May 1, 2013
While the newsletter will be on hiatus for the summer, these posts of the photos that are found in the LREC calendar and the descriptions of the subjects will continue throughout the coming months, so please stop in. I hope you are finding the photos enjoyable and informative!
Indian paintbrush (Castillega coccinea). The brightly colored 'flowers' of this parasitic prairie plant are not actually flowers; they are the calyx that surrounds the small green flower inside. On most flowers, the calyx is green and leaf-like. D Haake
Larry, Don, Deanna, and Anne collecting aquatic macroinvertebrates. Each year in May and October, the LREC Stream Team collects and identifies critters found in Deer Creek. This information is used by the staff and by the State in order to get an idea of the health of the stream ecosystem. D Haake
A flathead mayfly clinging to a rock (Stenonema sp.). In our macroinvertebrate monitoring of Deer Creek, we often find mayflies. Both the flathead mayfly and the minnow mayfly are found frequently at LREC. If mayflies are of interest to you, check out the article in the LREC Newsletter from December 2009. D Haake
Young leaf and seeds of a sycamore (Platanus occidentalis). The largest diameter single-stemmed tree at LREC is a sycamore. These floodplain-loving trees have striking white bark in the upper half or more of their trunks, making them a good tree to teach any budding tree-lovers at your home or school. E Jones
Posted by Danelle Haake at 11:34 AM
April 1, 2013
Spring has truly sprung at LREC. We are starting to see seedlings in the prairies and the Virginia bluebells are on the verge of blooming. This will be a busy month for us as we try to plan the last school visits for the term and continue to improve the habitats on-site. Hopefully you will find time to enjoy this month's calendar photos!
Students climbing on a downed cottonwood (Populus deltoides). In late April of last year, a strong storm took down several large trees at LREC, including this cottonwood. Many of these are still laying on the ground in the woods, providing wonderful opportunities for education and exploration. E Jones
A bluebird pair defending their nest box (Sialia sialis). Most of our bluebird houses are actually occupied by Eurasian tree sparrows (Passer montanus). The tube under the nest box is there to make it difficult for predators like raccoons and snakes to get to the eggs and chicks. To learn more about bluebirds, this MDC website has a lot of great information. D Haake
Posted by Danelle Haake at 3:01 PM
March 1, 2013
Winter is giving way to what we hope will be a lovely spring. As we look with anticipation for warmer days, please enjoy our early spring calendar photos!
Flowers of the red buckeye (Aesculus pavia). The red buckeye is difficult to distinguish from its cousin, the Ohio buckeye (Aesculus gabra) except when they are in bloom: the Ohio buckeye has white flowers and is much more common at LREC. E Jones
Student exploring decomposition. There are many places at LREC to find decomposers and other insects. Standing and fallen dead-wood can be a great place to spend some time looking for critters. E Jones
Posted by Danelle Haake at 12:01 AM
February 8, 2013
I am amazed by language. We spend a large portion of our lives learning language. In our childhood, we develop an immense vocabulary. Yet, as adults, we are continually adding new words to our repertoire.
For me, many of those new words are in Latin as I am exposed to new (to me) plant species. Now that I'm older, I also find that I must connect these names to something I know in order to recall the plant the name describes. Sometimes I am able to connect the Latin to its Spanish equivalent (thanks to four years of learning that language in high school) or to a chemical that I studied in college. Other times it is just a word association made up for the occasion:
- Black walnut is called Juglans nigra. In Spanish, 'negro' is black, so I have a way to remember the species. As for the genus, walnuts are a great size for juggling...
- Spicebush has fragrant leaves that smell almost fruity. Its Latin name is Lindera benzoin. The word 'benzoin' is very similar to benzene, a chemical that is the simplest of a group of chemicals called 'aromatic hydrocarbons,' so named because they are an essential part of many fragrances, ranging from mothballs to many food-related odors (including many fruits).
- Quercus imbricaria is the Latin name for shingle oak, one of the two Missouri species of oak that do not get the typical lobes, making them a challenge to identify for new botanists. The leaves are a bit like shingles that you might put on a brick house: shingle oak - Quercus imbricaria. Quite a stretch, but I haven't forgotten this one yet!
- Solidago altissima is tall goldenrod. If we aren't careful, we have found that our prairies can become a 'solid' mass of Solidago... In Spanish, 'alto' is tall, and the word is similar to altissima.
This is just a few examples of the linguistic connections I've made in the past several years when it comes to learning plant names. If you have any of your own, I'd love to hear them!!
Posted by Danelle Haake at 3:50 PM
February 1, 2013
By now, I suppose most of us have settled into 2013. Since we are a month in, it is time to post our next set of photos from the LREC calendar. Happy February!
Flowering of witch hazel (Hammamelis vernalis). Witch hazel is one of the few species that flower in winter, at times with snow on the ground. At LREC, they may be found on the berm near the Barn and in the Savanna. D Haake
Frost on seed heads of wild bergamot (Monarda fistulosa). Wild bergamot, or bee balm, is a prairie species that likes moist soils and tolerates some shade. With its lovely light purple flowers and its persistent seed heads, there is something to see year-round. If you are thinking of putting in a rain garden, this is a great plant to consider. D Haake
Deer congregating in the North Prairie after the burn (Odocoileus virginianus). It is always a pleasure to see the deer frolicking in the prairies after a burn or to watch them nibbling at the bits of vegetation greening the blackened ground. D Haake
Mary teaching students in the greenhouse. After learning a little about roots and seedlings in the greenhouse, students often get a chance to do some transplanting of their own. Check out our Seeds and Propagation page to learn more about this part of the ecological process. E Jones
Posted by Danelle Haake at 1:18 AM
January 2, 2013
As you may see mentioned in our newsletter, we put out a very limited number of LREC calendars each year. We are often asked about one photograph or another: "what is this flower?" "which insect is that?" "where on site was that taken?" This year, we are trying something new. We will provide these IDs each month in the newsletter, but since not all of our readers will have a calendar, we are posting the photos each month on our blog for your reference. We hope you will enjoy these images!
North Prairie and North Woods after the burn. In 2011, we were able to have our second successful burn of the North Woods. This area of the woodlands is especially diverse, thanks to the efforts of many dedicated staff and volunteers. D Haake
Posted by Danelle Haake at 10:22 AM
July 30, 2012
Posted by Danelle Haake at 2:13 PM