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Farewell to Minnesota from Team Echinacea East

Hello flog!

Today’s flog is a bittersweet one, as it marks Team Echinacea East’s last update from here in Minnesota. After what has been a wonderful field experience with some truly amazing people, Miyauna, Ren, and I begin our journey home to the great state of Ohio tomorrow. Though we are sad to be leaving, we have had some great times while we’ve been out here, including times from our last day of field work!

We started the day off by making the drive out to P2 to tackle some more measuring and make some more progress on the pulse/steady experiment. Though we had been making steady progress through the measuring, the team really surged ahead today, and now are over halfway done!

All smiles for P2 measuring!!

After wrapping up with the morning tasks, the team trekked back to Hjelm House for lunch, where we were joined with a few special guests – Stuart’s parents and Steve Ellis (a local beekeeper) and his wife, Karen. Steve gave a talk about his experience raising honeybees, how his bees have been affected by neonicotinoids, and his experiences going up against the state and federal governments to get them to restrict/ban the use of these harmful chemicals. Though we usually focus on our own native solitary bees here at the Echinacea Project, I think we all found it well worthwhile to take this short break to discuss the nonnative honeybee and the plight of pollinators all across the world.

We love bees! (and Stuart’s world-famous cake!)

After the conclusion of Steve’s talk and a brief flossing tutorial by Ren, the team prepped to head back out for the afternoon. This mostly included people working on their independent projects – Julie checking her crossed plants, Jay killing some more ash, and Riley and Erin honing their computer wizardry skills a bit more. Miyauna, Ren, Amy, and I were in for a special treat though, as we got to ride with John in the famous Bombus Mobile to go water the baby plants in John’s restoration plots at the school.

Bombus Mobile selfies!

And that was it! Our final day of field work concluded. It’s been a terrific two and a half weeks, and we wish the team all the luck in the world with the rest of their field season – we will miss you all!

Thanks for an awesome field experience 🙂

Avery

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