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Field Season 2019, Day 1: John and Julie

Echinacea angustifolia has an amazing will to survive, even on the edge of a fairly inhospitable habitat with relatively poor soil quality. The ground at our East Riley Site is pocked with ruts, packed by frequent mowing, and nearly scraped clean by this winter’s snow plowing. As an Echinacea Project veteran and a local familiar with this roadside plot, John told me on the drive to East Riley that he was nervous we might not see any plants sprouting out of the squished soil. But luckily, we were welcomed to the site by several healthy plants and rising flower buds poking out of the packed and duff-less ground. Surprisingly resilient, native Echinacea still sprout from their deep roots at the East Riley roadside season after season, striving to flower and pass on their genes to the next generation.

Life on the roadside at East Riley may be tough for the plants, but the tent caterpillars seem to be thriving. Here’s John examining one of their characteristic webby nests on a tree that must have been their most recent, hearty meal.


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