26 August 2011

Fail, To Some Extent

I apologize for the delay between posts, but things have been pretty busy lately. Since the Thismia Hunt on 13 August, I've been in five states, including spending nearly a week and a half in Superior, Wisconsin. I'm back home, with plenty of blogging material... but first, a brief Thismia Hunt recap.

Unfortunately, this was the only Thismia americana that I saw on 13 August...

... and it was a lifesize model in a display at the hunt headquarters.

Our team of nine hopeful hunters (several of which are pictured above) spent the day at DuPont Nature Preserve in Gary, Indiana, scouring as much of the wet prairie habitat as we could in five short hours.

Paul Labus (above) of The Nature Conservancy knows this site better than anyone, and he took us to the most likely places where Thismia might occur.

Although our hunt for Thismia was unsuccessful, we were successful in seeing some pretty nice dune and swale habitat with wet prairie in the swales and savannas on the dunes. The wet prairie shown above seemed ideal for Thismia americana, as several of the species originally found growing with the tiny saprophyte were growing here. Our group tallied over 225 plant species during our surveys, which is fairly impressive since we probably only covered 1/4 to 1/2 acre thoroughly, plus our walk to and from the areas that we surveyed.

Another very successful aspect of the Thismia Hunt was the turnout of Thismia hunters. There were over 90 people searching for Thismia (including several very well known Chicago Region botanists) and celebrating 20 years of conservation in the Calumet Region on 13 August. Many of these were people I hadn't seen in a while, and others were new acquaintances.

I am already looking forward to the next Thismia Hunt, as I still maintain hope that it is out there, somewhere.


Beth said...

Aww, I'm sorry you didn't find one. I'm sure you won't give up!

Scott Namestnik said...

I plan to do it again next year...