Then you get some expertly-collected samples of plants from various families to go with your handouts.
Next you make some comparisons of live examples to what you find in the field guide. Yup, that's a match!
Finally, the instructor lets you determine the direction of the field work by encouraging you to point out what you notice and asking you to make your best guess about what it might be, all the while offering background info and random expertise about everything you might stumble upon.
Here are just a few examples of the wildflowers that we encountered during our 2-hour field excursion at Killdeer Plains...
Sullivant's Milkweed, a rarity for this part of the state. This is pretty much the eastern-most part of its range.
The bee is pretty happy with the Sullivant's. This milkweed is distinguished from its common cousin by the red/pink midrib in the leaves (see bottom right of photo on left); photo on right shows the Sullivant's going to fruit.
Wild Parsnip, member of the Carrot family
Flower of the Hour, in the Mallow family (you may have guessed from the characteristic shape that this is in the genus Hibiscus)
Even though this is an introduced (i.e. non-native) species, I think it is quite striking.
Swamp Milkweed, one of the more dainty of the native milkweeds in Ohio
Another rarity for the state, this is an Umbrella Sedge. See why this is such a cool place to visit? Two rare plants in one restored prairie, and I'm sure there were others that we didn't see.
Virginia Mountain Mint. The leaves are strongly flavored.
Gayfeather/Prairie Blazing Star/Liatrus (in the Aster family). The "Blazing Star" part is a misnomer, as there is an actual Blazing Star family, of which this plant is not a member.
American Germander (mint family) - also called Wood Sage.
Hedge parsley, a correction I received from a wise botanist
I still have a few more shots from Killdeer left to share. There are some more pressing things that might come first, but I'll try to get them up soon.