Mead’s ?

Here’s one of the Mead’s Milkweed sites at the KU Field station’s demonstration prairie at the Armitage Center.  The plot was recently burned and it is easy to see the marked sites.

Here’s two more sites.  Sorry for the photo quality–I still haven’t mastered my iphone camera….


Lady Slippers in April

I went over to Johnson County this evening to check on some lady slipper orchids that I try and monitor each year.  These particular plants went missing for more than ten years.  I refound them last year but I was not able to catch them in bloom, in fact I don’t think they did or the blooms were nipped by deer.  This year however, things are different.


I have become increasingly convinced that these plants and others like them are increasingly at risk due to the high deer population densities in KS.  Several years ago a group of about 8 flowering orchids I was monitoring in Johnson county were all nipped off during one night most likely by deer.  I’ve watch one group of plant decline over the last 10 years to where it has not flowered at all for the past 4 and this year there is only one leaf emerged where there used to be 5 plants.  I don’t know the normal cycle for these perennials but I am sure that repeated deer herbivory can’t be good.  Perhaps it is time to try out a bit of a deer exclosure trial.

Here’s an idea

Earlier this spring I came across this yard in Lawrence.

A closer look reveals a carpet of Spring Beauties:  Claytonia virginica  What a cool lawn.  That is my kind of lawn weed.

Ever since I saw a similar photo in Kansas Wildflowers by William Chase Stevens of Spring Beauties colonizing a lawn in Pleasanton, I’ve wondered about planting my own seed to create a similar lawn.  Now I have to try.  To that end I have been trying to collect seed–they are very small and they shatter easily.  I found that each flower can produce several seeds and each plant can produce dozens.  I tried to collect a few days too early, decided to wait and now I think I’m too late but I won’t be next year.

Johnson County Science Cafe

Aquatic Nuisance Species in Kansas and the Status of Mountain Lions in Kansas

Speakers: Andrew Jansen and Tim Urban, Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks

Date: April 10, 2012

Time: 6:30 pm

Location: Coaches Bar and Grill, 9089 W. 135th Street, one block west of 135th and Antioch, south side of 135th St.

Andrew Jansen will present a summary of the aquatic nuisance species (ANS) in Kansas, including covering the zebra mussel in greater depth focusing on findings from a recent zebra mussel study in Kansas. We will discuss KDWPT actions to prevent the spread of ANS. Tim Urban will cover sightings of mountain lions in KS as well as field identification and sign of mountain lions.

Andrew Jansen grew up in Iowa and became interested in the outdoors and fishing at an early age, receiving his Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Ecology with emphasis in Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences from Iowa State University and a Master of Science degree in Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences from South Dakota State University.  He has worked as a fisheries biologist for KDWPT in Kansas City for the past 3 years.

Tim Urban grew up in central Kansas with a love for anything outdoors. He graduated from Barton County Community College in 1997 with an Associate’s Degree in Science and Arts, and then went on to Northwestern Oklahoma State University receiving a BS in Conservation Law in 2000. He has worked for the Kansas Dept. of Wildlife and Parks since 2000. He worked at Cheyenne Bottoms and Dodge City, before moving to the Kanas City area in 2005.

For more information:

2012 KABT Spring Field Trip (June 1st & 2nd)

Save the Date:  As the weather has us all yearning to be outside as much as possible, its time to put the annual KABT Spring Field Trip on your calenders for June 1st and 2nd.  Join us in the Northern Flint Hills of Marshall County as we set & check small mammal track tubes, learn turtle trapping techniques on Spring Creek, camp and hike at the beautiful and historical Alcove Springs, locate the black squirrels of Marysville, go birding on an small NE Kansas organic farm, and “bio-blitz” our way on a Rails-To-Trails project along the Big Blue River.  More specific details to come via this blog and a postcard sent to the biology teachers of Kansas the first part of May.  Please feel free to comment on this blog with questions or e-mail me at

Noah Busch – Biology Teacher – Junction City High School