Long-Term Ecological Reflections on Wildcat Creek: 2014 to 2113
NICHES initiated a 100 year program entitled “Wildcat Creek Reflections.” The vision of the project is to collect a comprehensive ecological reflection on the treasure State Scenic Waterway, Wildcat Creek. The collection of contributions accumulated over time will reflect both the history and the journey of the Wildcat Creek Corridor and the people who connected with it. The perspectives of countless contributors will add depth, dimension and diversity fitting such a richly diverse ecosystem.
Individuals are encouraged to visit 3 designated study sites along the creek/ forest interface:
- Mussel Shoals
- Clegg Memorial Garden
Each study site contains a journaling station complete with journals to collect the written or sketched works of contributors.
One of the most viable and popular ways to spend a day in nature is on a float trip (or paddle). Reflection entries made during your personal float trip on the Wildcat Creek can be deposited at a journaling stations, delivered to NICHES Administrative Office at Clegg Garden (there is a drop slot on the front porch – be sure to label the submission “Wildcat Creek Reflections Contribution”), sent by email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or mailed to NICHES Land Trust 1782 N 400 E; Lafayette, IN 47901.
The reflections will be collected into permanent archives kept in the Roy Whistler Library at NICHES Land Trust Clegg Memorial Garden. A selection of contributions will be accessible via the NICHES website.
The Long-Term Ecological Reflections on Wildcat Creek is based on these fundamental beliefs:
• People should pay close attention to a particular place: hills, rivers and forests and environs, because a close study of a place will reveal broader truths that go beyond that place.
• We should study that place for generations and learn to perceive the temporal dimension-the presence of pasts and futures-through informed observation.
• Storytelling and poetry, observation and experiment, myth and mathematics are all authentic windows on the world.
• An unusual richness and joy exists and is manifest in the community of art and science, in the coming together of insights from many different perspectives and disciplines.
• Wisdom may be gained; the more we know about the natural world and the place of humans in the world, the greater our insight into how we ought to live our lives.
In addition to the journal stations and accepting contributions for personal float trip reflections, NICHES launched an annual Wildcat Voyage of Discovery.
Each July a group of 10 people will float the 39 miles from Burlington to Clegg Memorial Garden as part of a 4 day voyage. During the multi-day float, participants will stop at each of the 3 previously mentioned journaling stations plus a fourth stop on private lands. Participants will conduct Hoosier Riverwater monitoring along the Voyage. Participants bring all necessary gear and camp each overnight.
During the first Voyage of Discovery in 2014, between water quality monitoring, the group will be instructed in writing technique by long time NICHES member, Marc Hudson, Wabash College English Professor.
The Inaugural Wildcat Voyage of Discovery launched on July 10, 2014 and pulled into Clegg Memorial Garden on July 13, 2014.
There are limited spots for 2016, so please contact Gus email@example.com or 765 423-1605 if you are interested to discuss participation.
A poem about the Wildcat from Garry Hill:
Winter Tears: The Promise Of Spring
Peering thru the frosted pane in the dreary early morn,
To gaze upon my snow-draped land, frost-bitten and forlorn.
Though Nature glitters every tree with sparkling prismed gems,
My eyes can see but cold and ice…….
Hanging from the limbs.
Estranged by the cold and bitter wind from the world of which I seek,
I can see but dark despair for those who from cold are weak.
And to watch the sparrows on the eave, as happy as can be,
Was to tap the root of disbelief…….
And swell my misery.
Their antics enticed my eyes to watch as they pranced along the ledge;
By merest chance I caught a gleam of sunlight near the edge.
A tiny tear was hanging there, draped by sun-lit lace;
Then it fell to greet the snow…….
And another took its place.
Even as it hung there the wind burst cold and strong;
The tiny tear was frozen, conceived, but not yet born.
Winter’s tear was muted, its song unheard by some;
But it stands as a frosted, faithful promise…….
Of the Spring that’s yet to come.
Help preserve our Wildcat Creek
“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower” – Albert Camus
Wildcat Creek is part of the Indiana Natural and Scenic Rivers System, identifying it as one of the most outstanding of all the state’s rivers. We are very fortunate in Kokomo that the Wildcat runs right through our town where walking/biking paths parallel her shoreline.
For many years I have been a member of the Wildcat Guardians, a group which has been a cornerstone for protecting and helping to preserve the health and beauty of Wildcat Creek. We conduct periodic river clean-ups for large scale litter removal, offer educational opportunities to alert the public to environmental issues affecting the creek and participate in canoeing instruction with the Kokomo Parks and Recreations Department.
The Guardians have divided the Wildcat into sections which can be ‘adopted’ to watch over and care for. I have adopted section #20 which begins at Stonebreaker Bridge on CR 1150 and extends to SR 22. Twice a year I paddle down this section to pick up and clear any trash by hauling it out in my canoe. Large fallen trees or log jams are reported to the Guardian Adopt-a-River coordinator who then organizes a group to go in with chain saws to clear away for the creek to flow and canoes to float.
Sunday, I took two friends along with me to Section 20 to check the conditions along the creek. The weather was in the mid 50’s. The sun was shining brightly, making all the colors brilliantly illuminated everywhere around us. It rained ‘flowers’ of every color as the wind brought the leaves from the grip of the trees to meet the river. As we paddled on the multi-colored river carpet, we tried to grasp every beautiful scene with our cameras. With me were artist Carlos Bermudez and fisherman Andy Reecer. Andy has spent much time seeing this section of river from the shoreline with pole and hook, but this day was his first to experience the creek from a kayak with the river carrying him along. He marveled at how different the view was from the kayak than from the shore.
It was a beautiful afternoon, one which none of us will soon forget. A great joy of mine is to experience the awe that someone feels when they meet the river from a new perspective – paddling, tipping, swimming, laughing and feeling the joy of the moments in nature!
If you would like to join in helping to preserve and protect Wildcat Creek please consider becoming a Wildcat Guardian. You do not need to have a boat or be a traveler on the water. Much help is needed on projects completely accomplished from the shorelines.
And remember, we don’t always bend over to pick a flower, sometimes we are so fortunate to have them fall down upon us from above!
– See more at: http://www.kokomoherald.com/Content/Community/Features/Article/Help-preserve-our-Wildcat-Creek/32/76/13398#sthash.lKfinRZB.dpuf