2021 Update: Cirsium hillii fire & fitness

We are still monitoring the fate of the lone patch of Hill’s thistle at Hegg Lake WMA. It is the only patch in our study area, as far as we know. On 8 September 2021, Jared & Stuart used a stake file to find corners of the plot that was shot in 2014. We flagged the corners and did not see any flowering rosettes within. We shot coordinates for five basal rosettes. Two rosettes were outside of the plot near the SW corner. We scanned nearby and saw no more rosettes outside the plot. One Asclepias viridiflora plant was flagged within the plot. I regret I took no photos.

  • Start year: 2014
  • Location: Hegg Lake WMA
  • Data collected:
    • GPS coordinates ~Dropbox\geospatialDataBackup2021\convertedTXT2021\CIRSIUM_20210908_DARW.txt
    • notes. see file 2021-09-08notesCirsiumHillii.pdf
  • Samples or specimens collected: none
  • Products: none

You can find more information about our experiment on how fire affects the fitness of Cirsium hillii on previous flog posts regarding this experiment and on the background page for this experiment.

wrap up internship with LFC students

Alondra, Connor, Maeve, and Marina finished their mini-internships with us. It was a great experience for them and us. We appreciate their contributions to science and conservation and they gained valuable experience. As part of their plant biology class, Alondra, Connor, Maeve, and Marina, who are juniors and seniors at Lake Forest College, worked on two projects to assess effects of prescribed fires on reproduction in Echinacea. In the lab, they gained hands-on experience in seed biology over three Wednesday afternoons, including cleaning, scanning, counting, developing hypotheses, and data management. To test their hypotheses, they developed a dataset and summarized their results. In class they presented posters and they are attached here. It was a wonderful mini-internship–thanks to Alondra, Connor, Maeve, and Marina, as well as Prof. Westley!

insects today

Here are photos of insects I observed on Echinacea heads today.

The style-eating beetle was in or under a bagged head at SGC.

Happy Juneteenth

Team Echinacea is off to a great start. We had a wonderful first week. We got a lot done and laid the foundation to work well as a team to accomplish much more this summer. This summer we aim to learn bunches and make many contributions to science and conservation.

Look at our new shirts…

Emma wasn’t in this shot, she getting ready for the state track meet. Best wishes from Team E to Emma & AAHS track and field team at the state meet today!!!

Happy Juneteenth to all!

None of us is free until we’re all free.

updated COVID-19 preparedness plan

Here’s the third version of our COVID-19 preparedness plan. So far, so good.

COVID-19 preparedness plan

We want to be a safe. Here’s the COVID-19 preparedness plan that we developed for summer fieldwork. It’s a work in progress, but we intend for this plan will guide our first week. At the end of the week we will discuss how it works, how it doesn’t, and make modifications for the following week.

end of the field season

It’s been a long summer field season. Plants started flowering late (and they persisted), we aimed to accomplish a lot (and we did), and the weather stymied our fieldwork efforts (we avoided lightning). Nonetheless, it is time to say good-bye to MN and fieldwork and hello to Illinois and labwork. Riley, Erin, and Drake finished up the last of the big projects, backed up the computers, cleaned up the Hjelm house, packed up their cars, and drove to Illinois for the upcoming adventures in our lab at the Chicago Botanic Garden.

Riley, Erin, and Drake wrap up field activities in Minnesota (for now).
…and just in time to avoid the snow in the forecast.

pulling weeds

It’s raining. We searched for sweet clover south of p1 (experimental plot 1) and pulled about 70 stems. We started walking through p1 and encountered three clumps of bird’s-foot trefoil in rows 31 & 32 near position 878. As we were extracting the three bad plants with garden knives, the skies unleashed a downpour. We hastily gathered the leguminous carnage and headed back to the Hjelm house.

First day

We had an excellent first day of the summer field season. We visited prairies, got gear, practiced some observation skills, and learned how to use our datacollectors . Here’s a photo of team-members at the end of the day…

top row: Riley, Julie, Michael, Drake, Jay
bottom row: Shea, Amy, Erin, John

Wes Braker’s poster presentation

Wes presented the poster “Attaining high species diversity in prairies with low initial restoration investment” at the 85th Winchell Undergraduate Research Symposium & 31st MAS Annual Meeting with Stuart as co-author at the University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, MN on 21 April 2018. Here’s the poster.

Yay, Wes!

Wes presents his poster.