Ever wonder what Honors students do during the summer? Honors Ambassadors and students will be taking you into their 2016 summer routines via photos. Lauren Suhi is spending another summer in Iowa fields, but this time with the Agronomy Department:
Hi! My name is Lauren and this summer I am working for the Agronomy Department, more specifically with the STRIPS project (Science-based Trials of Rowcop Integrated Prairie Strips). These strips are installed in agricultural fields and take around 10% of the field and decreases runoff from fields by 32%. Here’s a prairie strip within a soybean field in Cedar Rapids with a ton of Black-Eyed Susans in bloom!
The strips are all over Iowa, so I get to travel around the state and help look at the biodiversity of the strips as well as the amounts of soil erosion in the fields. We put these mesh pads in the fields and then after a rainfall event, we collect them to see how much has eroded off the land.
We also look at bees to see how much biodiversity in pollinators there are in the strips versus normal corn and soybean fields. We capture the bees in little bug catcher nets and here’s my big catch of the day. Fun fact: there’s over 200+ bees native to Iowa! They are quite the bee’s knees.
I also help collect beetles in pitfall traps in the ground. So far, we’ve only collected three Paul’s and a Ringo. Here’s the pitfall traps in a control field along with some bee bowls in the distance.
I also work with a post-doc and help her identify the plants in the prairie strips. The strips are extremely beautiful when in bloom! I write all the plants we see in a small quadrant on this clipboard and abbreviate all the Latin names.
I also help assist with other things going on around the strips project. After living in the Chicago suburbs my whole life, I finally got to drive a tractor and replant some strips! I finally get some of those country songs.
Here’s some more beautiful pictures from the strips! The strips promote a lot of biodiversity so each strip has different animals, insects, forbs and grasses. If you want more information on the strips or more in depth details of their benefits, the website is: https://www.nrem.iastate.edu/research/STRIPs/
After working full time, it’s nice to come home and explore Ames with my roommates! There’s a ton of activities in Ames if you know where to look. Here is me meeting a llama in Campustown during an event, who instantly turned into my new best friend, of course.