Wednesday, July 4th

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We were all having so much fun on the 4th of July that I forgot to write the events of the day.

Technically, the 4th of July is a day off for the Echinacea crew. Plants don't celebrate national holidays, so we spent the morning assessing flowering phenology in the main experimental plot. After that, Andrew experienced a series of unfortunate events that kept him from observing pollinators. On the upside, he learned some valuable lessons and made a new friend.

Because aphids don't take holidays either, I spent the latter part of the morning visiting plants in my aphid addition/exclusion experiment to remove aphids from the exclusion group. The goal of my experiment is to capture the effects of aphids in natural conditions--i.e. no cages or bags. That means that in order keep aphids off of the plants in the exclusion group, I need to visit them every few days to remove them by hand. For fifty plants (plus fifty more in the addition group) that's a lot of footwork.

We celebrated America's national holiday with a picnic at Elk Lake. We crammed in as many all-American activities as we could: potlucking, canoeing, sand-castle building, frying in the sun. If things weren't American enough, Stuart brought a print-out of the Declaration of Independence, which we all took turns reading around the picnic blanket. Go America!

I didn't get a good group picture, but here's a cute shot of Jill, Shona, and Kelly:

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