Got Nature? Blog

 

When encountering turtles, it is important to leave them alone to ensure their safety in their natural habitat. Several of Indiana’s turtle species are illegal to takeEastern box turtle or possess, including the Eastern box turtle (pictured right). Unless a turtle needs assistance crossing a road, it should never be picked up or moved.

What should be kept in mind if you encounter a turtle who may need help?

People often encounter nesting females on roads during May and June. If a female is taken out of the wild, she can no longer add to the population.

Turtles are long-lived species and have significant care requirements. Captive turtles cannot be released into the wild. They can introduce diseases or parasites to the wild population, and they will likely not survive.

You can help turtles cross the road. Always move the turtle across the direction that it was heading.

Any turtle collected from the wild requires either a legal license or permit and all reptile eggs and endangered species or species of special concern are protected.

View the resources below on reptiles and amphibians along with Indiana’s regulations answering any questions you may have for collection, handling and conservation efforts.

Resources:
Turtles of Indiana, The Education Store, Purdue Extension’s resource center
Snakes and Lizards of Indiana, The Education Store
Reptile and Amphibian Regulations, Indiana Department of Natural Resources
Eastern Box Turtle Information, Indiana Department of Natural Resources

Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IDNR)


Eastern red-backed salamanders.The Purdue Extension-Nature of Teaching has recently released a new publication through The Education Store. The Nature of Teaching provides free Indiana Academic Standard-based lesson plans for students in grades second through sixth to guide them on how to help maintain a healthy environment.

Understanding adaptations for aquatic amphibians can help humans learn more about healthy ecosystems. Through this educational unit, students will be able to explain how amphibian adaptations benefit survival, describe the importance of Eastern Hellbender adaptations, and identify impacts that humans have on aquatic amphibians.

These packed lesson plans are great resources for school teachers, parents, 4-H leaders and other natural resource educators. View the Adaptations for Aquatic Amphibians for the latest installment in the Nature of Teaching resources. See below for other related publications, lesson plans and games.

Resources
Frogs and Toads of Indiana, The Education Store, Purdue Extension
Salamanders of Indiana, The Education Store
Snakes and Lizards of Indiana, The Education Store
Turtles of Indiana, The Education Store
Help the Hellbender, Purdue Extension
Hellbender Havoc Game, Google Play, Hellbender Havoc Game – Apple iTunes Store
Hellbender Decline, Purdue Extension-FNR Youtube
The Nature of Teaching, Lesson Plans K-12, Purdue Extension

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


Woodland Steward PublicationThe Indiana Woodland Steward Homepage has just been updated with a new newsletter and is available to view on the website. The Indiana Woodland Steward Newsletter is 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 hardwood strategy, terrestrial invasive species rule, tick-borne diseases, spring time woodland evaluations, 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:
Indiana Woodland Steward, IWS Newsletter Homepage
Hardwood Ecosystem Experiment, Purdue University FNR
Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Indiana DNR Homepage

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


Posted on April 29th, 2019 in Nature of Teaching, Wildlife | No Comments »

FNRStudentsElemSchool

Purdue University was awarded funding through The National Science Foundation to provide a free two-day professional development workshop for high school educators to learn how to use standards-based Ecotoxicology and Environmental Health curriculum resources available through the Purdue Extension program The Nature of Teaching.

This FREE workshop will be June 27-28 from 9am-5pm at the John S. Wright Forestry Center 1007 N. 725 W. West Lafayette, IN 47904.

Workshop participants will earn 16 PGP points, receive a binder or resources, lesson materials, receive a $350 stipend upon teaching lessons in the classroom and submitting student data, plus funding for travel, meals, and lodging.

Learn and receive resources about disease ecology including: parasite diversity research activity, modeling disease with SIR models, trematode-tadpole infection activity, environmental health/ecotoxicology, field sampling of water quality, daphnia salinity experiment and snail eutrophication experiment.

See the 2019 Nature of Teaching Ecotoxicology Workshop Flyer for details.

Registration is on a first-come basis and closes May 6th. Register here at our Nature of Teaching Qualtrics Registration.

Visit the Nature of Teaching website to view other upcoming events: 2019 Nature of Teaching Workshops and Conferences.

Resources
National Science Foundation, Official Home Website
The Nature of Teaching – Purdue Extension

Rebecca Busse, Nature of Teaching Program Coordinator
Purdue Forestry and Natural Resources


Posted on April 29th, 2019 in Forestry, How To, Wildlife | No Comments »

Forest trees

Join us for the 2019 ACF National Conference in French Lick, Indiana, June 22-25.

This week long conference provides you with numerous programs to attend.

Friday – Practice of Consulting Forestry
Saturday – Become a Natural Resources Conservation Service Technical Service Provider
Sunday – American Tree Farm System Inspector Training, Integrating Climate Change into Your Work, Spotlight on Technology, The Psychology of Success and Accomplishment, President’s Buffet
Monday – Inaugural Forester 5k Fun Run, Breakfast with Exhibitors, Technical Session & Awards Luncheon
Tuesday – Field Tour, Closing Party
Wednesday – Post Conference Activity – A Day at the Lake

And much more! Please view the 2019 National Conference Registration flyer for a detailed schedule of events and registration information.

Mike Saunders, associate professor of ecology and natural resources with Purdue Forestry and Natural Resources, will be sharing research projects and the ten year results for the Hardwood Ecosystem Experiment (HEE).

Resources
The Hardwood Ecosystem Experiment: 2006-2016 Study, The Education Store, Purdue Extension resource center
The Hardwood Ecosystem Experiment: Indiana Forestry and Wildlife, The Education Store
The Great Clearcut Controversy, The Education Store
Forest Improvement Handbook, The Education Store
A Landowner’s Guide to Sustainable Forestry: Part 1: Sustainable Forestry – What Does It Mean For Indiana?​, The Education Store

Association of Consulting Foresters


Posted on April 18th, 2019 in Webinar, Wildlife | No Comments »

Barn owl nest cam

Barn owls are an endangered species in Indiana, mostly due to habitat loss. Barn owls need large areas of pasture, hayfields, grasslands, or wet meadows that have populations of meadow voles, their favorite food. Indiana DNR Continues to work with the public to place nest boxes where suitable habitat is available. The DNR Division of Fish & Wildlife’s Wildlife Diversity Program has placed more than 300 barn owl nest boxes since 1984. Properly designed nest boxes offer superior places for nesting and roosting and are readily accepted by the endangered owl.

Have you viewed the barn owl webcam? The barn owls are back and nesting season is well underway. The female recently laid two eggs. Barn owls lay six eggs on average, so check back to see if she lays more. This year, the first egg was laid on March 19th. Check out the barn owl webcam and see what our barn owl friends are doing.

You can help by donating to the Nongame Fund to increase nest box sites and help more than 750 nongame and endangered species throughout Indiana.

Resources
Barn Owl, Indiana Department of Natural Resources
Barn Owl Nest Webcam, Indiana Department of Natural Resources

Indiana DNR


Posted on April 15th, 2019 in Forestry, Plants, Wildlife, Woodlands | No Comments »

Tree ShirtThe Indiana Tree Project has long been dedicated to expanding Indiana’s hardwood forests. They have partnered up with Natural Resources Foundation and the Division of Forestry to celebrate Arbor Day and Earth Day and help reforest Indiana. Limited edition tree shirts are now being sold. For each shirt purchased, two trees will be planted and you will be given an official tree certificate with a unique tree ID. This ID is used to pull the coordinates for the acre where the tree will be planted.  The types of trees planted are native Indiana hardwoods and typically upland and bottomland oaks, walnut, black cherry, and other species that are in need of restoration. Please visit the Indiana Tree Project to learn more about how trees help wildlife, prevent soil erosion, and support our state’s largest agricultural industry.

Purchase your limited edition tree shirt and help restore Indiana’s forests today.

If you are interested in participating in the next public tree planting, please email champton@dnr.IN.gov to receive updates.

Resources
Indiana Tree Project, The Indiana Tree Project
Hardwood Ecosystem Experiment: 100 year Project – The First 10 years, Got Nature? Blog Post
The Origins of Earth and Arborist Day, Got Nature? Blog Post

Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IDNR)


Tick INsiders

Scientists from Purdue’s Tick INsiders program, Lauren Hagen (left) and Maria Muriga (right), drag and check tick cloths at Tippecanoe River State Park in 2018. The program is looking for high school students and citizen scientists interested in helping with tick collections this year. (Tick INsiders photo)

Purdue University’s Tick INsiders program is looking for Indiana high school students and other Indiana residents willing to roll down their sleeves to get involved in a citizen science project.

Cate Hill, a Purdue professor of entomology, leads this effort to analyze the bacteria and viruses in Indiana’s ticks to build an understanding of what they are carrying and how that might impact human health. To do that, she needs volunteers to collect ticks from all over the state.

This year the Tick INsiders program will provide training for up to 50 students. Citizen scientists are also now welcome to collect and send ticks to Hill’s lab.

“It’s really important work. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that human cases of tick-borne diseases doubled from 2004 to 2016. If we’re going to get a handle on that and develop strategies for reducing tick bites and treating patients, we need to know where our ticks are and what our ticks are carrying around inside them,” Hill said. “That means we need a lot of ticks, and we need help collecting them.”

Three species of ticks – the blacklegged or deer tick, the lone star tick and the American dog tick – are found in Indiana. These ticks can transmit multiple pathogens, nine of which are known to cause human illnesses, though not all have been identified in Indiana. The Indiana State Department of Health reports more than 100 cases of Lyme disease each year and dozens of cases of Ehrlichiosis, anaplasmosis and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

Research suggests that ticks can carry a cocktail of microbes – bacteria and viruses – that can sicken bite victims and may work in concert to affect the severity of an illness and human immune response.

“Not all tick bites are the same. We don’t know what is passed from a tick to a human each time someone is bitten, which means that health care professionals may need to consider multiple tick-borne pathogens in a person who has been bitten by a tick,” Hill said. “This program improves our knowledge so that we can improve our outcomes.”

Indiana residents interested in participating can collect ticks and send them to Hill’s lab for analysis. Videos on safe and proper collection techniques, as well as how to send ticks will be at Tick INsiders.

For full article, see Purdue Agriculture News.

Resources

Ticks 101: A Quick Start Guide to Indiana Tick Vectors, The Education Store – Extension Resource
The Biology and Medical Importance of Ticks in Indiana, The Education Store
Mosquitoes, Purdue Extension Entomology
One Small Bite: One Large Problem, Got Nature?, Purdue Extension-Forestry and Natural Resources
Mosquitoes and ticks – little pests carry big risks, Got Nature?

Catherine A Hill, Professor of Entomology/Vector Biology
Purdue University Department of Entomology


Forest management in the eastern United States is faced with many modern challenges. Professional foresters have an innovative set of management options for the maintenance of healthy forest ecosystems. But some options raise public objections when applied to public lands (e.g., types of timber harvest, prescribed fire) and the effects of some management options on forests and their native inhabitants are poorly understood. Moreover, forest lands in the eastern and Midwestern United States primarily are in small privately-owned parcels that change ownership relatively frequently. These lands are often managed for short-term financial gains rather than long-term sustainability.

As populations of some forest organisms decline, restrictions on landowners may increase because species become classified as endangered or threatened (e.g., the Indiana bat), while increasing populations of other species (white-tailed deer, invasive plants) create economic and ecological challenges. These problems are compounded by the lack of scientifically rigorous research on the overall impacts of forest management on the effected ecosystems and their components. To address this set of issues, the Hardwood Ecosystem Experiment (HEE), a long-term, large-scale experimental study of forest management and its impacts, was initiated in 2006.

Many of Indiana’s forests have been dominated by oak and hickory trees for thousands of years. The historical conditions that shaped today’s forests have changed, altering forest composition and leading land managers to wonder what can be done to maintain oak and hickory forests for the future.  The Hardwood Ecosystem Experiment: 2006-2016 provides an overview of findings for the first 10 years of the HEE, 100 year project.

To learn more about this 100 year forest management plan and see its impacts, check out the Hardwood Ecosystem Experiment website.

If you would like to start receiving “The HEE Update,” please email Charlotte Owings, the HEE project coordinator, at freemac@purdue.edu. If you do not have an email address, you may still receive the newsletter by regular postal mail – call Charlotte Owings at 765-494-1472.

Resources:
The Hardwood Ecosystem Experiment website
The Hardwood Ecosystem Experiment: 2006-2016, The Education Store, Purdue Extension resource center
The Hardwood Ecosystem Experiment: Indiana Forestry and Wildlife, The Education Store
Hardwood Ecosystem Experiment – Wildlife Responses to Timber Harvesting, The Education Store
Hardwood Ecosystem Experiment – Sustaining Our Oak-Hickory Forests, The Education Store
Hardwood Ecosystem Experiment – Forest Birds, Purdue Extension-FNR YouTube Playlist
Invasive Plants: Impact on Environment and People, The Education Store
The Great Clearcut Controversy, The Education Store

Charlotte Owings, Hardwood Ecosystem Experiment (HEE) Project Coordinator
Purdue Forestry and Natural Resources


BoxTrap

Empty cage trap with door open. Image taken by Doug Beckers and courtesy of flickr.com.

Having raccoon, groundhog, or other bothersome wildlife problems? Thinking about setting traps to catch these vermin? There is much to consider when using traps, please take a look at the latest pub before setting any box traps around your property.

Wildlife specialists Brian MacGowan and Rick Shadel have collaborated to bring you this new publication: Considerations for Trapping Nuisance Wildlife with Box Traps.

Homeowners commonly set traps to capture and remove wildlife from their home or yard. Setting a box trap improperly can decrease their effectiveness and even lead to safety risks to both people and wildlife. The purpose of this publication is to 1) outline the legal and ethical factors homeowners should consider before setting a trap, 2) review the basic procedure for effectively trapping wildlife, and 3) help you to determine the fate of the captured animal.

If you have a serious, dangerous, or a nuisance wildlife issue, you may want to consider hiring a professional. Consider reading this publication before deciding whether or not you need to hire a professional: Selecting a Nuisance Wildlife Control Professional.

Resources
Preventing Wildlife Damage – Do You Need a Permit? – The Education Store, Purdue Extension resource center
Selecting a Nuisance Wildlife Control Professional, The Education Store
How to Construct a Scent Station, The Education Store
Question: How do I properly relocate raccoons from my attic?, Got Nature? Blog, Purdue Extension FNR
Nuisance Wildlife – Indiana Department of Natural Resources

Brian MacGowan, Wildlife Extensions Specialist
Purdue Forestry and Natural Resources


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