Chupy 2: The Demopup

On this sweltering day, Lindsey and I worked on developing a system for keeping track of demopup, the process of mopping up any mistakes, mishaps, and general instances of misses. We collected a list of every site and made a poster to keep a close eye on the process, and have some fun. Chupy the chupacabra/badger/puppy has made a reappearance.

Lindsey deep in the creative process

We will revisit every site to search, demo, and survey flowering echinacea one more time. Team members will keep track of how many plants they find that aren’t all the way through the process, and once they get back to Hjelm they get to put a corresponding number of their own special sticker next to the site in question. Sticker options to come!

Poster finished. Lindsey’s art degree pending.

Fun (hyperbolized) fact!

If you stacked all the datasheets we use for pollen and nectar collection in one pile, it would circle the Earth 2.6 times.

Even with all these datasheets, we’re happy to report we’ve made strides to stay organized and work efficently.


Beetle witnessed stealing pollen from local Echinacea

A beetle was seen allegedly stealing pollen from Echinacea Angustifolia this morning at Staffanson Prairie preserve. The insect’s motives are currently unknown and the suspect is still on the loose.

Witnesses say the crime occurred around 9:40, when the critter began apparently attacking Angustifolia’s anthers unprovoked.

“It was like nothing I’d ever seen,” said Amorpha Canascens, Angustifolia’s neighbor. “My forby friend was just going about their business trying to reproduce when this cranky creature started pocketing all their pollen for itself.”

Officials have reported that 2023 is a relatively low flowering year for our favorite prairie flower in the area, so Angustifolia may not have had many mates anyway. Still, they would have liked to have had a chance to reproduce.

“A whole day of pollen production wasted! This is going to throw off my synchrony stats for sure,” Angustifolia said.

Despite the hardship, Angustifolia remains committed to their goal.

“I still have some more flowering days in me yet,” they said. “And for every selfish beetle, there’s a benevolent bee to help me out. Because in the prairie, we look out for each other.”

After lunch pontification

Yesterday, we spent the early afternoon at the picnic tables outside of the Hjelm house. It was a lovely day save for the smoke in the air (see Jen’s poem). After we all ate lunch, Jared gave a talk, bringing the team up to speed on the work we do in the remnants. We learned all about the work that started in Staffanson and is now in 35 different prairie remnants in our area. And, though Echinacea will always be our darling study species, we’re starting to look more into other fun species, like different grasses and more forbs (shoutout to Liatris).

Jared giving an impassioned talk

Afterward, we did our annual team norms activity, where we discuss 4 questions pertaining to how we learn and conduct science and come together to agree on how we can best support each other this summer. With everyone contributing, we were able to come up with norms that we all liked. Hurray for discussion and repetition and communication and repetition!

Me with our responses to question 2 (I forgot to change the number on the board)

Wyatt Mosiman

Echinacea Project 2023

Northwestern University, MS in Plant Biology in Conservation, expected spring 2024

Pronouns: she/her

Research Interests

When we talk about plants benefitting from prescribed burns, we often think of increased flowering rates in the growing following a fire. Often, this effect is attributed to advantageous growing conditions after fire, like more light, increased nutrient availability, and reduced competition. However, in our prairies, while many species do exhibit fire-stimulated flowering, some don’t, which doesn’t make sense using this physiological explanation! Why would some species take advantage of these better growing conditions while others decide not to?

My research takes a closer look at the reasons for fire-stimulated flowering and considers whether it could be a heritable trait, a built in behavior passed down through the generations. I’ll be primarily working in the experimental plots, which contain parent and offspring individual, where we can compare the flowering rates of different families across years. I’m very excited to get out in the field and work toward learning more about this big question!


I’m from Chanhassen, Minnesota and love living and working in this neck o’ the woods (or prairie). In my free time I like to fish (catch and eat, yumm), explore, camp, play board/card games, and cook with friends.

Independent Bookstore Day 2023

This Saturday was a glorious day: Independent Bookstore Day! Every year on the last Saturday in April, the nation celebrates indie bookstores in all sorts of ways. In Chicago (and the Twin Cities and maybe other places), local bookstores participate in a passport event – visit as many bookstores as you can, get a stamp at each one, and win a prize based on how many you visit!

With 40 participating stores this year, visiting 10 would get you 10% off at all the bookstores for a year, and 15 would get you 15% off. Individual stores also often had their own special goodies for the day, including snacks, pencils, tote bags, and other exclusive (and often free!) merchandise. Alex and I were up for the challenge. In fact, we even took on a non-book related side quest, more on that later.

We started out strong with Bookends & Beginnings in Evanston, where we got free totes, some books, and our passports with our first stamp. We made our way south, visiting stores both familiar and novel.

Upon reaching our tenth bookstore, we were both awarded pins that will give us a 10% discount at all 40 stores for the rest of the year. We rejoiced! But at our 11th bookstore, tragedy struck. I couldn’t find my passport anywhere, and I fear it was left at our tenth stop. We mourned! The show didn’t stop though, because Alex still had her passport, we had four more bookstores to go, and one very important side quest.

Stores 12-14 were located within walking distance of each other in Wicker Park, so we visited them all in one stop and got falafel sandwiches and waffle fries to boot. With full stomaches and a clear bath forward, we took of to Goose Island, home of the holy Restaurant Depot.

Our secret mission was to locate and extract one gallon of Wright’s Smoked Hickory for Alex and Lindsey’s smoke experiment. The job was difficult; mammoth quantities of random everyday ingredients tantalized us at every turn. However, I am happy to report the mission was a complete success. We escaped with our sanity intact and only one extra item (who can say no to a big ol’ container of chocolate hazelnut wafer rolls?).

We hit our 15th bookstore on our way back north, where Alex was celebrated as a grand winner of the day (though they had run out of 15 store pins). Victorious, we made our way back to Evanston. Until next time, bookstores!

(we also saw some lovely street art)