Got Nature? Blog

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


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.


  • 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!

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



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

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


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.


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.

LeavesThe display of color we enjoy each fall is explained by understanding plant pigments, the physiology and anatomy of leaves, and the influence of climate and seasonal weather conditions. Fall weather conditions favoring formation of bright red autumn color are warm sunny days followed by cool but not freezing nights.

Check out the Why Leaves Change Color publication for the answer along with other hardwood tree information.

Fifty Trees of the Midwest App for the iPhone, The Education Store
Native Trees of the Midwest, The Education Store
Shrubs of Indiana CD: Their Identification and Uses, The Education Store
Shrubs and Woody Vines of Indiana and the Midwest: Identification, Wildlife Values and Landscaping Use, The Education Store
Trees of Indiana CD, The Education Store

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

Ginseng Pub PictureForest farming in North America is becoming a popular practice that provides short-term income for owners of new forest plantations while their trees reach maturity. This income diversification is particularly relevant for many of the Indiana hardwood plantations planted in the last decade, but will not fulfill their economic potential until 60–70 years from establishment. This free download publication titled Costs and Returns of Producing Wild-Simulated Ginseng in Established Tree Plantations, FNR-530-W, is the second in a two-part series aimed at analyzing economic opportunities in forest farming for Indiana forest plantation owners. The first study explores growing hops along the tree line of newly established forest stands, while this second study investigates producing American ginseng in older (20- to 30-year-old) forest plantations.

Costs and Returns of Producing Wild-Simulated Ginseng in Established Tree Plantations, The Education Store
Energy Requirements for Various Tillage-Planting Systems, The Education Store
Home Gardner’s Guide, The Education Store
Common Tree and Shrub Pests of Indiana, The Education Store
Planting Forest Trees and Shrubs in Indiana, The Education Store

Kim Ha, Research Assistant
Purdue Agricultural Economics

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

Posted on October 28th, 2015 in Gardening, Plants | No Comments »

Fall ColorsThis year’s dry spell has been pretty hard on our plants, leaving them vulnerable to drying out over the winter, when the ground is frozen and they cannot receive moisture from the soil. It is important that we prepare our plants, especially young ones planted this year, by continuing to water them throughout the fall.

Extension Consumer Horticulturist B. Rosie Lerner recommends watering our plants every 7-10 days to counter the dry conditions and prepare for winter. To learn more, check out her Purdue Extension article “Water Now to Minimize Winter Injury“.

Water Now to Minimize Winter Injury – Purdue Extension
Preparing the Garden for Winter – Purdue University Consumer Horticulture
Autumn Garden Calendar – The Education Store, Purdue Extension Resource Center
Effects of Cold Weather on Horticultural Plants in Indiana – The Education Store
Winter Storage of Geranium, Canna, Gladiolus, Caladium, and Begonia – The Education Store

B. Rosie Lerner, Consumer Horticulturist
Purdue Extension

​The cicadas are back. After Brood XXIII of the 13-year periodic cicadas emerged for a couple weeks this June, we had around a month of relative quiet as crickets, frogs, and other nighttime wildlife provided us with typical sounds of the summer.

Annual Cicada

Photo credit: Aaron Doenges

Now, as the annual cicadas emerge with calls as loud as 100 decibels, the outdoors is noisy with insect calls once again. Annual cicadas are also known as dog-day cicadas due to their arrival coinciding with Sirius, the dog star, being visible at sunrise. They are green and black in color, in contrast to orange and black periodic cicadas. These insects spend 2-4 years in the ground feeding on sap from tree roots, but due to staggering emergence schedules, some of them come out every late summer.

​An interesting fact about dog-day cicadas is that they are one of folklore legend’s predictors of weather. There are several age-old observations that have been used to estimate weather over the years. For example, oak leaves reaching the size of a squirrel’s ear is known to be the perfect time to plant corn. A common one you are surely familiar with is Groundhog’s Day, February 2nd, when the sighting of clouds when a groundhog emerges from its hole predicts spring weather coming six weeks before it would be if the weather was sunny. Consider dog-day cicadas the anti-groundhog. The passed-down warning is that after the first call of the dog-day cicadas, there will be six weeks till frost. So enjoy the weather while you can! The cicadas are out, and if they are to be believed, cold weather is on the way.

To read more, check out Professor of Entomology Tom Turpin‘s On Six Legs column “Cicada Weather Predictors“.

Cicada Weather Predictors – On Six Legs, Purdue Extension
Large Brood of Periodical Cicadas Return After Thirteen Years – Got Nature?
On Six Legs Archive – Purdue Extension
Annual Cicadas (Dog-Day Cicadas) – Missouri Department of Conservation
Does the Song of Dog-Day Cicadas Predict the First Frost? – About Education

Tom Turpin, Professor of Entomology
Purdue University

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