Tuesday, August 27, 2013


Ames, IA (July 15, 2010)

As predicted, summer is back, with a vengeance. The last few days have been unseasonably hot, with 80% humidity leading to a heat index of 44ºC (that's 110ºF). I know somebody that likes sweltering weather like this... well that's not for me and I am ready for some nice fall weather! Do you want to exchange? This (hopefully last) heat wave comes after a relatively cold summer and a very wet spring. It kind of compensates, and is not unprecedented: in the last 125 years the thermometer rose above 100ºF in Des Moines at least six times. I guess that if the 5 previous generations living here could take it without air conditioning I should probably shut up and enjoy the the weather!

Late spring in Ames
The photos above and at the left were taken both at the Ada Hayden park in Ames. The one above was taken right in the middle of summer, when temperatures like this are more normal. The one on the left was instead taken in late spring, when the little patch of restored prairie in the park was blooming. As I mentioned before, the park is named after Ada Hayden, a botanist and conservationist that was the curator of the herbarium at my University at the beginning of the XX Century (she was also the first woman to get the Ph.D. at Iowa State). Her activity was crucial to promote the conservation of the remnants of the prairie that once occupied all the Great Plains. In 1940 the State of Iowa set aside $100 to Hayden for gasoline to drive around and identify what was left of the original prairie in the State. Thanks of her drives Iowa still has some of its original prairie. Some of these surviving patches she identified are still there, like the Hayden Prairie State Preserve in northern Iowa on the border with Minnesota.

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