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Orchid Trip!

Gretel has a fantastic research project where she studies the resilience of Western Prairie Fringed Orchid, a federally endangered wet-prairie species.

Western Prairie Fringed Orchid

We got up early in the morning to drive to the site and there were clearly different levels of excitement. The group in the truck had a normal attitude for 6 in the morning…

The truck crew ready to leave.

…but the crew from Andes was ready to partay!

The Andes Crew is even more ready.

When we got to the orchid site, the weather was cold and looked like rain might threaten our day. We went out to the first plots and learned how to identify orchids, count the flowers, and GPS-mark their location. Then we split up into two groups and systematically went through the orchid plots.

Stuart and Anna searching for orchids

We came across a ton of orchids! Anna was enthusiastic in her finding.

Anna found an orchid!

Then we marked each orchid with a flag so they can easily be found in the fall when fruit count surveys are done.

We marked each orchid with a flag with an identifying number.

Besides seeing hundreds of orchids, we also saw many thousands of black-eyed susans (Rudbeckia hirta) and flowering sedges.

Rudbeckia hirta in full bloom.

A flowering sedge.

More flowering sedges!

There was also a beautiful ant hill.

Alex and a massive ant hill.

The wet prairie of Pembina.

An orchid in it’s natural habitat.

One of the biggest orchids we found.

Until next time!

Wes

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