Cafe Scientifique resumes!

I’m giving you plenty of advanced warning, because I know it’ll take you a bit to arrange air flights and all that. Our first Cafe Scientifique of the new school year will be on 24 September, at the Common Cup Coffeehouse in downtown Morris. Biologist Pete Wyckoff will be telling us about


Wait, what forests of Western Minnesota? I guess we’ll find out what happened to them.

As a special inducement, we have charismatic and cheerful students doing all the introductions — no more bearded old guy being boring. And also…door prizes! And a trivia contest! With prizes! Brush up on your tree lore before coming around, because you’ll be getting quizzed on trees and forests.

Wait, this is Western Minnesota. These will have to be really simple questions, like “what is a tree?” and “is it a plant or an animal?” and “what do you call a herd of trees?” Maybe Pete will show photographs of forests so the locals will learn to recognize them.


  1. Al Dente says

    There were extensive forests in western Minnesota before the invasive European buckthorn invased.

  2. Al Dente says

    Seriously, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources the european buckthorn is a problem:

    * Out-competes native plants for nutrients, light, and moisture
    * Degrades wildlife habitat
    * Threatens the future of forests, wetlands, prairies, and other natural habitats
    * Contributes to erosion by shading out other plants that grow on the forest floor
    * Serves as host to other pests, such as crown rust fungus and soybean aphid
    * Forms an impenetrable layer of vegetation
    * Lacks “natural controls” like insects or disease that would curb its growth

  3. says

    Yeah, we have an invasive species that’s just as inimical to life here in Oregon. It’s called the Batshit Art Robinson. It’s managed to mark out a territory in sensitive political habitat despite having little or no success in advancing itself as an elected official. It maintains it’s foothold through sheer unmitigated gall and parasitic support from clueless hosts who believe he is genius personified. Just think of an older, uglier, dumber, male and unelectable version of Michelle Bachman

  4. sojourner says

    I sorta agree with Mike. I moved to TN., and I love it now that I have gotten my anti-redneckitus shots

  5. Nepenthe says

    Beloved and I spent a morning on European buckthorn removal in the local reserve recently. Nasty, nasty stuff, but ripping it out of the ground with a “weed wrench” is incredibly satisfying.

  6. saganite says

    …and “what do you call a herd of trees?”

    Well, that’s easy. it’s a “murder of trees”.

  7. John Phillips, FCD says

    If you run into a stampeding herd of trees, what should you do?

    should have been listening, then you might have heard the warning bark.