Got Nature? Blog

Woodland Steward PublicationTake a look at the recent Indiana Woodland Steward Newsletter, a resource that’s full of a variety of valuable information to foresters, woodland owners, timber marketing specialists and any woodland enthusiasts. This issue includes topics such as a forest management, what private woodland owners are doing about invasive plants, the threat of callery pears, as well as much more.

Check out this IWS Newsletter  to stay current in the world of forestry, and feel free to browse archived articles dating back to 1992 for more information.

Resources:
Hardwood Ecosystem Experiment, Purdue University FNR
Fertilizing, Pruning, and Thinning Hardwood Plantations, The Education Store, Purdue Extension Resource Center
TCD-Black Walnut Trees, Thousand Cankers Disease
Environmental and Management Injury in Hardwood Tree Plantations, The Education Store, Purdue Extension

The Indiana Woodland Steward Institute is an entity made from 11 organizations within the state including Purdue University, Indiana DNR, and Indiana Hardwood Lumbermen’s Association that works to promote best usage practices of Indiana’s woodland resources through their Woodland Steward publication.


The Purdue Rainscaping Education Program’s ultimate goal is to increase rainscaping in residential and small-scale public spaces. With this two day workshop on August 30th and 31st, the Rainscaping Education Program aims to teach master gardeners, landscape professionals, and agency staff how to promote community awareness and education for bioretention/rain garden planning, installation, and maintenance. The sessions include flipped classroom instruction through online learning modules, experiential training activities, field techniques, and field trips to view rainscaping projects.Purdue Extension, Rainscaping Program

Check out the flyer for more information or register here. The deadline to register is August 9th.

Resources:
Rainscaping Education, Purdue Extension-Forestry and Natural Resources
Rainscaping Education – Program Impacts, Purdue Extension-Forestry and Natural Resources
Rainscaping Podcast: Managing Water Around Our Homes, Purdue Extension-Forestry and Natural Resources
How ‘rainscaping’ benefits water quality, WLFI TV-video

Lyndsay Ploehn, Extension Educator, Porter County
Purdue University Extension Agriculture & Natural Resources

Kara Salazar, Sustainable Communities Extension Specialist
Purdue Department of Forestry and Natural Resources

John Orick, Horticulture and Landscape Architecture
Purdue Department of Horticulture & Landscape Architecture


Purdue University has teamed up with four zoos to protect hellbenders. This effort is a worldwide collaboration as zoos, government agencies, and other conservation groups, implement much-needed conservation initiatives. This recently published publication titled How Our Zoos Help Hellbenders shares the current zoos in Indiana that are collaborating with Purdue in this conservation effort. Zoos are conservation and research organizations that play critical roles both in protecting wildlife and their habitats and in educating the public. Thus, with hellbenders experiencing declines over the past several decades, teaming up with zoos in order to preserve and protect the hellbender species is ideal. The zoos that are currently partners with Purdue University in this effort are: Mesker Park Zoo in Evansville, Indiana; Columbian Park Zoo in Lafayette, Indiana; Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo in Fort Wayne, Indiana; and Nashville Zoo in Nashville, Tennessee.

Three videos have been released showing how the zoos are working with Purdue University to help protect hellbenders. You can check them out below!

Resources:
Conservation Efforts, Mesker Park Zoo
Hellbender Research Participation Spotlight, Columbian Park Zoo
Conservation, Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo
Hellbender Conservation, Nashville Zoo
Purdue Partners with Indiana Zoos for Hellbender Conservation – Purdue Newsroom
Help the Hellbender, Purdue Extension-FNR
Nature of Teaching, Purdue Extension-FNR
I found this in my barn. Is it a Hellbender? – Purdue FNR Extension, Got Nature

Nick Burgmeier, Research Biologist and Extension Wildlife Specialist
Purdue University Department of Forestry and Natural Resources


Posted on June 30th, 2017 in Forestry, Wildlife, Woodlands | No Comments »
Eastern Hellbender

Eastern Hellbender

We have written about the Eastern Hellbender salamander (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis alleganiensis) in this blog multiple times. It is a unique species and plays an important role in the aquatic ecosystem in which it inhabits. Unfortunately, the species has been declining throughout much of its range over the past several decades and can no longer be found in many of the rivers and streams where it used to be common. In Indiana, the Eastern Hellbender can only be found in the Blue River. However, this population is also declining and without intervention will likely disappear within the next 20 years.

To help prevent this, Purdue University’s “Help the Hellbender” has teamed with Mesker Park Zoo and Botanic Garden (MPZ) to attempt to captive breed the Eastern Hellbender. Purdue University biologists have been capturing wild Eastern Hellbenders from the Blue River and transporting them to MPZ. MPZ has built an indoor stream designed to mimic the conditions in the Blue River. They have followed the advice of members of the highly successful Ozark Hellbender subspecies (C. a. bishopi) breeding program at St. Louis Zoo.

Mesker Park Zoo and Botanic Garden zookeeper, Bryan Plis, places a wild Eastern Hellbender into the new breeding raceway

Mesker Park Zoo and Botanic Garden zookeeper, Bryan Plis, places a wild Eastern Hellbender into the new breeding raceway

If successful, this captive population will provide a long-term, easily accessible source of young Hellbenders for eventual release. This will allow us to continue to repopulate the Blue River while expanding our release efforts to include other southern Indiana rivers with suitable habitat. The breeding program also will reduce the need to spend countless hours searching the river in the hopes of finding increasingly rare Hellbender nests. Through these efforts we will hopefully be able to reestablish self-sustaining populations of Hellbenders throughout southern Indiana and help prevent the extinction of a truly magnificent animal.

For more ways you can help, please visit HelptheHellbender.org.

Resources:
Mesker Park Zoo: Helping the Hellbender , Purdue Extension-Forestry and Natural Resources, YouTube
Help the Hellbender, Purdue Extension-Forestry and Natural Resources
Mesker Park Zoo and Botanic Garden
Hellbender Information, St. Louis Zoo
Purdue Partners with Indiana Zoos for Hellbender Conservation, Purdue Newsroom
I found this in my barn. Is it a Hellbender?, Purdue Got Nature?, Forestry and Natural Resources

Nick Burgmeier, Research Biologist and Extension Wildlife Specialist
Purdue University Department of Forestry and Natural Resources


Purdue Extension-Forestry and Natural Resources and Jennings County Soil and Water Conservation District would like to invite you to a white-tailed deer and wild turkey habitat management field day at Southeast Purdue Agricultural Center.  This workshop is open to anyone interested in learning more about managing habitat for deer turkey, or other wildlife.

Learn about:Turkey

  • Edge feathering for wildlife
  • Forest management for wildlife
    Tree felling & girdling demo
  • Managing oaks for acorn production
  • Marking & conducting a timber sale
  • Native grass establishment & management
    Prescribed fire demo (weather permitting)
  • ID important native plants for deer & turkey
  • Invasive plants & control methods
  • Technical & cost-share opportunities

There is no cost to attend this event and lunch will be provided (sponsored by Jennings County SCWCD). Be sure to register to be counted for the lunch.

For full details and how to register view:  Deer and Turkey Habitat Management Field Day (.0056 mb pdf).

Resources:
If You Native Grasses Look Like This, It’s Time for Management, Got Nature?, Forestry and Natural Resources
How to Build a Plastic Mesh Deer Exclusion Fence, The Education Store, Purdue Extension
How to Score Your White-tailed Deer, The Education Store, Purdue Extension
Truths and Myths about Wild Turkey, The Education Store, Purdue Extension
Bovine Tuberculosis in Wilde White-Tailed Deer, Purdue Extension-Forestry and Natural Resources

Moriah Boggess, Purdue Extension Wildlife Intern
Department of Forestry and Natural Resources

Jarred Brooke, Purdue Extension Wildlife Specialist
Department of Forestry and Natural Resources

Don Carlson, Purdue Forester
Department of Forestry and Natural Resources


Costs and Returns of Producing Hops in Established Tree PlantationsRapid growth in the craft brewing industry has created an opportunity for Hoosier farmers to start growing hops. Hops are the female flowers (also called cones) from the hop plant (Humulus lupulus). This high-value, perennial crop is used to flavor and stabilize beer. Now available in a free download is a new publication with a study focusing on growing hops along the fence lines of newly established forest stands. This publication titled Costs and Returns of Producing Hops in Established Tree Plantations is the first of two publications that analyzes the economic opportunities in forest farming for Indiana forest plantation owners. The economic analysis presented in this article is developed for two hops varieties, ‘Cascade’ and ‘Comet’, based on marketability and presumed adaption to low sunlight, respectively.

Additional Resources:
Costs and Returns of Producing Wild-Simulated Ginseng in Established Tree Plantations, The Education Store, Purdue Extension
Forest Improvement Handbook, The Education Store
The Nature of Teaching, Lesson Plans K-12, Purdue Extension
Hardwood Ecosystem Experiment – Sustaining Our Oak-Hickory Forests, The Education Store
Tree Pruning: What Do Trees Think?, The Education Store

Kim Ha, Research Assistant
Purdue Agricultural Economics

Other contributing authors: Dr. Shadi Atallah, Tamara Benjamin, Dr. Lori Hoagland, Lenny Farlee and Dr. Keith Woeste.


Purdue zipTrips are virtual electronic field trips provided by Purdue for students to get a glimpse into what makes Purdue one of the leading universities in the nation. Students engage with Purdue faculty and scientists through a live webcast, while traveling on a “virtual electronic field trip” of labs, greenhouses, and other interesting Purdue facilities. After each live event, the webcast is archived and can be viewed online. ZipTrips covers a variety of topics, including genetics, nutrition, diseases, climate change, plants, veterinary and more. Purdue FNR Dr. Jeff Dukes and Dr. Mike Jenkins are featured in the video above for zipTrips. Other members of Purdue FNR’s staff that have appeared on Purdue zipTrips are Dr. Rod Williams, Brian MacGowan and Dr. Marisol Sepulveda.

Classrooms all over the world have enjoyed zipTrips. Rated as one of their favorite episodes is the “We’re All Animals” showing a Purdue Veterinary Medicine equine lab with the horse “Whitey” exercising on the large treadmill. Sign up for zipTrips to have access to future trips, past trips and online resources.

Past zipTrips featuring FNR Faculty:
Plant Science: The Green Machine – Youtube, Purdue Agriculture
“It’s a Gene Thing!” – Youtube, Purdue Agriculture
A Week of Scientists – Youtube, Purdue Agriculture

Other Resources:
Past zipTrips Playlist – Youtube, Purdue Agriculture
Boiler Bytes – Purdue
Purdue Forestry and Natural Resources’ Playlist – Youtube, Purdue Agriculture

Purdue Agriculture

 


Students in Forestry and Natural Resources (FNR) continue to volunteer for Hands of the Future, Inc., a non-profit program whose mission is to help educate children about the outdoors and natural resources. As this program continues to grow, one of their dreams has been to find woods to create a children’s forest. To have a natural site that has been embellished upon with children’s needs in mind and to encourage outdoor play and adventures.

The students plan on transforming 18.8 acres of idle woods into Zonda’s Children’s Forest. The children’s forest will be composed of six main areas:

  1. A children’s garden, equipped with a greenhouse and kitchen, thHands of the Futureat’ll allow children to learn how to properly grow and cook food.
  2. An enclosed area dedicated to allowing children having fun and safe adventures.
  3. A viewing area for butterflies, birds and other organisms of the wild, allowing children to easily enjoy the life of the forest.
  4. A maze designed by sunflowers, where children can have fun and do problem-solving, while close to nature.
  5. A walk dedicated to viewing the owls and other organisms composing the forest.
  6. Another enclosed area of the woods for adventures; However, it’ll also contain tree houses, bridges and other fun additions for the children.

Donations:
Donations to help make Zonda’s Children’s Forest a reality can be made here. They have six months to raise $235,000 in order to purchase the woods.

Volunteers & Interns:
Older students and adults can apply to be a volunteer. Volunteers are always appreciated, no past experience necessary. If you love nature and kids you will enjoy this program. Internships are available for college students, contact Zonda Bryant.

Resources:
Hands of the Future, Inc.
Junior Nature Club

Zonda Bryant, Director
765.366.9126
director@hands-future.org

 


Check out the new publication entitled Benefits of Connecting with Nature now available in The Education Store!Benefits of Connecting with Nature, FNR-539-W

Times are constantly changing with the growth and integration of technology within society. As we become more and more reliant on technology for information and entertainment, we seem to be detached from many vital aspects of our world. People, especially children, are losing their touch with the outdoors. Recent reports show that children ages 6–11 spend an average of 28 hours per week watching television. The average amount of time children spent using mobile devices tripled between 2011–2013.

Natural environments have positive impacts on people’s mental health and well-being. Studies consistently show that natural settings link to much stronger developmental benefits for children.

This unit will help teachers explore student’s relationship between nature and mental health. It contains four 30-40 minutes activities: Emotion Vocabulary Exploration, Guided Imagery, Creative Writing and Exploring Nature with your Senses.

Resources:
The Nature of Teaching – Purdue Extension
Got Nature – Podcast, The Education Store
Appreciating Reptiles and Amphibians in Nature –The Education Store
Frogs and Toads of Indiana – The Education Store

Molly Hunt, Extension Educator, Delaware County
Purdue University Extension Health and Human Sciences

Katie Zuber, Extension Educator, Lawrence, Jackson, Monroe and Brown County
Purdue University Extension Health and Human Sciences

Lindsey Pedigo, Extension Educator, Howard County
Purdue University Extension Health and Human Sciences

Rod N Williams, Associate Head of Extension & Associate Professor of Wildlife Science
Purdue University Department of Forestry and Natural Resources

 


Posted on May 25th, 2017 in Forestry, How To, Safety | No Comments »

The end of the school year represents not only the beginning of summer but also the start of field season. Time spent out in the field can be fun, informative, and an opportunity to gather important data. Field data can also be difficult to gather as outdoor conditions are often unpredictable. Anyone expecting to do work out in the field must be prepared for anything. In addition to the likelihood of heat stress and the threat of diseases carried by insect assailants (i.e. ticks, mosquitoes), those in the field must prepare for events that come naturally with doing research outside of a controlled environment.

Packing an emergency bag before venturing into the field is one way to ensure that negative ramifications of any accidents are kept to a minimum or eliminated completely. Standard emergency supplies should accompany field researchers on every trip. The nature of the outing should also be considered since additional, more specialized, equipment may be needed in some areas. Typical emergency equipment needed for each foray into the wild includes:

  • Charged cell phone with an extra battery and a charger (stored in plastic bag with some petty cash)
  • Fully stocked first aid kit (large size with an array of bandages and wound wrapping materials) with specialized field supplies (fish hook removers, seasickness tablets, flare gun, mosquito net, etc.) and general forest supplies (sunscreen, poison ivy/oak/sumac cream, insect repellent)
  • Vehicle emergency kit (with vehicle operator’s manual and emergency blankets)
  • Non-perishable, easy to open food stuffs (i.e. peanut butter, beef jerky, granola bars)
  • Water (minimum of 1 gal / person / day of the trip plus an additional 3 days) and water purification tablets or filter devices
  • Plastic Ziploc bags for personal hygiene products (toilet paper, sanitizing wipes, feminine products), extra clothes including a brimmed hat, and electronic devices
  • Local guidebook and ability to identify hazardous plant and native wildlife species in the traversed field region
  • Flashlight (with extra batteries)
  • Two-way radio (if necessary to work alone in an isolated or dangerous area and check in regularly) and handheld weather station
  • Personal protective equipment (safety glasses/goggles, gloves, hard hat, sturdy boots, etc.)
  • Identification (photocopy of driver’s license, medical prescriptions and coverage information, and emergency contact information) for everyone in the field
  • Maps, compass, and GPS unit

Following this list is the first start to a safe and successful field season! Best of luck!

Resources:
Nature of Teaching-Health and Wellness, Purdue Extension
Benefits of Connecting with Nature
, The Education Store
Orphaned Wildlife, Got Nature?, Purdue Extension-FNR

Shaneka Lawson, USDA Forest Service/HTIRC Research Plant Physiologist/Adjunct Assistant Professor
Purdue University Department of Forestry and Natural Resources

Lenny Farlee, Sustaining Hardwood Extension Specialist
Purdue Department of Forestry and Natural Resources


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