Final Week at the Dunes! by Annie Washakowski

Whew! It has been quite a summer for the Indiana Dunes Team 2. During our last week of work, we were able to do something different every day which was amazing.

On Monday storms rolled in so we resorted to planted Scirpus acutus for the day in The Great Marsh; it was a cool day with incredible clouds circling over head and refreshing to feel splashes of rain every now and then. Tuesday proved to be a cloudy day in the morning which was perfect for our project, which was to chainsaw for the day! We made huge progress along the Cowles Bog trail in opening up a viewshed of the fen and reached an end point when we were halted by a wall of 10ft tall Phragmites!

I would have to say though, that Wednesday was my favorite day because it was the first and last time both of the Indiana Dunes teams were able to work together; all 10 of us worked in the Remnant Sedge Meadow near the Cowles Bog trail. Both teams performed hand wicking for the day which is an alternative to using the backpack sprayers when using herbicide, especially when working around sensitive species.

Finally to wrap up the week, the team worked in the herbarium on Thursday with our NPS friend, Molly Hacker, who was a huge help and made the process easy and fun. Then we spent the afternoon filling out paperwork and cleaning the apartment and truck.

It was a great week for the team and a perfect way to wrap up the summer by spending one last day working on each project we had begun just three short months ago. It is a bittersweet goodbye for the Indiana Dunes Team 2; each member is excited to head home to see family and friends, but will sincerely miss the friendships made over these three months. It was an amazing summer and an incredible
experience for the team, to be apart of something and do their part to make a difference in the restoration effort of The Great Marsh and, overall, the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.