The five 2018 Prairie Partners Interns working this summer in the Preserve, thanks to the financial support of the Friends of the Lakeshore Nature Preserve, also have much appreciated educational opportunities. The Friends have organized "seminars over lunch" for the students, when they meet experts in certain areas of research and ecology. On July 12th, interns Henry Wiedemeyer, Tanner Pettit, Daniel Joannes, Jackson Pertzborn, and Siena Muehlfeld learned about the fascinating urban canid program from David Drake, Professor of Wildlife Ecology and creator of this program. He visited the Intern group at Frautschi Point entrance with coyote and fox pelts and tracking devices and engaged students with the history and explanation of the program.
The following Thursday, July 19th, Adam Gundlach, Preserve Field Projects Coordinator who supervises the interns, provided the educational component of the program with a presentation on "Fire Ecology—Science & Practice of Controlled Fire”. Prepared with handouts of photos of pre- and post-burned sites, drip torches, traffic warning signs and protective garb, Adam presented a comprehensive introduction to the burning practices and procedures in the Preserve—which was underscored by the siren of a passing fire engine! Adam was joined by Craig Maier, Outreach Specialist, who is teaching the Nelson Institute Science and Practice of Prescribed Fire summer seminar with Paul Zedler. Maier's three students accompanied the Interns to witness the benefits of prescribed burns in Eagle Heights Woods where fire is one of the important tools in the rejuvenation of that part of the Preserve At the Biocore Prairie the Interns were met by Seth McGee of the Friends Board and Biocore Lab Manager. Seth discussed with them the long-term fire research plots for students at the Biocore site, who study the effects of fire on plant, animal and microbial communities. Seth was pleased that there was a math major among the students and highlighted that modern day fire management relies heavily on modeling algorithms. He is excited that the Interns are learning about these studies and hopes that this type of research will "spread". Photos and reports by Doris Dubielzig.