First Week & the Runestone!

This was a great first week, and great introduction to all the work going on this summer with Team Echinacea. Despite everyone else’s familiarity with the procedures, everyone has served as great mentors and teachers this week as I do my best to catch up.

Each day I spent a bit of time doing something different. Monday was spent looking at Lea’s project on Solidago¬†and¬†Liatris, some time on rechecks, and also demo! On Tuesday Stuart introduced me to Hegg lake and the number of interesting projects going on out at that location. I also pinned insects some this week with Alex (yay bees!) and did vegetation with Lea and Tracie.

I’ve set a few goals for myself this summer: these include becoming comfortable with naming the local vegetation and pollinators, developing my skills in R, and staying up on current literature. I’m really enjoying learning about everyone’s projects, developing my skills, and getting to know everyone better.

Today was mostly relaxed, but I decided to get out of the house for a bit this afternoon and check out Runestone County Park. The story goes that a group of Vikings were commissioned by the then current King of Norway to travel to the west. After traveling through the Arctic Ocean, this small group of Vikings ended up in the Hudson Bay and then trekked south into Minnesota. Near Kensington these Vikings were ambushed (likely by Native Americans) and left behind the “Runestone” or an inscription which detailed their encounter. A man and his son discovered the tablet in the late 1800s, prompting investigations into the first recorded history of Europeans in North America.

People remain skeptical of the Runestone, however, after numerous Wikipedia searches it seems that there is some evidence suggesting the story to be true. While we may never know which group of Europeans reached North America first, the park is pretty and serene, and serves as a unique part of an interesting local legend.




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