Got Nature? Blog

An Introduction to Trees of Indiana publication, 4-H-15-80A

Trees are one of Indiana’s great natural resources. Professor T.E. Shaw, one of the first Indiana Extension foresters, wanted to make sure young Hoosiers, beginners in the field of forestry and tree enthusiasts alike had an educational resource to help them learn the names and identify local trees.

Shaw updated Charles C. Deam’s highly technical Trees of Indiana, which was first published in 1911, putting out an update for the 4-H forestry handbook in 1949. A second edition came out in 1950 and another revision was completed just before Shaw’s death in 1956 and published as “Fifty Common Trees of Indiana” through the Indiana Department of Conservation.

The publication, which utilizes simple methods and user-friendly language, has become a common resource many place in their backpacks before beginning an outdoor adventure.

The 1956 publication has been used for decades by 4-H, FFA and many other classroom and outdoor education programs as an introduction to tree identification for Indiana youth. Nearly 70 years later, the publication will be reintroduced as “An Introduction to Trees of Indiana,” with additional trees added to the resource along with updates of the original species. An Introduction to Trees of Indiana was a collaboration of experts from the Purdue Department of Forestry and Natural Resources (FNR), Indiana 4-H Youth Development and the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.

Add your copy of this new book to your library by visiting the Purdue Extension resource center, The Education Store: An Introduction to Trees of Indiana, product code: 4-H-15-80A.

Other resources:
Fifty Trees of the Midwest App for the iPhone, The Education Store, Purdue Extension resource center
Native Trees of the Midwest, The Education Store
Shrubs and Woody Vines of Indiana and the Midwest, The Education Store
ID That Tree, Playlist, Subscribe to Purdue Extension – Forestry and Natural Resources YouTube Channel
A Woodland Management Moment, Playlist, Purdue Extension – FNR YouTube Channel
Investing in Indiana Woodlands, The Education Store
Forest Improvement Handbook, The Education Store

Tony Carrell, 4-H Youth Development Extension Specialist
Purdue Extension 4-H Youth Development

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

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


Cicada on rocks.The interdisciplinary team behind The Brood X Cicada Outreach in the spring and summer of 2021 has been selected as the recipients of the Purdue Cooperative Extension Specialists’ Association (PUCESA) Team Award.

The Team Award recognizes innovative Extension programming by a team of specialists and their allied partners.

The cicada team, led by exotic forest pest educator Dr. Elizabeth Barnes, created a website, videos, social media posts, citizen science projects and more to educate the public about 17-year cicadas to prevent panic by framing the emergence as a wonder to be enjoyed and not a plague to be endured.

Cicada information ranged from myth busting – sharing that cicadas do not bite people or cause long-term harm to trees and are not “a plague of locusts,”-  to general identification information, tree health, and human and animal health information related to the emergence. In addition, the team produced a poster illustrating cicadas and look-alike insects, shared jewelry and art projects, and even put on a cicada cookie decorating contest in conjunction with the Virtual Bug Bowl event.

“The Cicada Team anticipated the need for solid information for the public well in advance of the emergence of the 17-year periodical cicada,” Tom Creswell, Director of the Plant and Pest Diagnostic Laboratory, said in a letter of supporting the team’s nomination. “They did an amazing job in creating an engaging and information packed website, complete with identification aids, cicada related children’s activities, fruit tree protection information and offered a newsletter signup for more information. This allowed us to much more easily field questions related to the cicada emergency and allowed us to point to Purdue generated information with confidence in the accuracy.”

The team included personnel from the departments of Entomology, Forestry and Natural Resources, and Horticulture and Landscape Architecture as well as Purdue Extension educators, in order to craft specific messaging for nursery crop producers, foresters, fruit producers, landscapers and homeowners.

The team’s website became a source of information for the public and media as well as extension educators across the state, introducing the insect and preventing panic spraying of insecticides or the hiring of contractors selling false promises of protection. The site had nearly 23,000 unique views, while videos deployed by the team on Facebook and YouTube were viewed more than 12,000 times. The related social media campaign reached nearly 85,000 individuals.

More than 30 local and national news outlets ranging from the Indianapolis Star and South Bend Tribune to NBC, CBS, ABC, NPR, Disney Plus and National Geographic picked up on the buzz created by the cicada team. Barnes conducted 47 media interviews herself, while many other local extension educators and specialists also gave interviews to various outlets armed with information from the Cicada website.

Full article > > >

Resources:
Emergence of the 17-year Cicada Website, Purdue Extension – Entomology
Cicada Activity for Kids, Purdue Extension – Entomology
Cicada and Their Lookalikes Poster, Purdue Extension – Entomology
17 Ways to Make the Most of the 17-year Cicada Emergence, Purdue College of Agriculture
Ask an Expert: Cicada Emergence Video, Got Nature? Blog, Purdue Extension-FNR
Periodical Cicada in Indiana, The Education Store, Purdue Extension resource center
Cicada Killers, The Education Store
Zombie Cicadas Video, Bug Bowl 2021
Subscribe to Purdue Extension – Forestry and Natural Resources YouTube Channel

Wendy Mayer, FNR Communications Coordinator
Purdue University Department of Forestry and Natural Resources

Elizabeth Barnes, Exotic Forest Pest Educator
Purdue University Department of Entomology


Posted on October 25th, 2021 in Got Nature for Kids, How To, Wildlife | No Comments »

Sandhill Cranes stopped at Jasper-Pulaski Fish and Wildlife Area during fall migration. Photo: Indiana DNR

Sandhill Cranes stopped at Jasper-Pulaski Fish and Wildlife Area during fall migration. Photo: Indiana DNR

MyDNR : Sandhill cranes can be seen at Jasper-Pulaski Fish & Wildlife Area from late September through December. Crane numbers peak in mid-November. Cranes return to the property about an hour before sunset to socialize and settle down for the night, offering excellent views and great lighting for photos.

Large flocks of sandhill cranes can be seen at Jasper-Pulaski Fish & Wildlife Area from mid-October through mid-December. Crane numbers peak in late November or early December.

Make sure you check out the Indiana Department of Natural Resources – Fish and Wildlife Sandhill Crane Fall Migration web page as it shares best day to view, best time to view, best location to view, viewing tips and more.

Resources:
International Crane Foundation
Sandhill Crane Migration Season is Upon Us, Purdue Extension – Forestry and Natural Resources (FNR)
Considerations for Trapping Nuisance Wildlife with Box Traps, Purdue Extension – FNR

Indiana Department of Natural Resources


NOTAwardBannerCalling all teachers and parents: Do you need some new ideas on how to get students out in nature or teach them science lessons?

We’ve got you covered with our Nature of Teaching program. We’ve created more than 40 sneak peek videos that introduce you to our lesson plans, offering a quick way for teachers and other K-12 leaders to view the lessons as well as the related activities.

Many of the lesson plans meet state specifications for Next Generation Science Standards and/or Core Standards, while also offering informal curriculum items and fun activities for all K-12 leaders.

Sneak Peek Video Set Up on Web

The Nature of Teaching program offers three areas of formal and informal activity-based curricula centered around getting youth outside: wildlife, health and wellness, and food waste.

Sneak Peeks videos include topics ranging from producers, consumers and natural resources and food waste from farm to fork, to exploring nature with your senses and emotional vocabulary exploration, to trees of the Midwest and healthy water/happy home.

Subscribe to the Nature of Teaching YouTube Channel for more Wildlife, Food Waste, and Health and Wellness information.

Resources
Nature of Teaching Website
Nature of Teaching Youtube Channel
Nature of Teaching Program Receives Environmental Education Award, College of Agriculture, Purdue University
Resourceful Animal Relationships, The Education Store, Purdue Extension resource center
The Nature of Teaching: Food Waste Solutions, The Education Store
Benefits of Connecting with Nature, The Education Store

Rod N Williams, Professor of Wildlife Science
Purdue University Department of Forestry and Natural Resources


NOTAwardBannerThe Nature of Teaching, a Purdue Extension signature program, was honored as the third place finisher in the central region for the Environmental Education Award presented by the National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Science (NEAFCS).
The Environmental Education Award recognizes NEAFCS members for outstanding educational programs conducted for families and/or communities on various environmental issues/concerns.
The Nature of Teaching includes formal standards-base curricula and informal activity-based curricula centered around getting youth outside. The program curricula is focused on three areas: Wildlife, Health and Wellness, and Food Waste. Classroom ready lesson plans for grades kindergarten through 12 are available as are professional development workshops for teachers, focused on science, the environment and getting students connected with nature.
“I’m very happy to have the Nature of Teaching team recognized by our professional association as many team members are also members of the National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences,” health and human sciences extension educator Kelsie Jo Muller said. “The Nature of Teaching team has developed over multiple years and added different discipline areas all working together. It’s great to see all of the hard work recognized.”

NOTTeamThe Nature of Teaching team includes:

  • Deb Arseneau, HHS Educator, Newton County
  • Jarred Brooke, extension wildlife specialist
  • Jay Christiansen, health and human sciences extension educator for Vigo County
  • Robert Cordes, Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) wildlife special projects coordinator
  • Molly Hoag, health and human sciences extension educator for Wells County
  • Molly Hunt, health and human sciences extension educator for Delaware County
  • Rebecca Koetz, urban ag/home horticulture extension educator for Lake County
  • Tami Mosier, 4-H youth development extension educator
  • Kelsie Muller, health and human sciences extension educator for Benton County
  • Dr. Rod Williams, professor and extension wildlife specialist
  • Brad Zitscke, Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) assistant regional wildlife biologist
All of the NEAFCS awards will be presented in September as part of the NEAFCS Virtual Annual Session.
Resources
Nature of Teaching
Nature of Teaching YouTube Channel
Transporting Food Waste, The Education Store, Purdue Extension resource center
Resourceful Animal Relationships, The Education Store
Benefits of Connecting with Nature, The Education Store

Nature of Teaching


 FNR-594-W coverThe Nature of Teaching: Disease Ecology is one unit in a series available from The Nature of Teaching – the place to go for teaching resources that focus on wildlife, food waste, health and wellness. In this series teachers can find free lesson plans, printables, posters, a photo library, information on upcoming workshops and more.

This unit introduces students to basic principles of disease ecology, including the diversity of parasites, how diseases are modeled, and how parasites and hosts interact. It includes three lessons with colorful animal cards to print along with worksheets and presentation.
Lesson 1: Parasite Diversity Activity
Lesson 2: Modeling Disease Transmission
Lesson 3: Parasite Avoidance Behavior in Tadpoles

This 33-page download PDF is written by Dr. Jason Hoverman; Logan Billet, Rebecca Koetz and Dr. Rod Williams.

For more resources, please check the Education Store.

Resources
Benefits of Connecting with Nature, The Education Store, Purdue Extension resource center
The Nature of Teaching: Ecotoxicology and Environmental Health, The Education Store
Resourceful Animal Relationships, The Education Store
The Nature of Teaching: Food Waste and the Environment, The Education Store

Rod Williams, Professor of Wildlife Science
Purdue University Department of Forestry and Natural Resources


Posted on April 20th, 2020 in Forestry, Got Nature for Kids, Wildlife, Woodlands | No Comments »

Hellbender EggsHave you heard of a Hellbender? No? Have you been living under a rock?

Eastern hellbenders are the largest salamander in North America, a rare species that has been getting a lot of conservation attention over the past two decades. If you would like to learn about Hellbenders, how you can help protect aquatic wildlife, and have the opportunity to ask Purdue biologists questions about Hellbender conservation, then please join us on our Help the Hellbender-Facebook Live question and answer time, www.facebook.com/HelpTheHellbender/.

Thursday, April 23rd
3:00 pm ET

We hope to see you there and please bring your questions!

Resources:
Help the Hellbender website, Purdue Extension-Forestry and Natural Resources
Hellbender Decline, The Education Store, Purdue Extension resource center
Zoos Work with Purdue University for Hellbender Conservation Efforts, Got Nature? Blog, FNR
The Nature of Teaching: Adaptations for Aquatic Amphibians, The Education Store

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

Shelby Royal, Husbandry Lab Coordinator
Purdue Department of Forestry and Natural Resources

Rod N Williams, Professor of Wildlife Science
Purdue University Department of Forestry and Natural Resources


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


GroundhogGroundhogs are good at many things, said Brian MacGowan, Purdue University Extension wildlife specialist and Forestry and Natural Resources Extension coordinator, but predicting the weather definitely isn’t one of them.

The lore surrounding Groundhog Day originated in Germany where people used the reactions of badgers and hedgehogs to gauge weather patterns. When the tradition eventually migrated to America, Jarred Brooke, Extension wildlife specialist, said hedgehogs, which can be found throughout the United States, became the mammalian forecaster of choice.

“They’re crafty little critters,” McGowan explains, “which is why they’re found in so many different places. They’re habitat generalists and can live in open woodlands, grasslands, what have you.”

While MacGowan and Brooke agreed groundhogs don’t have a great track-record of weather prediction, other facts make groundhogs one of the more interesting members of the squirrel-family.

For full article see: Groundhogs can’t predict the weather but they do poop underground.

Resources:
Selecting a Nuisance Wildlife Control Professional – The Education Store, Purdue Extension Resource Center
Preventing Wildlife Damage – Do You Need a Permit? – The Education Store
The Basics of Managing Wildlife on Agricultural Lands – The Education Store
Nuisance Wildlife – Indiana Department of Natural Resources
Dealing with nuisance geese this spring – Got Nature?
Animal Damage Management: Woodchucks, The Education Store

Brian MacGowan, Wildlife Extension Specialist
Purdue University, Forestry and Natural Resources

Jarred Brooke, Wildlife Extension Specialist
Purdue University, Forestry and Natural Resources


This unit highlights the resources required to produce food and the food wasted along each step of the food production system. It contains two lessons: Producers, Consumers, and Natural Resources; and Food Waste from Farm to Fork, along with all necessary overviews, notes, and resources.

For more details and free downloadable PDF see FNR-558-W publication at The Education Store: Food Waste and Natural Resources Lesson Plans.

Resources
What a Waste of Food!, lesson plans, The Education Store, Purdue Extension’s resource center
Food Waste Lesson Plans, Nature of Teaching

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

Rod N Williams, Engagement Faculty Fellow & Associate Professor of Wildlife Science
Purdue University Department of Forestry and Natural Resources


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