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Outdoor MARCH/APRIL 2008 n $3


Director’s Column n

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Governor Mitch Daniels, Jr.

Lt. Governor


utdoor Indiana is one of the premier publications of its kind and one of the best tools we at the Department of Natural Resources have to keep the public informed. The talented OI staff works hard to bring variety to its readers six times a year. Where else can you read about historic art exhibits, mushrooms, poison ivy and rattlesnakes in the same publication that also shows you how to make a rain globe? But OI isn’t the only way we can reach you. Last year, the Communications Division launched MyDNR, an e-mail newsletter that brings up-to-date information directly to your desktop. Like the magazine, MyDNR is produced six times a year­—once each quarter with two special editions of MyDNR coming just before the Indiana State Fair and the year-end holidays. As a bonus, MyDNR has the ability to deliver single-item news alerts at any time. Perhaps the best part of MyDNR—other than the fact that it’s free—is that it allows subscribers to pick and choose what they will receive. We can send you the whole package or we can tailor it. If all you want in your computer inbox is fishing news, that’s what you get. If you want to know about camping, that’s what we give you. MyDNR is available in two formats. You can choose either the quick, convenient text format for slower computer connection speeds or an HTML-format, full-color version with art from our DNR photographers. Either way, I’m confident you will find MyDNR a helpful source of information for what’s going on in your state. Please visit to learn more and fill out the registration form. More than 80,000 of your fellow Hoosiers already have. Why don’t you? n

Rebecca S. Skillman

Department of Natural Resources Robert E. Carter, Jr., Director

Deputy Directors John Davis Ron McAhron Adam Warnke Ann S. Walker

Outdoor Indiana Staff Editor Phil Bloom

Senior Editor Marty Benson

Managing Editor Ben Shadley

Assistant Editor Michael J. Ellis

Photography Editor Richard Fields

Photographer/Writer John Maxwell

Graphic Designer Erin K. Hiatt

Business Director Jessica Sparger

Circulation Amy L. Guedel

Digital Archivist Megan M. Coy

Natural Resources Commission Bryan W. Poynter, Chairman Jane Ann Stautz, Vice Chair Robert E. Carter, Jr., Secretary Thomas W. Easterly Lt. Gov. Rebecca S. Skillman Karl Browning Dr. Damian Schmelz Richard Mangus Patrick J. Early Doug Grant Lawrence Klein Robert L. Wright

Robert E. Carter, Jr.

Information Indiana Department of Natural Resources Outdoor Indiana (317) 233-3046


March/April 2008

n Editor’s Letter

Introduce kids to outdoors early


ne day last summer I watched my grandson Benjamin as he spotted an ant working its way across the sidewalk. “Zzzzzt! Zzzzt!” he said, using his word for any insect he encounters. Benjamin positioned himself in what resembled a squat while leaning forward on both hands. I was lying on my stomach thinking it was probably a tie as to who was more mesmerized by the moment—a child discovering bugs or a grandfather amazed that the little boy noticed the tiny ant in the first place. Regardless, that moment and similar ones with Benjamin were an epiphany. Sure, I read Richard Louv’s book “Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder” that was published nearly two years ago. Louv’s premise is that losing contact and understanding of the natural world results in a negative impact on the physical, mental and spiritual well-being of children. “I like to play indoors better ’cause that’s where all the electrical outlets are,” one fourth grader told Louv. That’s disturbing, but how can you fault a child for not knowing there is a real world beyond video-game fantasies? We need to show it to them, and that’s what I learned from Benjamin’s ant encounter. Too often, we don’t nurture the innate fascination children have with nature, and that’s a shame because the window of opportunity to capture a youngster’s interest in anything is very narrow. Miss it and their attention will soon turn to something else. My grandson marvels at birds in flight, squirrels bounding across the yard, and bugs. Some day he may develop a stronger interest in something other than nature, but it won’t be because he missed the chance to experience hiking in the woods, catching a fish, foraging for mushrooms, or sleeping under the stars. That much I promise him. Last fall a cosmetic makeover gave Outdoor Indiana a fresh, new look. More change is on the way—not in appearance but in content. This column is the first wrinkle of several we plan to introduce in coming issues. On the way are mini-profiles of DNR staff; capsule looks at nature preserves, parks and other Indiana places you can visit; and recipes to help you turn fish and game into tasty table fare. As always, we like to hear what you, our readers, think of our magazine. Please e-mail comments to or call (317)232-4003. n

Phil Bloom

March/April 2008





March/April 2008 Vol.73 No.2

FEATURES 12 Heirlooms of exchange By Coletta Prewitt Rite of Spring sprouts at Mill

16 Hoosier Ecosystem Experiment


By Scott Haulton & Duane McCoy Woodn’t you like to know?

26 Role reversal

By Kevin Howell Miami schoolhouse’s field trip

32 Picture this

By Amy Walker Benton’s Indiana was World class

40 Mushroom mania in Mansfield By Kevin Howell Fun with fungi

DEPARTMENTS 1 2 4 5 6 8 9 10 46

Director’s Column Editor’s Letter Ask an Expert News & Views Creature Feature Plant Feature Hoosier Profile Explore Your Environment E.Y.E. (for kids) 48 Trailing

Front cover: This Thomas Hart Benton mural, which was painted for the display on Indiana at the 1933 World’s Fair in Chicago, includes the sawmill at Spring Mill State Park. Photo by Michael Cavanagh & Kevin Montague/Indiana University. Inside front cover: Cold water emerging from nearby caves flows past the gristmill in the Pioneer Village at Spring Mill State Park. Photo by Richard Fields. Back cover: A sketch Benton used as a guide for one of the World’s Fair murals. Photo by Michael Cavanagh & Kevin Montague/Indiana University. Outdoor Indiana is published bimonthly by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, 402 W. Washington St. Rm. W255-B, Indianapolis, Ind. 46204-2739. Periodicals postage paid at Indianapolis. Copyright 2008 in all its forms by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. All rights reserved. Printed in the U.S.A. All six 2008 issues constitute Volume 73. Newstand price: $18 (6 issues). Basic subscription: $12 (6 issues); $20 (12 issues); foreign $20 (6 issues). Price includes sales tax and is subject to change. Make checks or money orders payable to Outdoor Indiana. Renewals and changes of address should be sent promptly to avoid delay. Address changes should include old and new ZIP code. For new subscribers, please allow at least six weeks for delivery of first issue. POSTMASTER: Send subscriptions and address changes to Outdoor Indiana, 402 W. Washington St., Rm. W255-B, Indianapolis, Ind. 46204-2739. The programs and facilities of the Department of Natural Resources are available to everyone without regard to sex, creed, color or national origin.

ISSN 0030-7068 USPS 415-320 Printed by SPG Graphics


March/April @ READER PHOTOS Your photo could be here next issue. Go online to get guidelines and deadlines. Send your entry today!

E. Frank Worrell spied this great blue heron looking for its next meal on Patoka Lake.

ALSO on the Web • • • • •

Behind the scenes Tell us what you think about the magazine See exciting video from the Hoosier Ecosystem Experiment photo shoot and mushroom cooking Take a virtual tour of “The Tunnel” at Clifty Falls State Park Kids page and more ...

March/April 2008


RETROSPECTIVE A new, Web-exclusive look at historical articles of Outdoor Indiana from our archives. This issue features two articles about forestry from May 1934.

Ask an Expert n

Greener grass care A bobwhite quail whistles “bobwhite” in a Hoosier backyard. Easy grass care tips can improve the health of your lawn and our natural resources.

I want my lawn to look healthy and nice, but am concerned about harming the environment. How can I maintain my lawn in an ecofriendly way? First off, lawns are typically not ecofriendly because they consist of too many of the same plant. But here’s what to do with the type of lawn most people have. Start from the ground up. For any plant to be healthy above ground, it needs a healthy root system, so aerate your lawn every year. Nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium are naturally occurring nutrients needed by all plants. They are commercially available in organic or synthetic forms. The plant can’t tell the difference. John Maxwell photo Organics are usually germinate daily. The best control of more expensive and need to be broadleaf weeds in a lawn is mainapplied in warmer soil conditions; taining a thick, healthy tall turf however, the most important canopy. To promote such growth, times to fertilize are fall and winmow at the highest mower setting, ter, making synthetics a consisnever removing more than onetently good choice. If properly third of the total blade length. If done in fall and winter, no spring hiring out, stipulate that mowing be fertilization is needed. done as needed, at a raised height, Water your lawn deeply but dependent on the lawn’s growth, infrequently. One inch every not the calendar. Most lawns need seven days will keep grass green. to be cut nearly every five to seven You may allow your lawn to go days early in the season, but can dormant during water shortages. often go weeks without cutting durHealthy lawns can recover well, even after eight weeks or longer of ing hot dry periods. When improving your lawn, dormancy, until cooler temperause modern improved cultivars tures arrive and rainfall returns. of turfgrass seeds that have been Weed seeds can remain dordeveloped and tested by nearby mant in the soil for years and can

land-grant universities for disease and insect resistance, and that will stand up to hot, dry summers. Use modern turf-type tall fescues, tested cultivars of bluegrasses and their mixes. Reduce the amount of grass clippings being sent to landfills by using a mulching mower. Grass blades are 90 percent water. When mulched, they add nutrients and humus to a lawn, much like getting one free lawn fertilization a year. It’s OK to mulch leaves into the lawn in the fall. By next spring, most leaves will be thoroughly disintegrated. Lawns do more than add to a home’s aesthetics and allow our children and pets a place to play upon. Grass cools the soil, helps hold moisture, gives off oxygen, collects dust, and effectively filters much of the groundwater. Grass has proved to be a very effective way to filter groundwater. For more information on effective lawn care, Purdue University offers a Web site that is updated every other week during the growing season with good turfgrass advice: n To submit a question, write to Outdoor Indiana, Ask an Expert, 402 W. Washington St., Suite W255B, Indianapolis, IN 46204 or e-mail to


March/April 2008

n News & Views

March/April 2008


Goose Pond Fish and Wildlife Area, an 8,000-acre wetlands complex in Greene County. In addition to the tax checkoff, direct donations are another option for contributing to the Nongame Fund. For information, write to Nongame Fund, 402 W. Washington St., Room W273, Indianapolis, IN, 46204, or visit

Senior fishing license primer ...

It used to be Indiana residents who were 64 years old had to pay $17 for a fishing license that was good for just one year. This year, a 64-year-old Hoosier can plunk down that same $17 and get a senior fishing license that’s good for a lifetime. Or there’s the less expensive, shortterm option of buying a discounted, one-year senior license for $3. Either way, the purchase of a (Below, left to right) A recently metamorphed cricket frog rests on DNR herpetologist Nate Engbrecht’s finger. New DNR Outdoor Recreation director Steve Morris often bikes to work in downtown Indianapolis. Longtime senior fishing license advocate and dean of Indiana outdoor writers, Bayou Bill Scifres, angles a spotted bass from his beloved Muscatatuck River.

John Maxwell photo

Zack Walker photo

says Hoosiers can help one of Indiana’s rarest wildlife species when they file their state income taxes this year. The special checkoff on Line 35 of the state tax form allows taxpayers to donate a portion of their state tax refund to the Nongame and Endangered Wildlife Fund, which helps fund the return of the bald eagle to Indiana. “This is an important part of Indiana’s wildlife heritage. Funding for conservation efforts for bald eagles and hundreds of other species increases when Hoosiers check the box on their tax form,” Daniels said. DNR director Robert E. Carter Jr. said the return of the bald eagle to Indiana—now 80 nesting pairs—is the most successful example of the program, and the more checkoffs on tax forms, the more matching federal funds become available for the program. The Nongame and Endangered Wildlife Fund supports research and management activities for the state’s estimated 750 species of birds, mammals, fish, mussels, reptiles and amphibians

that traditionally are not pursued through hunting and fishing. In fact, nongame species make up more than 90 percent of the wildlife in Indiana. The Indiana legislature established the Nongame and Endangered Wildlife Fund in 1982. Operating solely on voluntary contributions, the fund has paved the way for reintroducing to the Indiana landscape such once-endangered species as the bald eagle, peregrine falcon and river otter. The bald eagle, official icon of the nongame program, had been absent in the state since the late 1890s. The DNR launched a sixyear restoration project in 1985 by releasing young eagles, and 20 years later, there are nearly 80 nesting pairs in the state. “Peregrine falcons and river otters have had similar success stories, but there is still much work to be done,” Carter said. The DNR is working on a wide range of nongame species that need help—lake sturgeon, osprey, Franklin’s ground squirrel, Allegheny woodrat—and the fund has been used to help purchase critical wildlife habitat at Pisgah Marsh in Kosciusko County and

Submitted photo

Nongame fund seeks donations ... Gov. Mitch Daniels

John Maxwell photo

Richard Fields photo

News & Views n

(Left) A wooden aquaduct carries water from Hamer Cave spring to the Spring Mill State Park village gristmill. (Right) Gov. Daniels announced in December in Indianapolis that the state had agreed in principle to buy 150 miles of abandoned railroad corridors, nearly doubling the rail-trail corridors in the state.

senior license will benefit Hoosier anglers of all ages by enabling Indiana to collect its fair share of federal matching funds for fishing programs. Starting April 1, residents age 64 and older born after March 31, 1943, will be required to purchase one of the two senior licenses approved last year by the Indiana legislature. Hoosiers age 65 and older and born before April 1, 1943, are not affected by the new law. Each purchase of a senior fishing license brings the state an additional $7.90 in federal money from the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund. The fund collects an excise tax on fishing equipment and boat fuel and distributes money back to states based in part on the number of fishing licenses sold in the state. Approximately 5,500 Hoosier anglers, age 64, bought a 2006 fishing license. If the same number buy a senior license this year, the state would gain $43,000 from the federal government. In 10 years, as more Hoosiers move into the senior license age bracket, the total would swell to $2.3 million. The funding gained from license sales and federal matching money will be used for sport fish restoration programs, and expanding and maintaining pub-

lic access to lakes and streams throughout the state.

Dunes’ win streak continues ...

Indiana Dunes State Park has won a third award for its project that returned Dunes Creek to a natural stream and wetlands area. The award, bestowed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Chicago Wilderness, was one of 15 annual Conservation and Native Landscaping Awards presented at a ceremony at the Chicago Botanic Garden. The awards recognize park districts, local governments and corporations for exemplary natural landscaping and conservation development.

New outdoor recreation director ... Steve Morris, who has worked at the DNR since 1994, is the new director of the Division of Outdoor Recreation. Morris served as streams and trails section chief of the same division from 1998 through August 2007, when former director Emily Kress retired and he became interim director. Morris started with the DNR in 1994, as an intermittent streams-and-trails field specialist. The avid hiker, bicyclist and canoeist holds a master’s degree in park-and-recreation administration from IU (1998), the same school from which he graduated in 1992 with a degree in public affairs.

Spring Mill in nation’s top 10 ... The 10k volksmarch at Spring Mill State Park has been named

one of the country’s top 10 organized walks in a poll of American Volkssport Association members. The AVA sanctions more than 1,700 self-guided trails in the United States. The organization’s walks go through a wide variety of areas, from national parks to quaint towns to exciting cities. Wendy Bumgardner, who writes a column on walking for the Web site conducted the poll, asking a select group of the association’s members about their favorite walks of 2007. Don Vartanian, president of the Indiana Volkssport Association, said Spring Mill’s ranking was well deserved. “It’s a very enjoyable walk with lots of natural beauty,” he said. “The Pioneer Village gives a good feel for our Indiana heritage and I find that most interesting while doing my walk. “It is one of my favorite walks and I would encourage anyone to add Spring Mill State Park to their list of places to go.” Bumgardner’s article described the Spring Mill walk, which is available year round, as “a lovely hike in southern Indiana” that goes through “a virgin forest, along a stream, by sinkholes and caves, a restored pioneer village and gristmill. The walk starts at a charming inn worth a stay.” For more information about the park or inn, call (812) 849-4129, or visit n


March/April 2008

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