The Dynamic Duo is Back!

Hey guys! Long time no flog!

Remember back in June when Leah and I started working on our Independent Study Theses for The College of Wooster? Well, we finished! If you can remember that far back, I was examining the effect of removing buckthorn on the edge of a bog. I found that soil pH and canopy cover change after just a month of buckthorn removal – more similar to that of the bog interior! Leah found that bees exhibit decreasing floral fidelity towards Echinacea over time! So interesting!!!

We love and miss the beautiful Minnesota and our amazing pals in Team Echinacea so much! Thanks for everything, guys. We couldn’t have done it without you.



Alyson & Leah

Me and Leah holding our Tootsie Roll, a Wooster tradition in honor of finishing our thesis!

Live from Michigan, it’s Saturday Night!

Hello floggy friends!

This morning, Leah and I left Town Hall to embark on a crazy road trip to Michigan. As we were driving, other members of Team Echinacea participated in the FlekkeFest 5k and witnessed history at the International Vinegar Museum. I’ve only been gone for about 14 hours, but I already miss everyone so much. To pass the time during our car trip, Leah and I shared fun stories from the summer.

Other notable moments from our trip include:

  • Witnessing a “noutfit” or what others would call  a “neon outfit”
  • License plates from 16 different states
  • Stopping at Taco Bell more than once
  • Listening to “Too Good” only once and “Cold Water” four times (contrary to popular belief by members of Town Hall)

Great roommates must think alike, because as Leah was posting about what members of Team Echinacea taught us, I wanted to share what we taught Team Echinacea during our two months in Minnesota. I’d say we taught them a few valuable life lessons:

  1. Sometimes you just need to stop and look at all those mushrooms
  2. If you don’t listen to Drake or Justin Bieber during a car ride, you’re doing it wrong
  3. If a picture is worth 1000 words, an emoji must be worth so much more
  4. Not only does singing to aphids get the job done (thanks Abby for that tip), but singing to pollinators and basal plants in experimental plots also does the trick
  5. Anyone can learn how to cook, but it’s not a good meal unless you add at least 3 different kinds of cheese
  6. Prairies are pretty cool, but bogs might be better (minus the buckthorn and mosquitoes)
  7. Dance parties are acceptable at any time of day
  8. You shouldn’t settle for anything less than perfect (namely the perfect meter stick or fork size)
  9. Embrace being silly and awkward, because the people mind don’t matter and the people who matter don’t mind.

Finally, I’d just like to thank everyone for all the support and guidance they’ve given me this summer. I’ll never forget this amazing group of people and I can’t wait to see how everyone else’s projects go and I can’t wait to keep snapchatting everyone (*nudge nudge Town Hall fam I’m talking about you).

Catch ya on the flippity flop,



Peace out, Kensington! Ps- Thanks Scott for taking this adorable pic and seeing us off this morning (at the insane hour of 6am)

Happy World Emoji Day!

In honor of World Emoji Day, I have decided to describe our day in a series of emojis: 🐱🍜🚿💻📞😴👖. For those of you who cannot see the emojis or just do not understand, we had a quiet day at Town Hall. We did very little besides talking about cats, eating, showering, laundry, chatting with old friends, flogging, sleeping, and enjoying the holiday.

In other news, Laura finished knitting a sock today, and since there are no sock emojis, I will include a picture instead. 

Laura has knitted a sock! Laura is a free elf!

Laura has knitted a sock! Laura is a free elf!

I think we’re all excited to get back to work tomorrow so that we will have more to do and talk about.

The Effects of Removing Buckthorn on a Bog – My Independent Project

This summer, I will be examining the effects of removing buckthorn, a shrub that is invasive to Minnesota, on the edges of a bog near the Hjelm House. I am interested in seeing how removing buckthorn impacts the native plants, native invertebrates, soil quality, and exotic earthworm population. To learn more about my project, feel free to read my proposal! I’ve already been working on my project quite a bit and I can’t wait to get the final data and results!

Alyson’s Awesome Proposal – Click here to read the most exciting proposal you’ve ever read, probably.


Here's a sneak peak of the bog that I will be studying this summer.

Here’s a sneak peak of the bog that I will be studying this summer! Isn’t it pretty?!

Bye Bye Buckthorn!


Leah just wishes that bees would land on a flower and not on her camera

Laura and Leah had already started their day much earlier than the rest of us to wipe the pollinators that they caught yesterday in p2 on flowers in p1 for Laura’s independent project. When the rest of the team arrived at the Hjelm House, pollinators were out and about, so most of the team went out for pollinator observations. Other members of the team worked on assessing compatibility and used the GPS. From what I gathered from stories at lunch and messages in a certain group chat, the team saw some pretty interesting things, including a mysterious rodent. After observations, team members did some weeding, resulting in an assessment of a large thistle that might be taller than Abby.


Here’s just one pile of buckthorn that was cut from a plot!





Meanwhile, I went to the bog to remove buckthorn. Since we had removed all of the buckthorn from four of my plots yesterday (HUGE thanks to Jennifer, Laura, and Leah), I only needed to remove it from one more plot. And I did it! Buckthorn was cut and herbicide was applied to the stumps so that it won’t grow back (*crosses fingers).


Abby shows us her favorite Snapchat filter with this stunning selfie

When we convened for lunch, several of us tried out various Snapchat filters and talked about which ones we like best (In case you’re wondering, my favorite is the flower crown or the dog ears). My data loggers arrived so another shout-out is in order, this time for Gretel and Will, who figured out how to put in the batteries. After lunch, we were ready to get back to work.

I went back to the bog to set up my data loggers. These measure micro-climate data like temperature and humidity. Afterwards, I joined James and Lea in p1 to catch any plants that had been missed previously. We found 11 new plants! It started to rain once we finished so we trekked back, finished some chores, and headed home.

Everyone was hungry after such a busy day, so we were excited about the risotto and salad that Lea made. We were also excited to treat ourselves to ice cream for dessert. Unfortunately I broke a spoon, but someone said it must have happened because all of that buckthorn cutting made me really strong.

Busy, Breezy Monday

After a nice, relaxing weekend, we were ready for our breezy and busy Monday. We split up into teams this morning to accomplish things like phenology, Stipa harvesting, using the GPS and finding more q2 seedlings. Lea and I took one of the routes to some of the prairie remnant sites to assess phenology of Echinacea. Lea helped me become so much more confident identifying the flowering day and style persistence of each plant, so she gets a special shout-out for answering (and re-answering) all of my questions.


An “Instagram-worthy” view taken during our drive to remnant sites

We all convened for lunch to hear Kevin Kotts speak about his job as Wildlife Manager with the Minnesota DNR. The team learned that he has many different jobs, including work in wetland, grassland, and wildlife management. It was really interesting to learn about all of the ongoing conservation and restoration projects in the five-county area.

After lunch, it was back to work to finish what we had started before lunch. However, we mixed up groups, so I was able to go out to Landfill with Amy, Will, and Alex to learn how to use the GPS and jam out to a bit of Taylor Swift.

Finally, at the end of the day, we all met back up to chat about our progress and get a little insight into tomorrow’s adventure. Jennifer and Stuart taught us how to identify the pollinators we should expect to see during pollinator observations. Also, I got my mustard in the mail today, so hopefully I will be able to go to the bog soon to take the rest of my initial measurements for my I.S.


Update from Town Hall

This weekend is “Runestone Days” in Kensington. Last night, we got the chance to scope out the scene and talk to a few people in town. This morning, the Lions Club of Kensington gave us way too much food at the Pancake Breakfast. It was so much fun to have time to eat, chat, and be able to learn more about each other. Then, we walked around town, checking out the garage sales. We headed back to Town Hall once it began to rain and spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing.


Leah, Lea, Laura, Alex, James, and I experiencing the atmosphere at Runestone Days


Alex shows off his new hat and honey that he bought from the garage sale

Travelogue in NNWLF

Today we visited the rather small and flat NNWLF Site. This plot is just off the road and shows signs of disturbance from cars. The site is interesting because of the nearby pine trees which are not native to prairies. Pine trees could create a shadow over the remnant in the early morning because of their eastern position, this could impact the growth of plants. The outer edges of the plot contained non native sweet clover and alfalfa, which are legumes, and cool weather grass, brome. On the other hand, the core of the remnant contained mostly native milkweed and few non natives. There were no Echinacea buds yet as it is early in the season.


North of Northwest of Landfill Site

Alyson Jacobs

Echinacea Project 2016

I am a Biology Major and Environmental Studies Minor at The College of Wooster and will be graduating in 2017.

Research Interests

I am very excited to join Team Echinacea this summer and learn more about The Echinacea Project. I will also be working on my Senior Independent Study this summer, looking at the effects of removing buckthorn, an invasive species, on a bog habitat.


I am originally from Manchester, Michigan, but I currently live in Flushing, Michigan. I play the flute in the Wooster Scot Marching Band and I am Vice-president of my sorority, Kappa Epsilon Zeta. In my free time I enjoy reading, hiking, and taking pictures of pretty flowers and cool fungi.