A hike to remember ■■ By
The Simpson family reunion takes place every Memorial Day weekend. We gather at a state park and spend the weekend catching up and enjoying being together. Good food, good laughs, the typical reunion. One of the traditions during the weekend is we take a hike. This idea started many years ago early in the morning before breakfast. At some point we decided a hike after the big dinner on Saturday was the thing. Somehow I was appointed leader, and for a few years other aunts and uncles would join me in shepherding the younger generation along the trail. Well, over the years the hikers have changed. The little ones that were too young to go in the beginning are now the teenagers we have taking the lead. It’s a treat for me to arrive at the dinner each year with the teenagers and younger kids all asking me if we are going to be going on the hike again this year. The answer is always “yes,” and we always have a great time. This year the hike was a little different. It was the first year my two grandchildren have been on the hike. I have to admit I thought my son would need to carry my 3-year old granddaughter most of the way, but they did want to go, and who can say no to their grandchildren. So, off we went, on the hike to Laurel Cove. The trail was a little rougher than usual due to recent storms that had trees blown down across the trail. But everyone did fine, climbing over or ducking under the trees as needed to keep us moving. My grandchildren did just great, the 3-year-old walking most of the trail, and my 6 year old grandson keeping up with the teenagers. I didn’t think the day could be more perfect. But as we came to the last downed tree near the end of the trail, someone said, “There’s a deer!” It’s not unusual to spot a deer on a hike like this, but in this case, the deer was a newborn fawn, curled up and wide eyed, still as could be, at the base of the tree we were crossing, not two feet from where we were stepping. The combination of family, tradition, and nature made this one of my favorite hikes. Can’t wait to see what happens next year.
Cover photo courtesy DNR/Outdoor Indiana magazine
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President Steve Cecil First Vice-President Glenn Lange Second Vice-President Doug Allman Secretary Kay O’Callaghan Treasurer Adam McLane National Wildlife Federation Representative Dr. Dave Hoffman Immediate Past President Shaena Reinhart Executive Director Barbara Simpson Editor Stephen Sellers Graphic Design/Layout Julie Kirkendoll Printing The Papers, Incorporated Milford, Indiana Please address all advertising and editorial inquires to: Editor 4715 W. 106th Street Zionsville, IN 46077 Phone: 317-875-9453 Email: email@example.com The Indiana Wildlife Federation is considered a non-profit organization by the Internal Revenue Service VOICE OF THE INDIANA WILDLIFE FEDERATION Hoosier Conservation (155N NO. 0199.6894) is published quarterly by Indiana Wildlife Federation, an independent statewide organization of affiliated conservation clubs and concerned citizens of Indiana. IWF is the Indiana affiliate of the National Wildlife Federations, and is incorporated under the laws of the State of Indiana as a non-profit corporation. Hoosier Conservation is a membership periodical available only to the various classes of IWF members and is not sold by subscription. Periodical Office: The Papers, P.O. Box 188, Milford, IN 46542. Periodical postage paid at Milford, IN. Editorial Office: Manuscripts, news releases, and correspondence directed specifically to the Editor should be addressed to: H.C. Editor, 4715 W. 106th Street, Zionsville, IN. Manuscripts, photographs, or artwork should be accompanied by self-addressed envelopes with return postage. However, Hoosier Conservation assumes no liability for the return of unsolicited materials. Material appearing in Hoosier Conservation may be reproduced with the appropriate credit lines unless designated a ©. Membership and Business Office: Correspondence about membership, delivery of Hoosier Conservation, or general business should be addressed to 4715 W. 106th Street, Zionsville, IN 46077. Postmaster: Send Form 3579 to Hoosier Conservation, 4715 W. 106th Street, Zionsville, IN 46077.
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Good tunes for a great cause We are proud to present our inaugural Summer Concert for Conservation titled Devotion to Wildlife with Jennie DeVoe, July 9, 7 p.m. at West Park in Carmel. The evening will begin at 5:30 with a VIP pre-concert cocktail hour and silent auction. Chat with Jennie before the show, and get a first chance to bid on some great auction items from our fabulous donors. Spread out your blanket or chair, and take in the soulful sounds that have made Jennie a Midwestern icon. She will take the stage at 7 p.m. and play until dark. Jennie DeVoe has put out a handful of albums since the late 1990s. Based in Indianapolis, she has taken her bluesy style across the country, opening for legends Bonnie Raitt, Joe Cocker, Lucinda Williams, and Ray Charles. IWF is partnering with Carmel Clay Parks and Recreation to host the event. During the show, we will officially certify West Park as wildlife friendly. West Park will become the second Carmel Clay park to earn our certification. Central Park was recognized as Wildlife Friendly last summer. CCPR plans to certify all of its parks. Tickets for the concert are on sale
now. You may stop by our office, or buy them through our website, www.indianawildlife.org. General admission tickets are $30, but IWF members can use our promotional code (BLUEHERON) for $10 off their tickets. VIP tickets cost $75. VIP ticket holders will receive special parking and seating during the show and a cocktail
hour where you can meet Jennie before she plays. The Cocktail hour will include beer, wine, and light hors d’oeurves catered by Ritz Charles. Tickets will be available at the door— cash only. All proceeds from tickets and auction sales go directly to IWF. Good tunes for a great cause. We can’t wait to see you there.•
Mention this ad when you join online and receive a free gift! Visit www.indianawildlife.org today.
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Ring of Fire Prescribed Burning and Its Important Role in Indiana
By traviS StoeltinG Every year, biologists, foresters and other land managers apply fire to thousands of acres in Indiana to achieve specific goals in natural resources management. Like many other habitat management activities, prescribed burning can appear somewhat harsh and destructive at first glance. However, those who have had experience with prescribed fires know how useful this practice can be. They have developed the science of prescribed burning as one of the most effective and efficient habitat management tools available. ■■
Fire in Indiana
Historically, fire occurred throughout much of Indiana and played a very influential role in sustaining the plants and animals found in our state. By most accounts, numerous low-intensity fires occurred quite frequently, suppressed only by natural features of the land and weather. Ignition was triggered by both natural
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sources, such as lightning strikes, and by Native Americans for various purposes. Fire ran freely through thousands of acres of woodlands, grasslands, and various forms of important transitional habitats like savannas and barrens. Since the years of European settlement to the present, the management of fire has varied considerably from the occurrence of large, intense fires to their almost complete suppression. Today, natural resource professionals are using prescribed fire on an increasingly regular basis, for a lot of good reasons.
Fire as a tool
The modern form of prescribed burning has been used in natural resources management since the 1940s. As a tool, fire can help us elicit certain responses in vegetation and wildlife, all of which vary according to several factors. The three things you can count on for every fire are a reduction in fuel materials, rapid recycling of nutrients,
and a temporary reversal of natural plant succession. In addition to these three most basic effects, natural resource managers have learned to anticipate several ecological responses to fire based on a host of factors including the fire’s intensity, what time of year it occurs, what species are present and numerous others. For example, when burning in a grassland, not only do we know that we are reducing the build-up of dead plant material and slowing the growth of woody plants. Also, we know that we can encourage growth of wildflowers by burning in the fall or, alternatively, promote grasses by burning in the spring.
We also can predict the long-term effects of fire. The repetition of fire eventually favors an increase in plants and animals that respond well to fire and a
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Second annual IWF kid’s contest a success ■■ By
Brooke O’Brien, intern April 22 marked the conclusion of the Indiana Wildlife Federation’s second annual “What’s in Your Wild Backyard?” kid’s contest, held in celebration of Indiana Wildlife Week. The online contest asked first through fifth grade students to answer questions related to various aspects of Indiana’s wildlife. Nine winners (listed below) were randomly chosen from all participants who completed the quiz. These lucky winners were recognized and awarded prizes at the White River State Park’s Earth Day Indiana Festival held on April 23. This year’s contest was a tremendous success. More than 500 kids participated, which was more than a 50 percent increase in comparison with last year. The students represented 34 schools and 26 cities throughout the state. We expect the contest to keep growing, and we look forward to refreshing the content for next year. Thanks again to the
Huff Animal Protection Trust for making this contest possible and to all of our participants for making it a success. Congrats to this year’s winners: 1st & 2nd grade Cierra Berry—Our Lady of Lourdes, Indianapolis Kayden Slone—Dayton Elementary, Lafayette Skaidrite Martinex—Home-schooled, Fortville 3rd & 4th grade Maleia Taylor—Oaklandon Elementary, Indianapolis Andie Batchelor—Kingsbury Elementary, Hamlet Jamey Deckard—Lincoln Elementary, Bedford 5th grade Guadalupe Medina—Brook Park Elementary, Indianapolis Kierra Dobbs—Paul I. Miller Elementary, Indianapolis Sam Hubert—Sunman Dearborn Intermediate School, Lawrenceburg
➲ decrease is likely in those that do not. Many native plants have specific features that allow them to flourish in fire-adapted communities. Trees such as oaks and persimmons have thick bark to withstand flames. Shrubs, such as winged sumac and blackberries, vigorously sprout from rhizomes after a fire. Many native grasses and wildflowers also have developed root systems that extend more than 10 feet into the ground, gathering water and nutrients and allowing the plants to rapidly generate impressive growth following a fire. These types of plants often occur together, creating unique areas of habitat for a variety of wildlife. Without fire, most of these areas would develop into different types of habitat. Therefore, they would not support the species of plants and animals that previously occurred and depend on this type of disturbance. In Indiana, these unique areas are prairies, oak savannas, barrens, and oak-
dominated forests. Some wildlife that especially depend on fire include northern bobwhites, Karner blue butterflies, Henselow’s sparrows, and countless species that rely on oaks and grassland plants. Fire has quite a legacy in Indiana, as it does in many other states of the central hardwoods and other regions of North America. Fragmented landscapes and limited management resources make the use of prescribed fire today just as important, if not more so, than the fires that occurred historically. Thankfully, the practice of prescribed burning is rebounding. Over the past several years, we have seen prescribed burns used in our national forests, state forests, nature preserves, fish and wildlife areas, and even our state parks. The return of fire to Indiana’s landscape is a true success, and it undoubtedly will help maintain the ecological integrity of our state’s natural areas for many generations to come.•
Conservation outreach in northwestern IN
IWF started working in April on an exciting new program to help improve environmental quality and wildlife habitat at the watershed level in northwest Indiana. Through a cooperative agreement with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, IWF formed the Conservation Outreach Program as part of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GRLI), a large-scale collaborative effort between U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and 15 other federal agencies to restore the Great Lakes. GRLI’s action plan focuses on pollution prevention and cleanup, combating invasive species, protecting near-shore health and preventing nonpoint source pollution, wildlife habitat protection and restoration, as well as education, communication, and partnerships. Our Conservation Outreach Program will emphasize the importance of restoring wildlife habitat and the value of sound conservation practices, while increasing local knowledge of the technical and financial resources available to do so, in the Little Calumet-Galien watershed. The program is IWF’s first opportunity to use such a targeted approach to outreach and conservation education. We will conduct a series of workshops throughout Lake, Porter, and LaPorte counties to raise awareness about landowner assistance programs, invasive species of the region and technical resources available for land improvements. Some of the events will include a field day portion where attendees can see conservation practices and programs on working farmland. Over the next year and a half, the Conservation Outreach Program will deliver a lot of valuable information to residents of the Little Calumet-Galien watershed. Watch for more details about locations and dates for upcoming events as part of IWF’s Conservation Outreach Program. Events will be posted on our website (www.indianawildlife.org). We look forward to seeing you there.•
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Barry Ellis, Betsy Yankowiak and Thom Maher pose with their awards. Little River Wetlands Project was named Conservation Organization of the Year, and Thom was recognized as Wildlife Conservationist of the Year.
IWF honors conservation leaders The Indiana Wildlife Federation honored six individuals and one organization for their leadership in conservation. Presentations were made at the IWF banquet in June at Pokagon State Park. The annual event included an auction with a variety of excellent items. IWF thanks the award recipients, donors and participants for their continued support of common sense conservation.
Conservation Award Winners The Ginn Award Lynn Burry Legislative Conservationist of the Year Representative Dick Dodge Agriculture Conservationist of the Year Brian Salomon Soil & Water Conservationist of the Year Jim Lake Conservation Communicator of the Year Julie Kandal
Conservation Organization of the Year Little River Wetlands Project (read about this project on page 10) Wildlife Conservationist of the Year Thom Maher Â Charles Holt Academic Scholarship recipient Emily Hunt, Purdue University A current IWF intern and Zionsville native, Emily is pursuing a bachelorâ€™s degree in wildlife. Her passion for wildlife has inspired her work with Zoo Club, Helping Paws, Wildlife Society, and the Purdue Equestrian team, in addition to her rigorous academic schedule.
Paul Bunner Conservationist of the Year Jeanette Neagu
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Board of Directors Steve Cecil, President
Glenn Lange, 1st Vice President
Doug Allman, 2nd Vice President
Ray McCormick Kay Oâ€™Callaghan
Shaena Reinhart*, Secretary Adam McLane, Treasurer Dr. David Hoffman, NWF Representative John Bunner
Dan Smith Steve Van Zant *Newly elected board member
Board member Steve Van Zant summarizes the trends in IWFâ€™s membership over the past few years. Ending his presentation with a rousing call to action, Van Zant challenged everyone to recruit new members and help grow the organization.
Auction Donors Larry Andawan Dale Back Bluesprings Caverns Bremen Conservation Club Cardno JFNew Costco Dean Farr Jim Lothary National Wildlife Federation Bruce Neckar New Alsace Conservation Club North Central IN Council of Conservation Clubs Tom Roller Becky Scheibelhut
Conservation Awards Sponsors Central Indiana Trout Unlimited Indiana Chapter of the Wildlife Society New Alsace Conservation Club North Dearborn Conservation Club
Banquet attendees start the evening with a nice meal from the Potawatomi Inn. We had a great turnout with members and guests from around the state.
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IWF and friends win some in tough legislative session During this challenging and unique representatives from the Indiana Wildlife legislative session, conservation issues and Federation and five other natural refunding often took a backseat to other sources organizations. It will report on the budget items and more controversial health of Indiana’s natural resources and political issues. Conservationists, however, natural resources programs and funding did not walk away completely emptyas well as other states’ programs. The final handed. report, due January 1, 2013, will make First, an update on how the Indiana programmatic and funding recommendaConservation Alliance’s (INCA) priorities tions regarding the protection of Indiana’s faired this year: natural resources. 1) Funding for the Indiana Heritage 4) Legislation to restrict the use of Trust at $750,000/year in the bienphosphorus in lawn fertilizers (HB nial budget (HB 1001). Despite INCA’s 1425). P-Free legislation was not heard in advocates reducing their typical biennial committee and, therefore, did not pass. request of $1 million by 25 percent, the Despite the lack of legislative action, key budget bill originally had $0 for Indiana industry leaders, such as Scotts MiracleHeritage Trust. In the end, $100,000 was Gro, have begun to remove phosphorus allocated for the biennial budget, a signififrom fertilizers intended for mature lawns. cant reduction in funding IWF will continue to for this important land educate the public and purchase fund This year, we take solace encourage the use of 2) Reinstatement of in knowing Heritage Trust phosphorus-free lawn the $500,000 cut in fertilizers. and Clean Water Indiana, dedicated funding and 5) Legislation to two crucial conservation authorize local governa request for $500,000 funding programs, will in general fund apments to issue PACE propriation for Clean bonds (SB 260 and remain in the budget. Water Indiana. The final HB 1457). Neither bill budget includes $500,000 passed. in general fund appropriations and $3.6 Several important, IWF-supported million in dedicated funding for CWI. bills did pass. A bill extending the expira3) Passage of legislation to create a tion date of the lake management work sustainable natural resources task force group and a resolution establishing the (SB 375 and HB 1392). SB 375 passed. constitutional right to hunt and fish in The task force will include legislators and Indiana both passed. The resolution has
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undergone extensive revisions since its inception, and we will carefully monitor future changes. Two bills we opposed that did not pass included legislation proposing to use the Lake and River Enhancement (LARE) fund to remove logjams from streams, and a bill that would have eased restrictions on animal hunting facilities. Neither bill moved out of their respective committees. Generating support for conservation programs and funding is a yearly struggle, and IWF remains a unique and persistent advocate. Legislators respect our common sense approach and know we represent a diverse constituency concerned about a variety of issues. This year, we take solace in knowing Heritage Trust and Clean Water Indiana, two crucial conservation funding programs, will remain in the budget. Findings from the new Sustainable Natural Resources Task Force should provide a very helpful assessment of, and inspire healthy improvements to, Indiana’s conservation initiatives. Check out our online Bill Watch (www.indianawildlife.org/billwatch. htm) for a comprehensive rundown of the bills we watched this year. If you did not receive frequent legislative updates, but you would like to, please email info@ indianawildlife.org to update your contact information.•
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Another successful Earth Day Indiana One hundred kids. One hundred birdfeeders. Lots of happy birds around central Indiana. At this year’s Earth Day Indiana Festival in Indianapolis, IWF helped 100 young conservationists build simple birdfeeders while teaching them about wildlife. The line formed quickly for this popular Earth Day Indiana tradition, but IWF’s volunteers and staff made everything run smoothly. Thanks, especially, to the teachers from Cold Springs Environmental Magnet and Ross King for helping out during the festival. Our IU School of Public and Environmental Affairs intern, Mike Luke, also provided crucial support organiz- Another great day ing all of the materials for the day. for conservation, IWF’s station was one of over 140 the Hoosier Outdoor environmental and conservation exExperience is hibits at the festival. The 2011 festival Indiana’s largest, was the biggest yet, and IWF was hands-on outdoor thrilled for the opportunity to reach so many people in five quick hours. recreation event. If you missed your chance to Mark your calendar volunteer or build a feeder with your for Sept. 17 and child, visit us at DNR’s Hoosier 18 at Fort Harrison Outdoor Experience.
State Park in Another great day for conIndianapolis servation, the Hoosier Outdoor Experience is Indiana’s largest, hands-on outdoor recreation event. Featuring more than 50 activities and 120 grassroots partners, this free weekend provides opportunities to learn about the great Indiana outdoors.
We will build feeders again at the Experience and we need volunteers. Please contact our office (317.875.9453 or info@ indianawildlife.org) if you would like to get involved. This year’s
Hoosier Outdoor Experience takes place on Sept. 17 and 18 at Fort Harrison State Park in Indianapolis. We look forward to seeing everyone in September.•
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The Little River Wetlands Project is IWF’s Conservation Organization of the Year ■■ By Judy
Nelsen, Secretary, Little River Wetlands Project Little River Wetlands Project (LRWP) was founded in 1990 by a group of citizens concerned that 85 percent of Indiana’s wetlands have been destroyed. Its mission is to restore and protect wetlands in the Little River watershed southwest of Fort Wayne and to provide educational opportunities that encourage people to be good stewards of wetlands and other natural ecosystems. The group focuses on the 25,000-acre Little River Valley between Fort Wayne and Huntington. LRWP acquired its first properties, near Aboite, Ind. in 2000 and 2001. Four years of hard work followed to restore 97-acre Arrowhead Marsh and 91-acre Arrowhead Prairie to wetland and prairie habitats. The group reached a huge milestone in 2005 by purchasing 676 acres of wet farmland on the southwest border of Fort Wayne for restoration to wetland, working with the federal Wetlands Reserve Program, which also participated on the Arrowhead properties. The new preserve, named Eagle Marsh, is one of the largest wetland restorations ever done in Indiana. LRWP completed its restoration of
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Eagle Marsh’s variety of wetland habitats easement on private land and purchased, last year, and it continues its stewardship with ACRES Land Trust, the 53-acre of the restored habitats. Little River Landing preserve near the Forty acres of mature forest acquired confluence of the Little River and the in the last five years have brought the Wabash River in Huntington. preserve’s size to 716 acres. LRWP protects 1,164 Adjacent Fox Island County acres of restored and natural This year, IWF Park and privately owned land, most of it wetlands. natural land combine to cre- recognized Little River LRWP’s free nature ate nearly two square miles programs served more than Wetlands Project of wildlife habitat. 3,600 participants in 2010, as Conservation Almost 200 bird species, and its preserves feature Organization of including 24 endangered nearly 10 miles of trails. The the Year at the or those of special concern, staff also help local property Conservation Awards owners find resources to have been spotted. Two imperiled amphibians, the Banquet. (See page 6) protect and enhance habitats blue-spotted salamander and on their land. northern leopard frog, also One of LRWP’s proudest reside at the preserve. accomplishments is its work with The NaIn a 2010 survey of birders, Northern ture Conservancy of Indiana and Loblolly Indiana Lakes magazine named Eagle Marsh in 2010 to win a Mississippi River Marsh (with Fox Island) one of the ten top Basin Initiative award that brought an adbirding areas in northern Indiana. ditional $2.8 million for wetlands restoraIn the past five years, LRWP has tion to landowners in the upper Wabash continued its rapid growth. Besides the 40 watershed. acres added to Eagle Marsh, 67 acres have This award will help landowners enroll been added to Arrowhead Prairie, bring700 more acres into the Wetlands Reserve ing the size of the two adjacent Arrowhead Program. preserves to 255 acres. For more information, please visit LRWP holds a 140-acre conservation www.lrwp.org.•
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How healthy is Indiana’s water? ■■ By
for ways to spend less time mowing your lawn and more time Marija Watson enjoying wildlife in your backyard. Nearly 140 people attended Indiana Wildlife Federation Our colorful, informational presentation is available online to Health of Indiana’s Water workshops held recently in Portage, explain why surplus phosphorus and nitrogen can be a problem. Evansville, Terre Haute and Muncie. The fact sheet has helpful recommendations to become more Each workshop addressed how nutrient problems that threatsustainable when you care for your landscape. en fish and wildlife, the importance of sustainable land manageYour lawn is part of a watershed and an area ment and how clean water can be restored with of land that drains to one location. During changes in individual behavior. Fertilizer use in urban areas storm events, the rain will carry with it sediFertilizer use in urban areas contributes ment, nutrients, and chemicals, which can harm contributes to nutrient to nutrient overloading in lakes, ponds and wildlife and its resources. reservoirs. Conservation practices implemented overloading in lakes, Do you know of a nearby pond filled with by private landowners can protect wildlife and ponds and reservoirs. algae? If so, you have seen the effects of excess its resources. Conservation practices nutrients. Start a discussion with your neighbors Participants said the workshops met or eximplemented by private about using phosphorus-free lawn fertilizer and inceeded their expectations and increased personlandowners can protect stalling a buffer of native plants around your pond. al knowledge of nutrient-related water quality wildlife and its resources. Established lawns usually do not need extra issues in their watersheds. They also expressed phosphorus. If you are uncertain, conduct a soil willingness to discuss sustainable landscaping test to understand the nutrient needs of your practices presented at these workshops with soil. Ask your neighbors to pledge today. neighbors and in their communities. We need your participation. Sign the pledge online to be phosThe majority also said that they would use some of the best phorus-free in your use of lawn fertilizer. It only takes two minutes. management practices mentioned on their property. A strong, collaborative effort in every community is important. Thank you to all who attended a water workshop this past Get more details at www.indianawildlife.org/ spring. Also, thank you to all the presenters and workshop venues. phosphorus.htm.• Did you miss the workshops? Check out our resources online
IWF leant its support to Girl Scout Troop 2632’s planting of two shagbark hickories, which provide ideal bat habitat. The project was part of the Hamilton County Parks and Recreation Department’s Tree Dedication Program.
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4715 W. 106th Street Zionsville, IN 46077