talking prairie plants on WNIT’s Outdoor Elements

I had the pleasure to take a trip to Potato Creek recently and share about native prairie plants with WNIT’s Outdoor Elements team. Our segment aired recently and is available online here. WNIT has put together some really great programing, all of which is published online.

Vince Greschem, one of the co-hosts, is a MoonTree Studios elder. He got started in his career at Potato Creek and worked closely with Sr. Mary in restoring the prairies on the property. It was great to look out over her handiwork and appreciate the folks who have maintained those systems in a healthy condition over time

While you’re here, I think I’ll post a few photos of the species we discuss in the program.

Bee balm (Monarda fistulosa) attracted this Peck’s Skipper (Polites peckius), who wasn’t sharp enough to spot the Ambush Bug ( Phymata sp.) who was lurking in the petals. Can you see it? Watch out!
My camera doesn’t do it justice, but this is a Dogbane Leaf Beetle (Chrysochus auratus) that I found at home on my Indian Hemp (Apocynum cannabinum). It’s color seems to change according to the angle at which you view it. Dogbane is in the same plant family, Apocynaceae, as the milkweeds (Asclepias spp.).
Milkweed Tussock Moth (Euchaetes egle) caterpillars on Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) at my home. I never tire of seeing these fuzzy things! The monarch prefers to spread her risk by only laying an egg or two per plant. This moth does the opposite, mobbing a single plant with dozens of individuals, which can devour whole plants.
We didn’t discuss grasses in the show, but I thought the dew-drenched spiderwebs on this Big Bluestem (Andropogon gerardii) were pretty neat.


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