Roxie Easter, NICHES Volunteer, and avid birder shares tips, tricks, tools, and good local locations for getting started with birdwatching.
Another transformative project is underway.
With funding support from the Roy Whistler Foundation, we are working to recover several acres of exceedingly rare sand barrens habitat at our Granville Sand Barrens and Roy Whistler Wildlife Area properties.
This project started in the fall of 2019 with Fecon mowing of thick Amur honeysuckle on the west side of the road which splits the Roy Whistler Wildlife Area. The Fecon work was donated by our friends at Arbor America, who have committed to donating 4 days of forestry mowing with their machine each year. They put in 4 days in the fall of 2019, and another 4 days in early 2020.
NICHES Land Trust sites in the middle Wabash River region were surveyed for the presence of plains leopard frog, a state endangered species, in the summer of 2020. Two sites, Roy Whistler Wildlife Area and Shawnee Bottoms, were found to be home to these rare frogs, and males were detected calling near Pecan Basin, and likely using the site.
Professional artists Dan Annarino, Terry Lacy, Rena Brouwer, and Alan McConnell share how the natural world has inspired their work. Each artist shares specific paintings, photographs, or other works of art inspired by nature and discussed their creative process.
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.