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Wednesday, July 4th

We were all having so much fun on the 4th of July that I forgot to write the events of the day.

Technically, the 4th of July is a day off for the Echinacea crew. Plants don’t celebrate national holidays, so we spent the morning assessing flowering phenology in the main experimental plot. After that, Andrew experienced a series of unfortunate events that kept him from observing pollinators. On the upside, he learned some valuable lessons and made a new friend.

Because aphids don’t take holidays either, I spent the latter part of the morning visiting plants in my aphid addition/exclusion experiment to remove aphids from the exclusion group. The goal of my experiment is to capture the effects of aphids in natural conditions–i.e. no cages or bags. That means that in order keep aphids off of the plants in the exclusion group, I need to visit them every few days to remove them by hand. For fifty plants (plus fifty more in the addition group) that’s a lot of footwork.

We celebrated America’s national holiday with a picnic at Elk Lake. We crammed in as many all-American activities as we could: potlucking, canoeing, sand-castle building, frying in the sun. If things weren’t American enough, Stuart brought a print-out of the Declaration of Independence, which we all took turns reading around the picnic blanket. Go America!

I didn’t get a good group picture, but here’s a cute shot of Jill, Shona, and Kelly:

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