To celebrate the first days of spring I thought it would be good to highlight one of the earliest spring bloomers, skunk cabbage! Here are 10 fun facts about this unique, native species:
1 Eastern skunk cabbage belongs to Araceae, the same plant family as calla lilies, flamingo flowers, and titan arums!
2 Where might you find this odd little plant? If you live in Illinois, it’s
mostly distributed in the northeastern corner of the state, but can be found in
some central-Illinois counties. Generally it grows in wet areas like swamps,
seeps, deciduous woodlands, wet thickets, fens, and bogs.
8 Each successfully pollinated flower in a skunk cabbage spadix produces a berry
fruit. The berries are clustered very close together, hence the plant’s genus
name, Symplocarpus, which comes from
the Greek symploke meaning “a
connection” and karpos meaning
“fruit.” Don’t ever eat skunk cabbage berries though; they’re poisonous!
10 Want to get skunk cabbage seeds to germinate? Then make sure to keep them
wet! Also, be sure to plant skunk cabbage in a partly sunny location where the
soil is mucky and constantly wet!
March 21, 2013
March 18, 2013
The Illinois Natural History Survey, Prairie Research Institute, and the University of Illinois are hiring Clean Boats Crew site leaders again this year in time for the 2013 summer boating season.
Clean Boats Crew site leaders will work in Lake and Cook Counties, IL, and Lake and Porter Counties, IN, educating the public about aquatic invasive species and how these species are unintentionally spread. Site Leaders will manage a team of volunteers and be supervised by a program coordinator.
These positions are an excellent opportunity to gain experience while being directly involved in education and outreach to an audience that will be crucial in helping prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species.
The link above associated with the counties will take you to the specific position information for either Illinois or Indiana. Applications are being accepted now until March 22.
Information about volunteer opportunities at these locations throughout the summer will be posted later this spring.
Find out more about the Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers Campaign and the Clean Boats Crew at our CBC page.
February 15-17, 2013
IISG AIS Outreach Team educates hundreds at the Indianapolis Boat, Sport, and Travel Show
Danielle Hilbrich from the IISG aquatic invasive species (AIS) outreach team attended the Indianapolis Boat, Sport, and Travel Show at the Indiana State Fair Grounds in Indianapolis, IN on February 15-17. Danielle teamed up with the Indiana DNR to host a booth and educate recreational water users on the dangers of AIS. Danielle talked with 850 people about AIS, and handed out hundreds of Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers!™ stickers and brochures. Many show attendees were very aware of problems that the invasive species like Zebra Mussel, Eurasian Watermilfoil, and Hydrilla can cause on aquatic ecosystems, and regularly boat on lakes infested with these invaders. Although one young show attendee called zebra mussel shells her “lake treasures,” we know that they are unwanted invaders!
Attendees were educated about the proper techniques to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species. AIS spread can be slowed by following just a few simple steps: INSPECT and REMOVE any aquatic plants or animals from boats and recreational equipment, DRAIN all water from equipment, DISPOSE of unwanted live bait or fish into the trash, DRY equipment thoroughly, and NEVER release organisms from one waterbody to another. One show-goer was surprised to find out that dumping bait in the trash was a way to prevent the spread invasive species. Thankfully, Danielle was there to educate this angler!
For more information on aquatic invasive species or the Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers!™ campaign please visit IISG’s Stop Aquatic Hitchhiker’s page at http://iiseagrant.org/ais/SAH.html or www.protectyourwaters.net.
The Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant AIS outreach team is part of the Illinois Natural History Survey Lake Michigan Biological Station, and is housed at the Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe, IL.