Week 4 brought the first few days of rainy weather during TLC’s internship program, but the week was still full of things to do. Monday began with a late start because our first evening event was that night. We spent most of the afternoon hunting for the eastern prairie fringed orchid. Unfortunately, we found none, but the search made for a nice walk on a beautiful day. We then had a plant ID competition, which Kristi won, and picked an abundance of delicious black raspberries.
We had our first group dinner, and then began the main event for the day, which was an art lesson from botanical artist and scientist Kathy Marie Garness. All interns and some TLC staff members took part in the fun and educational lesson, and we even got to keep the sketchbooks and colored pencils that Kathy generously provided!
Tools of the art trade
An art lesson from botanical artist and scientist Kathy Marie Garness
Most of Tuesday was spent close to Hennen. We mapped invasive plants and collected plants for our ID books at Apple Creek. We learned about each plant we collected and ended the day with some introductory GIS work. Wednesday began with a walk through Kishwaukee Fen in Lakewood, which will be the focus of some restoration efforts in the coming months. There is significant work to be done, but we were pleased to find several native species including blazing star and black-eyed susan as well as some unique ecosystems surrounding tufa rock formations and the hanging fen. At the start of the long walk back to the truck, it began to pour rain and we all immediately became soaking wet! Fortunately, we all had a change of clothes on hand. After the downpour cleared up, we spent the rest of the day cutting thistles, putting up signs, and pulling wild parsnip at Apple Creek.
Thursday morning was spent walking the trails at Boger Bog with Ders Anderson, who shared his insight regarding land restoration, hydrology, and land history with us as we walked. In the afternoon, we tried to collect invasive reed canary grass seeds to prevent it from spreading at Crowley Sedge Meadow, but quickly got rained out. Limited to indoor work, we concluded the day by creating an outline for an upcoming article about the Kishwaukee Fen project.
Friday began with more rain, and we were disappointed to have to cancel our final Friday work day. Instead, we cleaned the office and attempted to repair and clean some of our backpack sprayers, many of which have seen better days. We had lunch with our director, Lisa, who gave us valuable advice about career development and self advocacy in the field of conservation. Between rain clouds, we finished the day pulling and collecting invasives at Hennen.
Overall, the rain didn’t stop us from having another great CLIP week. Each day gives us an abundance of new knowledge and connections with amazing people, and we can’t wait to share more of our adventures next week!