Week in Review

I was nervous when I entered the idyllic enclave of Kensington, MN. Here I was, after five days of driving from San Francisco, launching myself into a new place with new people, without knowing what to expect. I’m pleased to say that I am happy with my decision to join team Echinacea. On Monday, June 12th we began planting seedlings in Staffanson prairie reserve. This was part of a study on how burning plots affects the next generation of plants. Amazingly, we managed to finish the entire plot on Tuesday, thanks to the efficient cooperation of eleven people. Wednesday was too rainy for field work, so we spent the morning cleaning up and organizing our materials. After lunch we took a field trip to visit various sites and explore the flora therein (Josh snapped some wonderful pictures and will post them here soon). Over Thursday and Friday we completed seedling searches in three remnants: RI, KJ, and NESS. At each site we flagged a subset of Echinacea plants and pairs of team members searched for seedlings around each plant, mapping their results so we can find them again in the future.
This week has also brought a lot of discussion. Prominent items on the agenda were chores (someone has to keep the field station clean), summer research projects, and our new media initiative. In addition to helping out with ongoing field projects, each member of the team must tackle a research question–working in groups or individually, depending on their preferences. Project proposals should appear on the flog over the next few days. I’m excited to see what people come up with. We talked at length about how we can use various media sources (the flog, the website, facebook, Twitter) to enhance communication within the Echinacea Project and with a wider community. I never thought a field biology internship would include making a Twitter account, but now I’m convinced it’s a good idea. Check the flog for our plans and ideas.
Lastly, and most importantly, this weekend marks Kensington’s annual celebration of Runestone Day, which means Viking shiploads of small town fun. Last night we saw a fireworks show paired with a lightning storm (I’m not sure which was more impressive) and this morning several of us ran in the Kensington Runestone 5K. Stay tuned for pictures.




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