Got Nature? Blog

Posted on November 13th, 2017 in Forestry, Gardening, Natural Resource Planning | No Comments »

A recent study in Costa Rica by scientists at Princeton University-Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and the University of Pennsylvania-Ecology & Biodiversity showed how agricultural waste could help successfully remediate barren tropical forest sites.

Orange Close Ups

A deal between an orange juice manufacturer and advisors for the Área de Conservación Guanacaste was struck that allowed 1,000 truckloads (12 metric tons) of orange peels and pulp to be unloaded on nutrient-poor soils dominated by invasive grass within one of Costa Rica’s national parks in the mid-1990s. The land was left to rest for sixteen years. Now, the forest has begun the lengthy process of regeneration and some secondary forest regeneration has been observed. The peels were spread over 3 ha (7 acres) and scientists measured an increase of 176% in aboveground biomass. The distinction between the orange-fertilized land and the unfertilized areas was pronounced. Orange-fertilized areas demonstrated more tree biomass and species diversity and richer soils than their counterparts.

Orange field change

To enlarge photo click on image. Photo credits: Tim Treuer, Daniel Janzen, Winnie Hallwachs, & Leland Werden.

This research shows what could happen when the environmental community and industry find a medium where they can work together to come up with problem solutions. Perhaps, in future, similar uses can be found for agricultural excess here in the United States.

References:
Treuer TLH, Choi JJ, Janzen DH, Hallwachs W, Peréz-Aviles D, Dobson AP, Powers JS, Shanks LC, Werden LK, Wilcove DS. (2017) Low-cost agricultural waste accelerates tropical forest regeneration. Restoration Ecology, DOI: 10.1111/rec.12565

Resources:
Indiana Forestry & Woodland Owners Association
Purdue Extension-Forestry and Natural Resources workshops
Forest Improvement Handbook, The Education Store, Purdue Extension resource center

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


Posted on October 4th, 2017 in Gardening, Got Nature for Kids, Wildlife | No Comments »

Wild animals have a dispersal period where young move on to new ground to establish their own home range. This is nature’s way of mixing the gene pool. It also allows for species to reoccupy small, isolated habitat patches. Late summer and early fall is a common time to see juvenile snakes because of dispersal.

Juvenile Northern Watersnake

Northern Watersnake (Photo provided by R. Dearing)

Snake identification questions are one of my most common that I receive from the public. Usually, people want to know if the snake is venomous or not. Most snakes in Indiana are not venomous. In fact, there are only four venomous species in Indiana. Their distributions are generally limited.

The snake pictured here to the right is a Northern Watersnake (Nerodia sipedon).  Photo and identification request was submitted to our “Ask an Expert” web submission by Mr. R. Dearing. While only about a foot long here, adults can reach several feet in length. Coloration in them is variable, but they typically have dark bands on a lighter tan or brown background. The bands are complete towards the head and fragment towards the tail. This little snake found its way into Mr. Dearing’s house. Fortunately, he was able to catch it and return it to the creek behind their house—which explains why it was there in the first place.

Resources:
Snakes and Lizards of Indiana, The Education Store, Purdue Extension
How can I tell if a snake is venomous, FAQs, Purdue Extension-Forestry and Natural Resources
Indiana Amphibian and Reptile ID Package, The Education Store, Purdue Extension
Ask An Expert, Purdue Extension-Forestry and Natural Resources

Brian MacGowan, Extension Wildlife Specialist
Department of Forestry & Natural Resources, Purdue University


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.

Brian MacGowan, Extension Wildlife Specialist
Department of Forestry & Natural Resources, Purdue University

Dan Shaver, Project Director and Forester
The Nature Conservancy


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, thChildren climbing on tree, Hands 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

 


Indiana Amphibian and Reptile ID PackageIf you or someone you know loves to learn about wildlife, especially reptiles and amphibians, then you will be interested in our new special offer package. We are offering our complete collection of reptile and amphibian field guides (4 softcover books) for 10% of the price of each individual book. These books cover all of the reptiles and amphibians that are found in the state of Indiana. They include detailed physical descriptions, distribution maps, and interesting information about the ecology of each species. All of the included books have been peer-reviewed by experts in the field of herpetology.

The Indiana Amphibian and Reptile ID Package can be purchased from the Purdue Education Store for $36.00.

Additional Resources, The Education Store, Purdue Extension:
Frogs and Toads of Indiana
Salamanders of Indiana
Snakes and Lizards of Indiana
Turtles of Indiana

More Resources Available:
Help the Hellbender, Purdue Extension
The Nature of Teaching, Lesson Plans K-12, Purdue Extension

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


‘Twas the day before Arbor Day, when all through the park
Not a creature was stirring, no chirp, squeak, or bark;
The birds were perched on the utility wires with care,
In hopes that many trees soon would be there;

All types of squirrels, gray, fox, and red;
Had visions of oak trees dancing in their head;
And mamma with her overalls, and I my work jeans,
Were prepared and ready to make the park green,

When out in the park there arose such a clatter,
I sprang to my window to see what was the matter.
Away out my door I flew like a flash,
Running to the crowd that was gathered ‘round the ash.

The dead looking tree with no leaves to show,
Gave a glimmer of midday through its branches to objects below,
When what to my wondering eyes came ‘round the corner with ease,
But a miniature truck and in the bed, eight tiny trees,

With a little old driver so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be Mayor Nick.
The trees looking so healthy and flourishing as they came,
He whistled, and shouted, and called them by name:

“White Oak! Red Cedar! Silver Maple and Black Cherry!
Cottonwood, Black Walnut, American Beech and Hackberry!
It is time to grab your gloves, shovels, and spades!” He did call,
“Now plant away! Plant away! Plant away all!”

With his blueprints out he started to show,
Where in the park each tree would go;
So excited and anxious with all my gear I flew
To the truck full of trees, and Mayor Nicolas too.

And then, in a moment, I heard on the road
The roaring of more trucks with trees overflowed.
As I lifted my head, and was turning around,
The city forester and many arborists came with a bound.

Mayor Nick had called in the professionals to help us out,
So we all would understand what this project was all about.
“Before we start planting, I want to explain
the benefits from these trees the city will gain!

Trees increase property value and improve living conditions.
They also relieve stress and help with CO2 emissions.
Better air and water quality, and sound barriers, too,
And the best part is the beautiful new view!”

After Mayor Nick’s speech, the city forester stepped in
“Whose ready to plant some trees?” He said with a grin.
The crowd cheered and the project was now on its way
Making the park beautiful and green in honor of Arbor Day.

First thing we had to do, was remove the dead trees.
The park was originally filled with ash, which was a feast for EAB.
The arborists cut all the trees down one by one.
There was so much help, in no time the cleanup was done.

As we finally started planting, the professionals came around
Making sure we were putting the trees properly into the ground.
I learned that you cut and remove only 1/3-1/2 of the B&B,
Then, you check the roots, the most important part of the tree.

If the tree has spiraling roots, all four sides must be sawed,
So the tree’s way of nutrient uptake and anchorage is not flawed.
It is also important that the root flare is not below the soil line,
Many people tend to bury it, thinking their tree will be fine.

Before planting your tree, consider the tree’s full-grown size.
Improper planting can cause the tree to die otherwise.
I’m so glad I decided to volunteer today
I learned so much about planting trees the right way!

After countless hours of hard work and sweat,
Mayor Nick’s goals for the park were finally met.
He thanked everyone, and as he drove out of sight,
He shouted “Happy Arbor Day to all, and to all a good night!”

Arbor Day Paper, FNR-445 Urban Forestry Topics
Author: Erin Hipskind, BS 2016

Arbor Day is an annual observance that celebrates the role of trees in our lives and promotes tree planting and care. As a formal holiday, it was first observed in 1872, in Nebraska, but tree planting festivals are as old as civilization. The tree has appeared throughout history and literature as the symbol of life. Arbor Day celebrations for 2017 is on Saturday, April 29th. Check out activities around your area: Purdue Extension County Offices, Indiana Department of Natural Resources or Tippecanoe Soil & Water Conservation District.

Other resources:
Tree Installation: Process and Practices, The Education Store-Purdue Extension resource center
Tree Planting Part 1: Choosing a Tree – video, The Education Store
Tree Planting Part 2: Planting Your Tree – video, The Education Store

Lindsey Purcell, Urban Forestry Specialist
Purdue University, Department of Forestry and Natural Resources


Posted on March 13th, 2017 in Forestry, Forests and Street Trees, Gardening, Plants | Comments Off on Professional Landscape Management School

Program Impacts identity

Issue

Professional arborists, horticulturists, including lawn and tree care companies, garden centers, and landscapers, require training in proper management techniques and pest control to better serve their customers and protect the environment.

 

What Has Been Done

The Professional Landscape Management School is a two-day workshop offered every winter to local commercial lawn and tree care companies, landscapers, nurseries, grounds managers, and garden centers. The topics chosen for the program are based on current trends and needs. I located speakers, created the program schedule and brochure, and advertised it to over 1000 professionals, using both print mail and email.

Results

  • Over 160 professional horticulturists attended the Professional Landscape Management School in 2015. Out of this number, 49 returned completed surveys. Some of the notable results:Purdue University Pickett Park landscape
    1. Did you get your money’s worth from attending this year’s school? All forty-nine attendees replied – Yes.
    2. Do you think that you as an individual will benefit in the coming year because of your attending the 2015 Professional Landscape Management School? 100% said yes.
    3. Do you think that your company will benefit in the coming year because of your attending the 2015 Professional Landscape Management? 100% said yes.
  • What horticultural practices do you think you will change in the coming year, based on what you learned at the 2015 Professional Landscape Management School?
    1. Plan on adding more native plants to my installations and designs.
    2. Will be more aware of honeybees when selecting and using pesticides.
    3. Tree Risk Assessment process can save lives and reduce my liability. Will definitely take further training in this subject.
    4. Will use information from Landscape Plants to Save Time and Money topic to reduce our campus manpower needs and budget requests.
    5. My staff and I have more knowledge to better serve our customers.

Purdue Commercial Nursery & Professional Landscape 


What comes to mind when you think of Purdue Extension? Agriculture and natural resources? Maybe Indiana 4-H? Right on both counts, but perhaps you don’t know how #PurdueExtension helps build health coalitions statewide. Or how we’re revitalizing economic opportunity in Indiana’s rural regions, helping immigrants acclimate to life in our state, or offering parents programs that build confidence and strengthen families. Learn about all of this and more in the 2016 Purdue Extension Annual Report!

Resources:
Purdue Extension Annual Report – 2016
Purdue Extension Home Page
What is Purdue Extension? – Purdue Extension Video

ExtAnnualReportImage

 

Jason Henderson, Director Cooperative Extension Service & Associate Dean
Purdue Extension


This comprehensive written abstract titled Tools for Staging and Managing Emerald Ash Borer in the Urban Forest shares research gathered in an eight-year period with a variety of management strategies.

Advances in control can help municipal foresters save ash trees from emerald ash borer (EAB) [Agrilus planipennis (Fairmaire)]
in urban forests. Although ash trees of any size can be protected from this pest, cities often do not implement programs because they fail to recognize and act o incipient populations of EAB. In this study, researchers develop a model for predicting ash mortality over an eight-year period, and validated with data from the removal of >14,000 ash trees killed by EAB in Fort Wayne, Indiana, U.S. researchers then developed a sampling scheme to help foresters map their ash trees along the expected progression of ash decline. This model was then used to modify a web-based EAB cost calculator that compares discounted annual and cumulative costs of implementing a variety of management strategies. It was determined that strategies that most heavily relied on saving ash trees were less expensive and produced a larger forest than those strategies that mostly removed and replaced ash trees. Ratios of total discounted costs to discounted cumulative benefits of strategies that saved most ash trees were over two-thirds lower than strategies of proactive tree removal and replacement. Delaying implementation of an ash management program until damage would be visible and more obvious to the community (Year 5 of the model) decreased the cost–benefit ratio by <5%. Thus, delays that rely on the abundance of locally damaged trees to bolster community support do not necessarily diminish the utility of implementing a control strategy.

For full article: Tools for Staging and Managing Emerald Ash Borer

Resources:
Tree Doctor App, The Education Store
Invasive Species – Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IDNR)
Ask an Expert – Purdue Extension-Forestry and Natural Resources
Indiana Invasive Species Council – Includes: IDNR, Purdue Department of Entomology and Professional Partners
Great Lakes Early Detection Network App (GLEDN) – The Center for Invasive Species & Ecosystem Health
National Invasive Species Awareness Week: February 27-March 3, 2017
Invasive Species Week a reminder to watch for destructive pests, Purdue entomologist says – Purdue Agriculture News

Cliff Sadof, Professor
Purdue University Department of Entomology

Matt Ginzel, Associate Professor
Purdue University Department of Forestry and Natural Resources & Department of Entomology


Program Impacts identity

Issue

Woodlands provide a multitude of environmental (e.g., carbon sequestration, enhance water quality, wildlife habitat), economic (e.g., timber, wood products manufacturing, tourism), and social (e.g., recreation, aesthetics) benefits to Indiana residents. The sustainability of these benefits is strongly tied to stability of the resource. In Indiana, 75 percent of the 4.65 million acres of forestland is owned by families. Actions they take on their property can impact the benefits woodlands provide all Indiana residents. However, many do not understand available options or sources of assistance.

What Has Been Done

Indiana Woodland StewardThe Department of Forestry and Natural Resources, in partnership with many other organizations, helps produce and mail over 31,000 copies of the Indiana Woodland Steward to woodland owners three times each year. This 16-page, two-color publication includes in-depth articles on forest stewardship and health, invasive species and pests, wildlife habitat management, economics, and more.

Results

Subscribers owned more woods (71.6 ac) for a longer tenure (33 years) than the average woodland owner in Indiana based on data from the National Woodland Owner Survey. As a group, they were also more active managers based on the proportion enrolled in assistance programs and who had a written stewardship plan. Fifty-four percent regularly utilized information from the Woodland Steward. In addition, 51 percent of respondents have implemented at least one practice they read about from The Woodland Steward, potentially impacting an estimated 1.2 million acres of forestland. His use of print media to communicate with woodland owners could be considered expensive, but clearly a large number of woodland owners regularly read and utilize the information making the average investment per landowner much lower.


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