always said my dream job is where I could wear rain boats and fun hats and in thing job I could. I am so thankful for all the people I met and all the experiences I got to have.

I don’t know what I will miss more, the people or my cone?

P10 > P2?

My coworkers know that P2 has held a special place for me and that sometimes they may find me staring off into the vastness of it. P2 currently being harvested and most flowering plants were decapitated, but some are still left but not for long. I sometimes daydream in P2 that its a couple hundred years ago and i am just a visitor passing through West Central MN and all i see is acre after acre of prairie. But P10, located at West Central Area Schools with its observation tower where i have spent dark evenings with my Astronomy Class is also special for me. And now P10 with its Echinacea angustifolia plots and plants flourishing in their first full growing season, it may have taken the edge over P2. We’ve been able to check to see how many plants have made it through year one and it’s at about 2/3s. Hopefully those plots can provide many years of students using the plots to collect data and learn to appreciate the prairie.

Abby VK (Echinacea Project alumni from 2015 and 2016 helps 2020 team member John VK measure P10. Abby stated “i was on the A Team for measuring plots and flower phenology back in my days, along with Will and Amy.”

This morning was spent doing P1 rechecks and Emma had 3 search and finds in a row, remarkable. The afternoon had team members help Leah collecting seeds from predetermined plots at Aanenson and East of Town Hall.

Anna, on East of Town Hall balance beam fence, just prior to her double tuck backflip dismount. Incredible.

New foo who dis?

Ohhh heyyyyyyy its your friendly Team Echinacea yearlong intern who found her hair brush under her bed after it being lost for at least three weeks, Mia Stevens.

Oh boy do we have some updates for the flog!

Yesterday was a tumultuous weather day out here in Dougy county. Approximately at 4:30 am the thunder and rain began, this was some serious not messing around rain. I couldn’t sleep through it. Then at 6 there was the loudest thunder crack you have ever heard in your life. All of Andes crew jumped 6” in the air in shock. Then as we moseyed out of bed, we realized that not quite all of the lights were turning on. As we slightly began to panic about breakfast, the refrigerator, morning cups of tea, etc. Lea came to the rescue and checked the circuit breaker and fixed it all! Yay real adults! However, the one thing that did not turn back on and still hasn’t is the Wifi 🙁

We set off to Hjelm for a morning Zoom to learn about this awesome new mapping function made by Jared. The rain was still coming, enough to make even me drive the speed limit on 27. We were able to sneak in some remnant phenology, p1 phenology, demo, and even some p1 rechecks before lunch.

At lunch we enjoyed a wonderful vegan chocolate cake made by Jean, Penny, and Tulula to celebrate Jared’s week with the team. Then, the clouds came back with strong gusts of winds. We decided to call it quits on field work after lunch, and head over to Hoff house to empty it out.

Allie and I were working on some coding while double fisting halo pops when Stuart sent out a group me warning the group about the ongoing tornado warning! As two non-Midwesterners tornados are a fairly unknown phenomena, us New Yorkers know snow but that’s all about it natural disaster wise. Nothing too crazy happened in Hoffman, just some hard rain and wind. However, Lea reports it was raining sideways at Andes! But once we heard that John/Bonnie and Clyde are on tornado watch duty we instantly felt much safer. However, the lack of spotting the tornado in Evansville has made their further employment as tornado spotters come into question by some authorities, but not this one, we love you Clyde!

Clyde keeping watch!

After a recreating a scene from the Wizard of Oz we returned to Andes with a lifetime supply of halo pops. We went to bed with dreams of working Wi-Fi in the morning.

Our dreams were disappointed. We have spent the day finding ways to occupy ourselves without Wi-fi. Activities include but are not limited to: eating, drawing, cleaning your room, napping, becoming a dog groomer, reading, cleaning out your downloads folder, sunbathing, thinking about studying for the GRE, field work, and more eating.

Hopefully soon the Wifi can return and then I can choose to avoid answering emails instead of it being chosen for me.

Until next time flog, keep it crispy!

Mia

Arson 101

Hi flog!

Monday was the start of a new week. We traded Anna M. for Anna A. and hit the ground running.

The returned Anna A. – without braces!

Anna and I started the day off herding aphids in p1. Sadly, the number of aphids is slowly declining, after never really going up in the first place.

At lunch we all got to chat with Jared Beck, visiting possible post-doc. We talked about setting things on fire, like prairie preserves and experimental plots, and statistics. Jared will be here for the whole week, scoping The Echinacea Project out and looking at possible experimental sites.

After lunch, Emma, Anna, Mia, and I headed up to p2 to try and finish the last of the measuring. We made it all the way to row 73, meaning we have 7 more rows left. If John had been around we probably would have finished measuring (we miss you John!).

Measuring p2 on a nice day

Sappy (demo crew appreciation) post and Grass Corner

Hi FLOG!

It has been a busy and at times stressful few weeks in and outside of work, but I’m thankful for the supportive and reliable people around me in both aspects of my life who help me stay positive and hopeful.

In terms of work some of the people I’ve been grateful to count on the past few weeks are Allie, Anna M., and Anna A., who’ve been working with me to do demo––we’ve done one or two sites every day the last week and a half, and it’s been going smoothly. It can be kind of a zen time, just me, the GPS, and the point I’m staking to…repetitive, routine, peaceful. I’m really glad to have teammates who do their jobs well, that makes my part easy! Another thing I enjoyed doing this week was ID’ing native milkweed Asclepias viridiflora with Anna M. Something about plant ID is just fun! And fun to see someone learning it for themselves.

Today I also got to work on my independent project some, doing a pilot study out at East Elk Lake Road, a favorite site. I collected microhabitat data around maternal Sling plants, including plant community composition & flowering plants, distance to roads, slope & aspect, and litter depth. The end goal is to learn to what extent microhabitat characteristics are related to Echinacea seedling persistence! I learned a lot on my test run today about my protocol (if anyone knows how to use a clinometer hit me up), and was reminded of how much I love doing community composition sampling! It felt so natural and fun to be doing again, even though it was just a little.

One last thing is a special mention of the apple of my eye, the native grasses in P1. There is awesome species representation and it’s been so fun seeing each one’s phenology as they take turns sending up seedheads throughout the summer. First was porcupine grass (Hesperostipa Sparta), then sideoats grama (Bouteloua curtipendula) started, then big bluestem (Andropogon gerardii), followed by Indiangrass (Sorghastrum nutans), and we’re now approaching my favorite grass, little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium)’s flowering. So great, so diverse! Thanks for tuning in to this episode of Grass Corner with Emma.

An insect predator-prey interaction? I heard that the green bug at the bottom is a predatory species, so it may be
Sometimes instead of woody encroachment it’s ag field encroachment––a lone Echinacea between the soybean rows
The most beautiful color on this sideoats grama pollen! I’d never seen such bright red pollen before.

Vacation

I love Montana! My mom and I decided to take a trip out to Montana to visit colleges. We arrived in Bozeman, Montana on Friday. Since Friday we have done tons of hiking, visited Yellowstone and took a tour of Montana State University. Yellowstone had lots of people and it took us about 5 hours to drive only 30 miles! In Yellowstone we saw the grand canyon and some geysers. Today we had a campus tour and I fell in love with Montana State University and later today we are going on a cave tour.

I have done a lot of hiking in my life but this hike was by far my favorite! My mom and I woke up at 5 am to get to Hyalite Trail by 7. We hiked for about 7 miles and it was gorgeous!