NICHES Land Trust implemented our deer management program in 2010 with one property, Weiler-Leopold. Today, our program includes 32 of our properties totaling just over 2,320 acres. In this presentation, Justin Harmeson, NICHES Land Steward and Staff Lead for this program, shares why this program is an important part of our stewardship activities, how the program is structured, facilitated, and the process for getting involved.
Ninety-six percent of Indiana is privately owned. Landowners are crucial participants in healing and managing the landscape for the benefit of native species. Each landowner managing their land with plants and animals in mind is providing an important piece in the vitality of the broader natural landscape.
“I didn’t have a master plan,” George Parker admitted, “other than I wanted to minimize the amount that I actually had to mow.” In 1971, when George and Mary Lee Parker bought their property, it had been heavily grazed and dominated by blackberry brambles. They immediately planted 1,500 Christmas trees to generate income, working around patches of things George thought were important, and watched as the surrounding flora continued to develop. Fifty years later, the Parker property hosts close to 50 of Indiana’s native tree species, maples fit for tapping, red fox, weasels, flying squirrels, and nesting sites for countless species of birds. Released from the constraints of agricultural management and with a guiding hand, the land has rewilded itself.
This year, 2020, has challenged us to work in new ways. Because the forces degrading natural areas are still at work, we have modified old ways to safely complete work. Please listen to the Black Rock Society 2020 video to see and hear a sample of the work we have been engaged in to lift up the natural heritage of our region.
Dan Childs received a M.S. degree in Botany and Plant Pathology from Purdue University in 1987. He has worked in both academia and industry as a weed scientist and agronomist for over 36 years. He is a wildflower enthusiast and is an author of two wildflower identification field guides, Back Roads and Into the Woods.
This presentation showcases common Indiana woodland wildflowers that flower from June through September.
NICHES Stewardship Director, Bob Easter, presented information about the historical presence and importance of native white pines in Warren, Fountain and western Tippecanoe County, and their associated plant communities on a Zoom Video Recording. In addition, he touches on NICHES current efforts to change management of lands to tilt management to allow for the natural regeneration of pines where mature stands/ individuals exist along with restoration efforts to areas historically occupied by white pines using local ecotype pines which have been grown out from seed.
With the worldwide pandemic of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) shutting down the social and commercial bustle of our lives it gives us a chance to step into nature and reconnect with the ecological systems around us. As we enter early spring hikers across the state will notice some of the first plants to leaf out adorning their light green foliage. Many of these “early risers” are actually invasive species that are getting a head start on growing for the season. An invasive species is a non-native plant or animal that disrupts native ecosystems by outcompeting local resident species.
Trash. Nobody likes it, yet we create lots of it.
Humans are hard on the land. Not as often, but still today some people choose to save money and not pay for trash pickup and use their back woodlot as the disposal area for the family. Leaving a mess for future generations to clean up.
Holley Savanna like many properties was used as a depository for the family trash back in the day. Thankfully they confined it to a couple of locations.
Quality management of natural lands in the Midwest requires a multifaceted strategy of controlling invasive species, restoring hydrology, controlling highly impactful species (deer) and returning the natural processes of fire to name a few of the big-ticket items. These four items are the basis of our stewardship work. Watching natural systems behave over the years, we have learned that NICHES’ lands are not remote isolated islands, but part of a greater connected landscape. A landscape in which some of those adjacent lands have significant issues with invasive species (not to say, that our lands are free of invasives), which are contributing to the degradation of NICHES when left unchecked.