Identifying Grasses is Patriotic

The Fourth of July is a big deal in a small town. Burns, OR hosts a parade, hotdog feed, and fireworks. I emerged from my house around 9:30 to walk to Broadway in “downtown” Burns where the parade was to take place. Families lined the street on both sides. It was good to see all the Burnsonians out and about. The Girls Scouts marched by holding their banner, various city trucks came by, and the Queen of the Rodeo rode her horse. The director of the BLM also came by to chat and I saw several other BLM employees. You never know who you’ll run into.

I returned home for the second activity of my Fourth of July, which was a grass identifying tutorial given to me by my roommate and fellow CLM intern, Ariana Gloria-Martinez. She knows much about grasses and speaks freely with them in a language I cannot yet fully understand. First, she patiently explained the parts of the inflorescence: spikelet, glume, lemma, palea, ligule, auricle, leaf sheath, node, blade, rachis. Next she went through each tribe of grass, giving me details about their identifying characteristics. For example, the aristideae tribe tends to have three awned lemmas. I assiduously took notes. It was a wonderful activity for the fourth of July because, in my opinion, identifying grasses is patriotic. I shall continue to practice my grass identification in the hopes of learning more of their secrets.

To finish up the fourth, I made an extremely large dinner and headed to the fireworks at the county fairgrounds. The conversation of a small child with his grandparents in the car next to me kept me entertained during the spectacular show. I certainly feel lucky to be able to enjoy such community activities.

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