Summer in the Arb

September 25, 2017 at 10:44 am
By Andy Hoyt ’19

Windmill. BiologyStudents leave campus at the end of Spring Term each year, but the Arboretum continues to be full of activity for the entire summer. A few students stay on campus during summer break to work and conduct research in the Arb. Summer Arb crew works on maintenance and restoration projects. This year they removed trees and brush from two areas, one in the upper Arb, on either side of the Cross Country trail behind the Rec Center, and one in the lower Arb, across highway 19 from the Arb Office. These areas are in the process of being restored to prairie and oak savannah, respectively. They also removed invasive plant species, such as buckthorn and wild parsnip, and collected seed from prairie plants to use in the restorations.

You may have heard about volunteer events in the Arb throughout the academic year. The Arboretum also hosts similar events during the summer. These events were held on a few Saturdays throughout the summer, during which volunteers removed brush and collected seeds. Starting at the end of July, there were weekly seed collecting events.

The Arboretum is an important resource for many departments, both for classes and research conducted by professors and students. Madi Ho, working with Biology Professor Jennifer Wolfe, collected soil samples to look for nematodes. The student lab of Biology Professors Dan Hernandez and Mark McKone studied prairie restorations in the Arb and the effects of mammal herbivory on the prairie plant community. The students of this lab surveyed the plant species in the prairies, the rates at which certain plants flowered, and collected soil samples. They also worked with students from Northfield Middle School’s Summer BLAST program to study the impact of aphids on Desmodium canadense (Showy Tick Trefoil), a prairie plant found commonly in the Arb. Caleb Rosen worked with Nancy Braker, the Arboretum Director, on a few ongoing research projects. These include the planting of rare native plant species to test how successfully they grow in the Arboretum and surveying non-hive-nesting bees in the Arboretum and plant diversity in the prairie restorations.

Andy Hoyt ’19, for the Cole Student Naturalists

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