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HackmatackNational Wildlife RefugeYouth Crew Helps Search for Threatened Orchid
Midwest Region, July 3, 2014
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Mike Redmer (left) delivers orientation remarks to YCC crew members Ben Frank, Samantha Kunke, and Kallie Osmolski.
Mike Redmer (left) delivers orientation remarks to YCC crew members Ben Frank, Samantha Kunke, and Kallie Osmolski. - Photo Credit: Greg Rajsky
Eastern fringed prairie orchid (Platanthera leucophea), flagged at a site near the USFWS Hackmatack NWR land, served as a visual reference for a subsequent search at the target parcel.
Eastern fringed prairie orchid (Platanthera leucophea), flagged at a site near the USFWS Hackmatack NWR land, served as a visual reference for a subsequent search at the target parcel. - Photo Credit: Greg Rajsky
Looking for flagged specimens of eastern fringed prairie orchid (Platanthera leucophea) in the reference site.
Looking for flagged specimens of eastern fringed prairie orchid (Platanthera leucophea) in the reference site. - Photo Credit: Greg Rajsky
The Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge YCC crew searches a wetland for specimens of the eastern fringed prairie orchid (Platanthera leucophaea).
The Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge YCC crew searches a wetland for specimens of the eastern fringed prairie orchid (Platanthera leucophaea). - Photo Credit: Greg Rajsky

The Youth Conservation Corps crew stationed at the Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge Partnership, located in northeast Illinois and southeast Wisconsin, recently got a chance to search for the federally threatened eastern prairie fringed orchid (Platanthera leucophaea).

The crew of local teens was hired through a cooperative agreement between the McHenry County Conservation District in illinois and the Service. These enthusiastic youth were selected to spend part of their summer learning about potential careers in conservation by working to restore and clean up conservation lands that lie within or around the boundaries of the Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge, which was authorized in 2012.

On July 3, 2014 Mike Redmer of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Chicago Illinois Field Office met with the crew, along with crew leader Mr. Greg Rajsky, of McHenry County Conservation District, to help survey for orchids. After a brief orientation, that included some morning bird identification, the group surveyed a known orchid location, and was rewarded by seeing six of these very rare plants that had just begun blooming.

From there, the group headed about a mile away to the first parcel acquired for the refuge.  Even though suitable wetland habitat, connected to the occupied site described above, occurs on the refuge parcel, no orchids were found there. Despite this, the crew had a great opportunity to see first hand a rare plant, as well as to learn about how their other work to remove invasive species and restore local wetlands can benefit this and other native species.


Contact Info: Michael Redmer, 847-381-2253, Mike_Redmer@fws.gov
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