Since it was raining today, we read and discussed our last assignment. Then we worked on making a map of all the locations we have gone to, using GIS to calculate the areas on workdays. We did .85 acres of brush work on workdays. We did 12 acres of invasive work with 95 hours total. We had a total of 518 man hours in the field. (95 hours multiplied by the number of people working = 518 hours) After lunch we went to Acorn Lane conservation easement and with plans to spray teasel, but it was raining lightly, so we didn’t. Instead we split into two groups and walked the easement looking for invasives and marking them on field maps. After that we came back to Hennen and journaled for the day.
For the first part of Tuesday morning, we went to the Wonder Lake Sedge Meadow site to clip and collect teasel heads. Then we backpack sprayed the adult teasel and any rosettes using 3% Garlon herbicide. We switched out of our herbicide gear and into collection bags/buckets to collect native sedge seeds. We collected sideoats grama (Bouteloua curtipendula) which is so satisfying to hand strip! Then we also collected dark green bulrush (Scirpus atrovirens) and brown fox sedge (Carex vulpinoidea) seed. There we found some type of sap-looking insect eggs laid inside of the tops of several plants! We collected samples of dodder vine and brown fox sedge to add into our plant specimen notebooks.
After lunch we met Stephanie Campos and Logan Cole on Zoom as a mini career panel where they shared information about their academic and professional careers. To finish off the day, we met with Pete at Boloria Meadows to do butterfly monitoring. With a sunny day and a light breeze, we were able to see a lot of species! Most notable were probably the tiger swallowtails (Papilio glaucus) and the numerous silver spotted skippers (Epargyreus clarus) and monarchs (Danaus plexippus) we saw.
On Wednesday we got to go on a fun field trip. We met with Dave Zeiger, Bernd Alden, and Larry Fetzer at the McHenry County Prairie Trail in Ringwood where we set out to bike to Richmond and back. The trail was fairly flat making it a relatively easy trek, however the heat got to us at times making water and breaks our friends. At our first break, Isaac unfortunately got a flat tire and Dave kindly offered Isaac his bike so he could finish the rest of the ride. The rest of us proceeded on the trail with caution, making our way toward Richmond. Once we finally made it over that final hill before hitting downtown Richmond, a few of us headed to a local cafe for a mini snack stop. Then it was back to Ringwood to meet back with Dave. After a little over 6 miles, we reached our final destination and Dave treated us to ice cream at Rusty Malts.
After ice cream, we interns, Dave, and Bernd drove out to the site where we had first met Dave, back on day two of the internship. This site was where we had planted our trees with Project Quercus. It was bittersweet to see our trees after all this time – we truly came full circle.
In disbelief that it was our last workday, we began Thursday at Crowley Oaks with the volunteers, clearing invasive brush to let in some light for native plants. Although the workday went by too fast, we departed from the volunteers at lunch to finish setting Hennen up for the graduation ceremony that night. With some cleaning and moving chairs/tables, Hennen was ready to display the CLIPsters’ art, research, blogs, maps and more for special ceremony guests.
At 6:00 p.m. everyone gathered again, but this time with lots of food for the party! After a brief ceremony and gifts given to the interns, we shared our summer successes and finished cooking the food for dinner. The night was filled with memory sharing, DJ-ing by Isaac and a room lit up by a rainbow disco ball (courtesy of Bree).
Friday, our last day, wasn’t that different from our first day, just a few short months ago, filled with surveys and paperwork. However, this day felt different because we would be parting ways for the school year. I interviewed each CLIPster, discussing the future of the program and each individual’s experience over the summer.
With only a few loose ends to tie up like cleaning some backpack sprayers and the truck, the CLIPterns of 2022 completed their final mission together, closing out the second year of the Conservation Leader Internship Program.