Back to Douglas Co

Members of team Echinacea went back to Minnesota to do some final field work and winterization of our field station. We had fantastic weather for field work but northerly winds brought chilly temps by the end of the week and reminded us that winter is near . Here are some updates from all we got done these past few days!

Seed Add

 We added seeds to 84 experimental transects at 36 sites for our seed addition experiment, which measures the effects of prescribed fire on seedling germination and emergence in Echinacea. We made quick work and were able to get this done in just 1 day plus an extra morning!

Here is Wyatt sprinkling E. angustifolia achenes along our seed addition transects.

Prescribed Burning and Broadcasting Seed

We got two solid days of good burn weather– more than any of us predicted! Over this window we burned six units, including the production plot, a few oak litter areas, Jean’s prairie garden, and the southeast hill. After all this burning, we broadcasted native seed collected by the team this summer. We’re excited to see what happens in these units next year!

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is IMG_5855-1-scaled.jpeg
Jean’s prairie garden burned in ~5 minutes
Jared gets our 1st burn started
Wyatt broadcasts seed into this freshly burned unit

Return Achenes to Remnants

Every summer we harvest a subset of Echinacea heads from remnant sites to assess fitness. In order to ensure that we are not disrupting these populations, we later return the achenes to their maternal plants in a way that mimics natural dispersal. On this trip, we visited many small sites, where this process is essential as well as a few bigger ones.

Woody Encroachment Pilot

I tested out methods for my research project looking at the effects of Sumac encroachment on Echinacea fitness and mortality. I collected height and spatial location information on Sumac plants in order to quantify encroachment. In an encroached site like Tower, this process was no walk in the park…

Here I am staking to one of my random points

Post- Summer Sleuthing

When mistakes during summer data collection happen, it takes some investigating to figure out where we went wrong. On this trip, we revisited plants with issues from demographic data collection AND we found a P02 plant that was never harvested during the summer!

Abby & Wyatt solve mysteries in the field!

2023 Updates Coming Soon

We will be posting updates about the projects we worked on this summer in the coming weeks. Stay tuned!

Members of Team Echinacea 2023 Prepare to Measure plants in exPt02.

Something told the wild geese…

It’s autumn at Chicago Botanic Garden! Geese fly south overhead, the trees are ablaze, goldenrod has gone to seed, and there was even a dusting of snow on the ground this morning (which made for a treacherous bike ride along the Green Bay Trail).

But there are also many other signs within the Population Biology lab that will tell you fall is in the air. All of our heads from 2023 are done drying and we have just begun to inventory our harvest.

Here is Wyatt, pulling out the very first bag for 2023 inventory.

How else do we know it’s fall? We are gathering seeds and datasheets in preparation for a final return to Minnesota. We put these seeds out in experimental plots/transects or remnants “as late as possible, but not to late”. Ian is entering the last of the data from pollen and nectar collection this summer and it feels like forever ago. And when 4pm hits, the sun shines though the atrium and fills our lab with natural light. This doesn’t happen very often, but it’s a treat when it does.

Maybe it is all these tell-tale signs from the Echinacea Project that told the wild geese- “It was time to go”.

Long Time No Flog, Here’s a Limerick!

Here in the lab at the Garden I’ve settled,
In demap and on ACE, oh boy, have I meddled.
New faces I’ve seen,
Not to mention achenes
And all through the trails I have pedaled.

The foliage here is quite a delight,
And from the Metra the city looks bright.
But Minnesota’s fire
Is my heart’s true desire,
The prescription to better my plight.

Meet Our New CEO

This past week, Team Echinacea volunteer, Allen, hit a milestone of 1 million achenes counted. That’s a lot of achenes! This achievement has led to his promotion to Chief Echinacea Officer, a highly esteemed role. Thanks for all your hard work, Allen!

A top hat is a must for any CEO
Mid-morning achene cupcake snack

Last Days Landfill Limericks

This lore I tell may be known by few,
But the puzzle is truer than true.
I’ve set out on my quest,
To resolve this strange jest,
With determination, I’ll find what’s askew!

At landfill prairie I roamed with dread
The mystery swirled round in my head
At last, like a flag,
A twenty-nine tag!
I grabbed it and onward I fled.

The field has been a wonderful friend
But my time here has come to an end
With joy I confess,
I’ve fixed up this mess,
Leaving others no doubt still to mend.

Team Echinacea Day at a Glance

Horoscope 28 Aug 2023: Avenza can lead you to your random points but you must open your eyes to see the flags


Slip on shoes

Staffanson Row

Downy Gentian



Leaky pens

Empty picnic table

Haiku for Total Demo

I was consulting

The total demo-meter

Wow! We’re almost done!

Total Demo Final Countdown

Our Total Demo days are numbered! With 90.6% of our Locs demo’d we might be wrapping up as soon as tomorrow. We’ll keep you posted.

Total Demo Morning Memo

It’s an exciting time to be a demographer with the Echinacea Project… We are 69.3% done with total demo! We’ll start today with a team effort to knock out Landfill, which is one of our last big sites! Stay tuned to see how much progress we make!