Garlic Mustard Control

Spring is the time to hand pull garlic mustard in order to prevent its spread. Watch for it to emerge, and pull it before it goes to seed. See the link below for more details, explanations and strategies.

Check out this online resource for garlic mustard control provided by the non-profit the Stewardship Network.


EQUIP applications Due January 15, 2017

NICHES believes in and works toward landscape level conservation. When neighbors each are practicing conservation on their land, the level of impact achieved collectively increases. If you are a land owner in agricultural or forest production, you may be eligible to participate in the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQUIP). Look into it to find out the program requirements.

Below are some useful links:

EQUIP defined and explained at the national level

Indiana specific informaiton

For more information, contact your local NRCS office, or County Soil and Water Conservation District.

Bison return to Kankakee Sands

The Nature Conservancy of Indiana are reintroducing a native mammal to the habitat. Their website states, “It’s been almost 200 years since [bison] roamed free in Indiana.  In November 2016, bison will return to the prairies of Kankakee Sands. Learn more about the restoration of this iconic mammal.

Visit the Nature Conservancy website to learn more.

NICHES will be watching the reintroduction with avid interest.

Carroll County Libraries host “All-in Block Party” in Delphi

NICHES, both excited and honored, participates in the All-in Block Party hosted by Carroll County Libraries as part of the Bicentennial Torch Relay on October 6, 2016 in Delphi, IN.

NICHES Mary I. Gerard Nature Reserve lies adjacent to the Monon High Bridge Trail, one of many properties NICHES owns in Carroll County.

We will be present and celebrating local natural, geological and cultural history along with the rest of the community. Come on over to Delphi and join in the All-In Block party.

The story of how a species escapes landscaping use and negatively impacts native ecosystems

This straightforward and engaging video tells the tale of the Japenese Barberry, a plant long used in landscaping that has escaped to populate native habitats. The story also clearly indicates, through the story of a single specific species, the process of how other non-native species can become invasive.

A new Japanese Barberry video by University of Minnesota Extension and Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) is available.  The video was jointly created by Angela Gupta with Extension, Emilie Justen with MDA and Audrey Robinson Favorito with Wild Carrot Productions.  They did a terrific job.

Grasses, how do you tell them apart?

Want to learn more about grasses? Craving skills at identifying the many and varied grasses that grow in our region? Like to learn new things and gather with folks with a shared interest in ecology and botany?

Well – here is a workshop that may be for you:

Grass Identification Workshop hosted by Illinois Native Plant Society

Saturday, September 24, 2016, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Illinois Natural History Survey’s Forbes Building, 1816 S. Oak Street, Champaign, IL

Join us to learn the basics of grass identification and terminology. The workshop will include both classroom and field instruction. No previous botanical experience is necessary. Bring water, your lunch, and a hand lens if you have one. Microscopes will be supplied during the classroom session. The grass family (Poaceae) is the 5th largest plant family in the world and 2nd largest in Illinois. Don’t ignore them any longer! Grasses are important as characteristic species of many habitats in Illinois. Registration required (limit 12): contact Paul Marcum (



Learn about forestry management from experts

Attend the upcoming Forestry and Wildlife Habitat Field Day, organized by the Tippecanoe County Soil & Water Conservation District (SWCD) on Saturday, October 29 from 9 am – 3pm. For full details see the flyer: forestry-and-wildlife-habitat-field-day.

NICHES Land Trust encourages landowners and the public to learn about conservation and stewardship concepts and techniques. The field day provides just such an opportunity, including informative sessions and site visits to local natural areas.

photo by Brooke Criswell

photo by Brooke Criswell

A boot brush and a car wash help prevent spread of invasive seed.

Controlling invasive plant species populations is a complex and challenging problem that takes planning, timing, persistence, and collaboration.

Bob Easter, NICHES Stewardship Manager, shares some insights and suggestions to help minimize spread of seed.  Recently he mowed an area infested with invasive grasses. The intent was to mow the grasses before they could produce seed and to do so in such a manner that the stems and leaves cut smoother the current stems. After mowing, Bob thoroughly washed the truck (used to haul the mower into the field) and the mower including the blades. “[Even though the chance of] spreading seed from mowing done before flowering is likely limited to seed from soil getting stuck to tires, it is possible that [former seasons] seed be kicked up from the ground and stick to the grass under the mower deck.” The thorough washing of mower and truck ensures that seed from one site won’t be transferred to another site.

Bob also prepared portable boot brushes to enable boot cleaning between properties. Such methodical attention to potential spread of invasive species seeds helps minimize the spreading.

Please get or make yourself a portable boot brush and keep it in your vehicle. Brush your feet at the end of a hike before transporting seeds into your vehicle or carrying seeds to another site.

Preventing spread of invasive plant species is an important step to control invasive species infestation. Thank for doing your part.


Sand Savannas – some interesting information

Sand savannas, unique and fascinating ecosystems of sand soil, exist in the northern portion of NICHES service area. NICHES Land Trust promotes and supports sand savanna conservation by meeting with land owners interested in protecting and conserving sand savannas on their properties in Jasper or Newton County, educating the public about sand savannas, and of course stewarding the sand savannas at Fisher Oak Savanna Nature Preserve in Jasper County, and Holley Savanna in Newton County.

You can experience the sand savanna ecosystem by visiting either property. You can learn about Fisher Oak Savanna by watching our informative and engaging documentary.   If you own land with a sand savanna and want to learn more about conservation strategies or opportunities, contact

Here is a link to information on sand savannas presented by Illinois State Museum.

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Fisher Oak Savanna Nature Preserve

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Fisher Oak Savanna Nature Preserve 40.846741, -87.043948 Fisher Oak webpage (Directions)
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Holley Savanna

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Holley Savanna 40.985965, -87.327827 Holley webpage (Directions)

Orchids – an online resource for identification and conservation

Amanda Ingrams, Faculty at Wabash College, presented at a recent Wednesday in the Wild about Indiana native orchids. Amanda is conducting research on the relationship between mycorrhizal and orchids. She explained orchid life cycle, shared interesting and compelling questions worthy of future study.

Amanda also shared a resource, NAOCC, self defined as:

“North American Orchid Conservation Center is a coalition of organizations dedicated to conserving our orchid heritage. Established as a collaborative effort by the Smithsonian Institution, and the United States Botanic Garden. NAOCC is based at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center and includes units at the National Zoological Park, National Museum of Natural History and Smithsonian Gardens.”