Got Nature? Blog

TreeTrees provide many benefits and value to property owners in functional, aesthetic, social, environmental, and even economic ways. Functional benefits include mitigating climate change by storing carbon, removing pollution from the atmosphere, managing stormwater runoff, and improving air quality. Trees provide oxygen and many other benefits – such as shade, which can impact home cooling costs.

The collective value of trees makes a difference in people’s health and quality of life in cities and towns everywhere. This updated Purdue Extension publication Tree Appraisal and the Value of Trees describes methods used to appraise trees and landscapes that can determine their value and worth, reasons why a tree should be appraised, the factors that go into tree appraisal, what appraisal ratings mean, and sample scenarios.

Resources
The Nature of Teaching: Trees of the Midwest, The Education Store, Purdue Education Resource Center
Corrective Pruning for Deciduous Trees, The Education Store
Resources and Assistance Available for Planting Hardwood Seedlings, The Education Store
Tree Support Systems, The Education Store

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


Ag BMPAgricultural Best Management Practices (BMPs) are intended to protect or improve water quality without significantly impacting production.  This resource titled Tipping Point Planner Stormwater Definitions, Agricultural Best Management Practices, helps communities plan for a sustainable future. Authored by Ben Wegleitner, social science outreach associate, Daniel Walker, community planning extension specialist, Kara A Salazar, assistant program leader and extension specialist for sustainable communities, and Lydia Utley, data analyst, you will find references and get an overview of how the Tipping Point Planner program guides you through best management practices.

In this Long-Term Hydrologic Impact Assessment (L-THIA) model and the Tipping Point Planner program you will find the following BMPs: no-till practices, buffer strips, grassed waterway, nutrient management, grade stabilization structure and blind inlet.

With help from trained facilitators, the Tipping Point Planner program enables professional and citizen participation in the land use planning and management process.

Resources
Tipping Point Planner, Sustainable communities, Purdue University
Urban Best Management & Low Impact Development Practices, The Education Store, Purdue Extension resource center
Bioindicators of Water Quality: Quick Reference Guide, The Education Store
Improving Water Quality by Protecting Sinkholes on Your Property, video, The Education Store
Improving Water Quality At Your Livestock Operation, video, The Education Store
Improving Water Quality Around Your Farm, video, The Education Store
Healthy Water, Happy Home – Lesson Plan, The Education Store

Kara A Salazar, Assistant Program Leader and Extension Specialist for Sustainable Communities
Purdue University Department of Forestry and Natural Resources


Urban BMPUrban best management practices (BMPs) and low-impact development practices are forms of green infrastructure designed to protect water quality and quantity by reducing stormwater runoff or by storing and treating stormwater before it reaches surface waters. Low-impact development practices are intended to mimic natural infiltration processes.

This publication titled Tipping Point Planner Stormwater Definitions: Urban Best Management Practices (BMPs) and Low Impact Development Practices is written by Ben Wegleitner, social science outreach associate, Daniel Walker, community planning extension specialist, Kara A Salazar, assistant program leader and extension specialist for sustainable communities, and Lydia Utley, data analyst. It discusses the benefits of several urban best management practices for protecting or improving water quality. These BMPs include: permeable pavement, rain barrels, bioretention system, grass strip (or buffer strip), grassed swale, retention ponds, wetland basin and detention basin. The following practices are used in the Long-Term Hydrologic Impact Assessment (L-THIA) model and the Tipping Point Planner. Through Tipping Point Planner, Great Lakes communities can plan sustainable futures by directly linking data to their local decision-making processes.

Resources
Tipping Point Planner Stormwater Definitions: Agricultural Best Management Practices, The Education Store, Purdue Extension resource center
Improving Water Quality by Protecting Sinkholes on Your Property, video, The Education Store
Improving Water Quality At Your Livestock Operation, video, The Education Store
Improving Water Quality Around Your Farm, video, The Education Store
Healthy Water, Happy Home – Lesson Plan, The Education Store

Kara A Salazar, Assistant Program Leader and Extension Specialist for Sustainable Communities
Purdue University Department of Forestry and Natural Resources


Posted on November 13th, 2019 in Forestry, How To, Nature of Teaching, Wildlife, Woodlands | No Comments »

Six pieces of data to collect from deer you harvest this year
Deer season is upon us in Indiana! If you are a serious hunter and deer manager, here are some things you should consider collecting from deer you harvest. This data provides valuable insights to the deer herd condition, and when combined with hunter observation data and habitat data, like browse transects, you can get a clear picture of the deer herd and habitat quality on your property. However, one year of harvest data is unlikely to be much of value, but collecting data over multiple years can help you track trends in the herd and habitat quality.

What to collect
When you harvest a deer on your property you should consider collecting the following pieces of biological information:

  • Sex
  • Age
  • Weight
  • Lactation status
  • Antler measurements
  • Rumen contents

*Each deer you harvest should be assigned a unique ID number to be sure all the following data is assigned to the right deer.

Sex and Age
Collecting deer sex and age (based on tooth replacement and wear) can help you divide the rest of the data you collect into sex and age classes. Find out how to determine age by viewing Age Determination in White-Tailed Deer video. You do not Deer scalenecessarily have to age a deer to the exact year, but you should separate ages into at least 3 age classes; fawns, yearlings, and >= 2.5 years old. This can be important for tracking changes to the average weight per age class or average antler measurements per age class over time.

Weight
You can collect either live weights or dressed weights, but you should pick one or the other and collect all weights consistently. Be sure to test your scales for accuracy before weighing deer. Tracking changes to the average weight per age class can provide Lactation statusinformation about the nutritional status of the herd.

Lactation Status
Lactation status of does is often used as an index of fawn recruitment and can help determine if a doe had a fawn the summer preceding the hunting season. Lactation status for does harvested early in the season can be checked by squeezing the teats to produce milk you may need to cut into the mammary gland on does harvested later in the season to check lactation status.

Antler measurementsAntler measurement
Antler measurements should be collected from bucks harvested on your property, including yearlings. Find out how to measure the antlers by viewing How to Score Your White-Tailed Deer video.  At a minimum, you should collect the number of points on each antler and the basal circumference of the main beams.  You may also consider collecting the inside spread of the antlers and the main beam lengths. Additionally, you can collect the gross Boone & Crockett Score.

Rumen contents
Deer stool sampleThis piece of data can be helpful from a scouting and hunting aspect. Looking into the rumen of a deer can help you determine what deer may be eating during the portion of the year the deer was harvested. You may find green material (which can be hard to identify), corn, acorns, or whatever else deer may be consuming.

Things you need to collect harvest data
Here is a list of items you might need to collect data from harvested deer.

  • Jawbone extractor
  • Knife
  • Loppers
  • Scale
  • Jawbone tag or permanent marker
  • Flexible measuring tape
  • Datasheet (click here for a white-tailed deer harvest datasheet)

Putting all of this data together can give you a picture into the condition of the deer herd on your property. Collecting this data only takes a small amount of time and effort and the information you gather is well worth it! For more information of how to collect biological data from harvested deer, check out this video from Purdue Extension.

Help the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) collect biological data from harvested deer
Most of the data we discussed in this blog post and that is covered in the White-Tailed Deer Post Harvest Collection video, are data the Indiana DNR is collecting through an online post-harvest survey. This is a great opportunity for hunters to help the DNR collect data that will be used to manage the deer herd throughout the state. More information about the after the hunt survey can be found by visiting the Indiana DNR Deer After Hunt Survey page. If you are successful in harvesting a deer in Indiana this year, be sure to check your email for a link to the survey.

Additional Resources:
Age Determination in White-Tailed Deer video, Purdue Extension – FNR YouTube Playlist
How to Score Your White-Tailed Deer video, Purdue Extension – FNR YouTube Playlist
White-Tailed Deer Post Harvest Collection video, Purdue Extension – FNR YouTube Playlist
White-Tailed Deer Harvest Log (pdf), Purdue Extension-FNR
Indiana Deer Hunting, Biology and Management, Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IDNR)
2018 Indiana Hunting and Trapping Guide, Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IDNR)
Managing White-Tailed Deer: Collecting Data from Harvested Deer, Alabama Cooperative Extension System
Prepare Now to Collect Deer Harvest Data, Quality Deer Management Association
Resources for the 2019 Deer Hunting Season, web page & video, Purdue Extension-Forestry & Natural Resources

Jarred Brooke, Wildlife Extension Specialist
Department of Forestry & Natural Resource, Purdue University


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


Kristol from Tippecanoe County, IN, sent in question to the Purdue Extension-Forestry and Natural Resources experts (Ask an ExpertGarden) asking what resources are available to help with landscaping for a front yard and sidewalk area that accumulates water after a hard rain. She also asked for resources to improve drainage.

Purdue Extension has several articles and resources to help with this type of situation.

The resources in our Rainscaping and Master Gardeners Program shares several neat options:
Rain Gardens Go with the Flow, Indiana Yard and Garden, Purdue Horticulture
Rainscaping Program
Master Gardeners Program

Don’t miss the publications located in the Purdue Extension resource center, The Education Store, relating to the topic:
Tree Installation: Process and Practices
Planting Forest Trees and Shrubs in Indiana
Climate Change: How will you manage stormwater runoff?

For Midwest Landscapes, have a look at the Purdue Landscape Report:
Purdue Landscape Report

Try this app developed by experts at Purdue University to with tree identification and tree problems caused by a variety of factors:
Tree Doctor, Purdue Extension-The Education Store

Check out upcoming workshops available for land and woodland owners, to talk with an expert:
Purdue Extension-Forestry and Natural Resources Calendar

Check out our Got Nature? posts as well, as this is always a great resource for new information:
Got Nature?, Forestry and Natural Resources-Purdue Extension

These resources give you lots of options that match what your looking for along with experts in the field to contact if needed.

We always appreciate the questions coming in, so keep them coming. Our experts will respond quickly and give you the guidance you need for your next steps.

Diana Evans, Extension Information Coordinator
Purdue Forestry and Natural Resources


This looks to be shaping up as a tough winter for us and our trees. Lots of snow and ice are predicted for the Hoosier state and this can be a challenge for our trees and shrubs.

After a heavy snowfall, protect your trees and property with these simple tips:

Heavy limbs

Limbs bending from ice loading.

Ice on Trees

Ice accretion on hawthorn branches.

Do not shake limbs to try to remove snow or ice.
When you find your trees are bending or drooping as a result of ice or snow accumulation, your first instinct is probably to shake the branches or knock the weight off with a broom or something similar. This may cause worse damage or actually cause the branch to snap off. Stop right there! Healthy tree branches are flexible, so knocking off the accumulation of snow or ice accretion may cause them to “snap” back, potentially damaging their food and water transport system. The results of the damage may not be evident until next spring.

Trees that tend to suffer the worst damage as a result of snow and ice are upright evergreens, like arborvitae and juniper, and clump trees, like birch. And, when it comes to ice, age does not make a tree stronger; younger trees are better at actually overcoming damage in ice storms.

Hire a Professional.

Snow on Trees

Snow weighing down spruce branches.

Safely remove broken limbs.
Broken and hanging branches can be a threat to people and property. If a limb breaks off from the weight of ice or snow and remains in the tree canopy, have it removed and the remaining stub properly pruned to the branch collar as soon as weather allows. The tree will recover better when properly pruned. For undamaged limbs bending under the weight of ice or snow, don’t prune as a means of correcting the situation. Be patient. It takes time for wood fibers in the limbs to return to its natural position.

Always be mindful of walking or parking under branches loaded down by snow or ice as they may snap and fall, causing injury or damage. If a limb breaks and becomes entangled in power lines, notify your utility company immediately. Never approach a downed power line or a branch touching a utility line.

If there is substantial damage to your tree, have an arborist examine damaged branches and limbs for signs of weakness and injury for reparations. It is best to always hire an ISA Certified Arborist. To find an arborist in your area, visit the website, www.treesaregood.org

How can you help prevent ice damage to trees? Proper pruning is one way. Particularly important is the removal of poor branch attachments and weak branch structure in the tree, prior to winter. For more information on pruning, download the publication, Tree Pruning Essentials.

Full article published in the Purdue Landscape Report.

Resources
Avoid Deadly Risk of Dying Ash Trees with Timely Tree Removal, Got Nature? Purdue Extension-FNR
New Hope for Fighting Ash Borer, Got Nature? Purdue Extension-FNR
Invasive Pest Species: Tools for Staging and Managing EAB in the Urban Forest, Got Nature?
Emerald Ash Borer, Purdue Extension-Entomology
Emerald Ash Borer Cost Calculator – Purdue Extension Entomology
Corrective Pruning for Deciduous Trees, The Education Store, Extension Publications

Lindsey Purcell, Urban Forestry Specialist
Purdue 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


Posted on September 13th, 2018 in Nature of Teaching | No Comments »

This summer the Nature of Teaching team partnered with the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (IFW) to host teacher workshops at the Maine IFW headquarters in Gray and the Fields Audubon Center in Holden, ME. The team worked together to organize and facilitate these two two-day workshops to bring Nature of Teaching educational resources to 47 K-12 public and private school educators, administrators, and environmental center staff.

Nature of Teaching Main Gray Group

During these workshops, funded by an FNR small grant and an IBAT grant, the Purdue/Maine team, as well as guest speakers from Project Wild, took turns presenting information on wildlife, health and wellness, and food waste. After each presentation, teachers walked through corresponding lesson activities that they could use with their students. Then they were given the opportunity to collaborate with other educators in their grade levels. Workshop participants walked away with a binder of resources and were given the opportunity to pursue stipends by completing a post-workshop survey and submitting student pre/post assessment data.

Nature of Teaching Holden Group

 

The Purdue/Maine partnership has been beneficial in bringing the Nature of Teaching resources to Maine educators while incorporating local knowledge and expertise and increasing awareness of resources provided by the Maine IFW. The team is currently developing a Mammals of Maine publication to accompany the Mammals of Indiana publication on the Nature of Teaching website, and planning for at least one workshop in Maine next year.

To learn more about the Nature of Teaching, visit our website at www.purdue.edu/nature, connect with us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/NatureofTeaching/, or contact Rebecca Busse at busser@purdue.edu.

Resources:
Nature of Teaching Lesson Plan: Conservation Biology, Got Nature? Blog
The Nature of Teaching – Purdue Extension

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


FNR-557-W What a Waste of Food!Food waste is a major issue in developed countries. This unit is designed to teach students about food waste and ways they can help reduce it. This section contains one unit with three lesson plans that will teach students how to reduce food waste by learning more about proper food storage, best-by dates, and ugly foods. It also contains a stand-alone lesson on food packaging and composting.

To view this free complete unit see: What a Waste of Food! Lesson Plans and PowerPoint, The Education Store, Purdue Extension.

Resources:
Food Preservation Methods, Purdue Extension
Washing Fresh Vegetables to Enhance Food Safety, Purdue Extension
Food Waste Lesson Plans, Nature of Teaching

Rebecca L Busse, Graduate Research Assistant
Purdue University 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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