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Why do we burn prairies?

As you may have noticed, a few of the prairies around campus have been burned in the last couple of weeks. Recently, I’ve overheard some of my friends talking about these burns and several of them (essentially all of them from California), really couldn’t wrap their heads around why we’re…

The “flying death pillows” of the natural world

Owls (such as the Barred Owl or Great Horned Owl here in Minnesota) primarily hunt small mammals such as voles, rabbits, or field mice, and these goofy looking fluff balls are actually highly derived flying death pillows. During the long winters of Minnesota, predators who don’t migrate, such as Barred…

Bottom heavy prairies

Come summer, the arb will have turned into a veritable corn maze of native prairie grasses. Several of the native prairie grasses found in the arb can grow to be over 6 feet in height. In other words, these grasses, such as Big Bluestem and Indian Grass, can be as…

Praying for Prairies

Prairies used to cover over 18 million acres of Minnesota; that’s more than the entire state of Massachusetts. Prior to European settlement, half of Minnesota was covered in native tall grass prairie that stretched from horizon to horizon and was home to many important species such as Bison. Yet today,…

What keeps Batman up at night?

When you’re walking back from that late T.A. session, or a last minute Sayles dinner, take a moment to look up on your journey home. Chances are you’ll see some dark shapes darting back and forth across the sky, almost erratically. The Arb is home to 4 species of bats…

Ash trees under seige in Minnesota

Emerald Ash Borer, as you may or may not have heard, is one of the most imminent threats to the ecology of the Midwest. Yet, ‘threat’ may not be the correct word to use, as threats can be avoided or prevented. Experts predict that all of Minnesota will be inundated…

Finding the Foxes

Our arboretum is home to many elusive creatures. While everybody has seen deer or even coyotes wandering around the arb at some point, there are several other beautiful species that are rarely seen during the spring, summer, and fall. Yet during the winter, if you walk along the Cannon’s bank,…

Arb Notes

If you have wandered around campus lately and happened to look up from your smartphone, you may have noticed that there are massive green and brown things located everywhere. These are called trees, and we have many different species of them here on campus. While I could write a thesis…