Friday, April 8, 2011

Halfway to Michigan

I know it's been a's been pretty crazy for me these past few weeks, and before that I didn't feel like I had much to write. Well, here's some news: I just got a job with a company called Tallgrass Restoration, a native plant landscaping and restoration company not to be confused with Prairie Restoration, Inc. that I worked for last summer. My job with them didn't come through this year so I applied to a lot of different places, the culmination of which was a job with this company that is based in Wisconsin and Illinois. I will be in southern Wisconsin, about a half an hour from Madison. So, it's about halfway to Holland, Michigan. I'm really excited to be working full time again. Sometimes I think I could give workshops on resume building and interviewing, with all the job hunting I've done in the past 3 years.

At the University of Wisconsin, Madison there is a prairie restoration that is very old, considered the first restoration of an ecological community. Read about its history: Of course, in ecological restoration, what was lost can never be replicated, but I think of it as increasing biological diversity by planting and letting nature take over from there. It will be great to take look while I'm there.

A view of the arboretum.

To go along with my old theme of highlighting a native plant, and because I am still a big plant nerd and the coming growing season is giving me heart palpitations (in a good way), here is a plant native to the tallgrass prairie:

This is Desmodium illinoense, or Illinois tick-trefoil. It's a legume, so it fixes nitrogen to the soil therefore making it more fertile. The seeds come in pods (look like peapods) and they stick to clothing like Gov. Scott Walker sticks to his goal of destroying labor unions.

I wanted to do one specific to Wisconsin, but the tallgrass prairie there and in Minnesota is so similar that I couldn't find one. This one is more common in Wisconsin and Illinois, but occurs in Minnesota and other states as well. Prairie Moon Nursery has these cool maps now that show you where a plant is common, where it sometimes occurs, or sometimes where it used to be. Here's for Desmodium illinoense:

Earth Day is coming up. As you may know from my quote at the top, this is not so important to me, and in fact it's a bit annoying to have a day dedicated to one's own home planet, as though it only needs a day in order to be treated right. What's up with having special days anyway? But since it's there might as well take advantage. I'm sure there are lots of cool events to go to and be "earthy." By which I don't mean, "roll around in the dirt," unless you really, really want to. Oh, look, I found some in Minneapolis: A lot of clean up events but some other events too.


  1. There's that big city between Madison and Michigan, but half way to Holland sounds good. Congratulations on your ninja job finding skills in this economy.

    There's a high speed ferry across the big lake at Milwaukee that goes to Muskegon, only an hour north of here.

  2. Happy Birthday (Sunday) from your Michigan family!

  3. Good to have you closer. Brad has a friend that lives in Wisconsin. Maybe if we go to visit him we could stop and see you on the way. We will see. Still hoping to have you back in Michigan soon.