More forest inventory… and flooding

We’ve been doing a lot more more forest inventory. Last week, Becky the Biotec told me and the other two interns at the dorms that we would be working near Rapids Lake. We usually learn what we are doing the morning of because there has been a lot of flooding this summer. Normally, we would be doing other projects at several different locations but they are currently flooded and inaccessible.

Forest inventory by Rapids Lake is difficult because many of the points we survey are on the steep hill slopes ringing the lake or in dense thickets. Despite this, I have to say it’s been one of my favorite things to do because the views of the lake - when you get them - are spectacular and the forest itself is nice to be in.

The wildlife refuge provides a dorm for interns to live in; it’s a really nice building that has a kitchen, a living room, bedrooms (obviously) and even a laundry room. It’s in the middle of a prairie ringed by trees on three sides. The fourth side faces a neighborhood and road leading into a nearby city.

I live with four other interns: Eric, Brad, Tyler, and Mandy. Brad, Anne, Eric and I are the biology interns. Tyler is a Wetlands Management District intern and Mandy is an Environmental Education intern. Anne has an apartment she is renting and isn’t living in the dorm.

This week we did forest inventory in a place called Long Meadow Lake although we didn’t see any lake, but whatever. I rather liked the change. The forest by Rapids Lake is infested with mosquitoes, thus very difficult to work in even with bug spray. In the Long Meadow Lake region we didn’t have any bug spray and the mosquito presence was negligible.

We also saw and photographed a buck and doe on our way out. It was a pleasant sight to see. I’d been waiting more than a month to get a good look at a deer here in Minnesota. Not only did I get that but I have a few pictures out of the encounter as well.

After doing more forest inventory, Becky, Ann, Eric, and I went to some Oak Savanna habitat to test a new protocol - or method- for determining the faunal consistency and health of the habitat. It was hotter than doing the forest inventory in the shade! But, I saw a few plants that really caught my interest.

There aren’t very many plants in Minnesota that look similar to the ones I’m use to in California. The oak trees here look like walnuts back home. There were two plants though—bindweed and some other—that looked exactly like the wildflowers that grow in my neighbor’s field. When I get home I plan to get a better look at those flowers and see if they are indeed the same plant.