by Nari Coleman
Date: Wednesday, July 5, 2023
Entry: On Wednesday morning, the CLIPsters arrived at Hennen early for a field trip to Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie. After arriving, we met Midewin botanist Michelle Pearion along with bio-technicians Anna and Grace, who gave us a brief introduction on the prairie’s history. We were able to assist the Midewin Field team with vegetation surveys, which included quadrant sampling in order to identify the various plant species. Monitoring the ratio of native to non-native plants is essential for ecological restoration of the site. After surveying, we toured more of Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie and got to see the dolomite sedimentary rock. Dolomite is very similar to limestone, but it contains magnesium instead of calcium. We didn’t get a chance to see the bison that roam the prairie, however, conducting surveys and touring the Midewin Tallgrass Prairie was a very rewarding learning experience.
Date: Thursday, July 6, 2023
Entry: On Thursday, the team started the morning with pulling parsnip at Tryon Grove. The parsnip population has significantly declined over the last several years of managing this invasive species. With a collaboration of mowing, pulling, and collecting seed heads to prevent further spread of the species, the area has seen steady progress with removing parsnip. After working with parsnip, we also update the points on the Invasives Destroyed Field Maps. Later in the day, the CLIPsters collected spiderwort seed heads, which had already begun to drop.
Date: Friday, July 7, 2023
Entry: Friday’s work day started slightly later than usual due to an important workshop that focused on monitoring insects at night with Randall Schietzelt. Beforehand the team pulled parsnip at Windy Knoll for student leadership day one. We utilized the Field Maps as a guide to different points where parsnip polygons had been marked. After finishing early, the team then headed to a group dinner Napoli Pizza with the Environmental Defenders prior to the workshop. Unfortunately, due to weather conditions we have to reschedule the Insects at Night workshop for a later date.