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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.

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