Next Friday, June 11, I’ll be part of an event called “Ask a Land Manager”, in which we’re inviting people to submit questions to a panel of prairie land managers. In addition to me, the panel will include Mary Miller with The Nature Conservancy’s Ordway Prairie (South Dakota) and two of our former Hubbard Fellows/current TNC land managers, Olivia Schouten (Indiana) and Eric Chien (Minnesota). It should be a lot of fun.
If you’d like to attend the event, you can register either here or through Facebook here. The event starts at noon Central and we’d love for you to ask questions ahead of time to make sure we can get you the best answers possible. If we run out of time to get to all the questions, we’ll try to follow up with you later.
In other news…
I’ve been waiting all season for the shell leaf penstemon (Penstemon grandiflorus). We knew it was going to be a banner year for them last fall when we saw all the young plants scattered around in the hills. This is a plant that loves disturbance and was ready to pop after a couple years of fairly intense grazing in the hillier parts of a restored sand prairie (that area is getting a full year off from grazing this year). I spent about an hour with these flowers earlier this week – here are some of the photos I got.
Bumble bees seem to really like shell leaf penstemon. They crawl all the way inside to feed from each one and then back themselves out again before flying to the next flower. They’re difficult to photograph because they move so quickly and abort their flower visit if they see a photographer approaching. I managed a couple photos by waiting for a bee to go inside a flower and then running up and trying to capture a quick shot as it emerged. I ended up with a lot of fuzzy yellow and black blurs, but got a couple sharp images too.