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Dry Prairies? I think you meant to say extra crispy!

Hi everyone out there in the Blogosphere!

My name is Jesse Lundgren and I'm so excited to be working as an Intern here the the Botanical Garden over the summer!  I'm a senior finishing my Bachlors in Environmental Science and and Biology and now can't wait for graduate school. It's hard to believe my time here is already almost half over! I'm sad that the time is going so fast but I'm really excited to see how the summer ends up! Im working with a really great scientist and PhD student working at the garden named Kelly Ksiazek.

She is amazing! We are having such a great time working together and have already had all kinds of fun both in the lab and in the field!

Our project, as you may have guessed from the title, involves dry prairies. We are studying the plants found in different types of dry prairies and the differences in the soils in order to compare them to one another and to Green Roofs in the Chicago area to see which prairie is most similar to the roofs.

It's quite a project! We have about 30 study sites!

And let me tell you, going out to them in the 100+ degree heat was...for lack of a better term, a sweaty mess! But we stay hydrated and work smart and have been making great progress so far! I'm looking forward to finishing our collections so that we can being examining the data.

Every day isn't all work though. We get the chance to have a lot of fun along the way. One of the best things is just working at such a beautiful place. The Botanical Garden is truely amazing and every time I go to work there I can't help but think how lucky I am to be working there.

The Plant Science Center is a fantastic faclity as well, and being right in the heart of the Garden there is easy access to all the beautiful sights the Garden has to offer from there.

Working with Kelly I also get to head out to all our really incredible study sites and see all these beautiful natural areas the our state has to offer. We also have all kinds of REU outings! We went Urban Kayaking which was super fun! And last week we got the behind the scenes tour of the Field Museum from some of their scientists and interns. It was really cool! All the interns at the garden have a great sense of friendship developing already and have already planned several activites together to enjoy our time out of work.

I cant wait to see what happens over the rest of my internship! I'm sure there will be a lot more sweat! Some really fun times, and a whole lot more for me to learn! Until next time!

Jesse