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Posted on May 28th, 2020 in Aquaculture/Fish, How To, Ponds | No Comments »


“The best and the most meat on the fish lays right on top of the rib cage, right down the back”, Purdue Extension County Director Dave Osborne shares in this Fish Cleaning Seminar (Youtube video). Learn the basics of using a fillet knife and an electric fillet knife to clean the fish as he guides you through the process.

Pond and Wildlife Management, Purdue Extension website
Indiana Pond Fish, Species Identification Card Set, The Education Store, Purdue Extension Resource Center
Handling Harvested Game: Episode 1, Field Dressing, Video, Purdue Extension YouTube Channel
Handling Harvested Game: Episode 4, Cutting, Grinding & Packaging, Video, Purdue Extension YouTube Channel

Dave Osborne, County Extension Director
Purdue Extension

 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.

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

Purdue Forestry & Natural Resources extension specialists gathered for a Facebook LIVE event held May 5th to answer questions on a wide range of topics from woodland management to wildlife habitat, ponds to invasive species and more.

Topics ranged from what to do about moles, voles and Canada geese causing damage in your yard, to how to pick the right tree for your landscape and how to measure the worth of your trees. The presentation also included segments on what to do about algae in your pond to how to know if you need to restock it as well as what to do about invasive plant species and how to protect your trees from deer damage.

Get advice from extension specialists Jarred Brooke, Lenny Farlee, Brian MacGowan, Lindsey Purcell, Rod Williams and Mitch Zischke in the video below.

If you have any further questions feel free to send your questions by submitting our Ask An Expert form.

Resources mentioned:
Purdue Extension – The Education Store
Purdue Report Invasive Species Website
Midwest Invasive Species Network Database
Find a Forester in Indiana
Improve My Property for Wildlife, Purdue Extension
Online Mole Program, Event May 14th, Purdue FNR Extension
Have you seen a hairless squirrel, Got Nature? Blog, Purdue FNR Extension
Stocking Fish, The Education Store, Purdue Extension Resource Center
Tree Selection for the “Un-natural” Environment, The Education Store
Selecting a Nuisance Control Operator, The Education Store
Forest Products Price Report (pdf), Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IDNR)
Indiana DNR Nuisance Goose Control Options (pdf), Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IDNR)
Turtles of Indiana, The Education Store
Salamanders of Indiana, The Education Store
Frogs and Toads of Indiana, The Education Store
Snakes and Lizards of Indiana, The Education Store
Aquatic Plant Management, The Education Store
Native Grasses, The Education Store
Preventing Deer Browsing on Trees/Shrubs, Video, Purdue Extension Youtube Channel

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

Several Purdue Forestry and Natural Resources faculty and staff members along with Purdue Extension specialists will be participating in a webinar series in conjunction with the Tippecanoe County Partnership for Water Quality from May 11-14.

The eight-part Virtual Conservation Conversations series, scheduled for 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. each day, Monday through Thursday, will be streamed live on the TCPWQ Facebook page. The sessions are a substitute for the annual Conservation Field Day for fourth grade students in Tippecanoe County.Individual event details are available here: TCPWQ Facebook Events.

The schedule for the Conservation Conversation Series is below:

PrescribedFireMonday, May 11
11 a.m. – Jarred Brooke, Purdue Extension Wildlife Specialist.
Topic: Is There Such a Thing as “Good” Fire? Prescribed fire and its impact on wildlife habitat

1 p.m. – Shelby Royal, Hellbender Husbandry Lab Coordinator.
Topic: Hellbender salamanders

Tuesday, May 12
11 a.m. – Jim McKenna, Operational Tree Breeder for the USDA Forest Service
Topic: Tree Grafting: What, Why and How? Tree grafting, propagation and forests in Indiana

1 p.m. – Megan Gunn, Aquatic Ecology Lab Manager and Undergraduate Student Recruiter
Topic: What Fish and Invertebrates Can Tell Us About Water Quality

HellbenderInWaterWednesday, May 13
11 a.m. – Nerisa Ve’e-Taua, Graduate Research Assistant

1 p.m. – College of Science speaker

Thursday, May 14
11 a.m. – Indiana American Water speaker

1 p.m – Indiana Department of Natural Resources representative

For more online events, view Purdue Extension-FNR Calendar.

Indiana’s Urban Woodlots, The Education Store, Purdue Extension resource center
Tree Appraisal and the Value of Trees, The Education Store
The Nature of Teaching: Trees of the Midwest, The Education Store
The Nature of Teaching: Adaptations for Aquatic Amphibians, The Education Store
Help the Hellbender, Video, Purdue Extension YouTube Channel

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

With all of the recent rain we have had throughout the state,raccoon close-up I have received several inquiries about effects on wildlife and what we can expect.  While some flooding is natural in low areas and wildlife are adapted to respond, extreme flooding can impact wildlife. Flood waters can wash away nests or drown developing or very young animals for those living in low-lying areas. For example, heavy spring rains can reduce nest success of wild turkeys.

In many cases, wildlife will adapt by simply moving to higher ground. I tend to get an increase in inquiries about snakes after flooding. They begin showing up in neighborhood homes when they have never been observed in years past. Certainly our environment changes over time and wildlife can and do respond to these changes.  However, sudden changes are likely due to a response of snakes moving to drier ground. The good news is this and other similar displacement of wildlife is usually temporary.

What can we do?  I’m afraid not much for our currently flooded friends. However, in the long-term, times like this reinforce the need to create and enhance quality wildlife habitat. Providing wildlife with quality habitat that contains the necessary food, cover and water resources gives them a fighting chance to deal with issues that inevitably arise. In addition, wetlands that landowners build and restore on their properties not only enhance wildlife habitat, but also help retain moderate flood waters and recharge groundwater supplies.

If some unwanted wildlife has overstayed their welcome in and around your home, check out the Purdue Education Store publication, Considerations for Trapping Nuisance Wildlife with Box Traps. If you think you have found a sick or injured animal, you can find a list of licensed Wild Animal Rehabilitators in your area on the DNR Division of Fish and Wildlife’s Orphaned and Injured webpage. In Indiana, wildlife rehabilitators have necessary state and federal permits to house and care for sick or injured wild animals.

Additional Resources
Preventing Wildlife Damage – Do You Need a Permit? The Education Store, Purdue Extension
The Basics of Managing Wildlife on Agricultural Lands​, The Education Store, Purdue Extension

Brian J. MacGowan, Extension Wildlife Specialist
Department of Forestry and Natural Resources, Purdue University

Northern strain largemouth bass, photo by Mitchell ZischkeFish stocking in a pond is like a retirement plan—you need to have a vision of your ultimate goal. You want to start off in the right direction or your long-term investment may not pay the dividends you had hoped for. Pond Management: Stocking Fish in Indiana Ponds is an 8-page publication written by our experts partnering together from Purdue’s Pesticide Programs, Forestry and Natural Resources and Purdue Weed Science. They share recommendations regarding fish types, numbers, and predator/prey relationships for new and renovated ponds.

Main topics include:

  • Stocking new or renovated ponds with no fish present
  • Assessment of ponds with existing fish populations
  • Northern strain largemouth bass
  • Stocking fathead minnows
  • Stocking fish to control vegetation
  • Dissolved oxygen – fish need it to live
  • Fish health

Properly stocking your pond with the correct number of the recommended species at the right size are all important steps in creating a healthy and well-balanced pond that will provide good fishing into the future. For more information on pond management go to or contact Dr. Mitchell Zischke at

Other resources:
Indiana Pond Fish, Species Identification Card Set, The Education Store, Purdue Extension Resource Center
Forestry and Water Quality: Pollution Control Practices, The Education Store
Marine Shrimp Biofloc Systems: Management Practices, The Education Store
The Nature of Teaching: Healthy Water, Happy Home – Lesson Plan, The Education Store
Aquaculture & Aquatics,Purdue Extension-Forestry & Natural Resources

Mitch Zischke, Clinical Assistant Professor
Purdue University, Department of Forestry and Natural Resources


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.

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.

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

Posted on February 8th, 2016 in How To, Ponds, Safety, Urban Forestry, Wildlife | No Comments »

As the weather begins to warm up later this year, the sight of Canada geese returning is pleasant to some as a reminder of spring approaching. It can also be downright irritating to others who experience property damage and other conflicts as the geese concentrate on their property. There are several strategies for dealing with geese listed in further detail at the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) website, ranging from mild to severe.

The first thing that is important to know regarding geese is that it is simply not a good idea to feed them. While this act is positive in intention, it is a bad thing for both people and geese. Feeding geese gives them an artificially abundant source of food, which can cause them to delay or skip their migration and instead congregate in areas where they will conflict with people. Furthermore, being fed can cause geese to lose their fear of people, giving them the confidence to stroll across roadways and runways. Finally, large amounts of geese competing over bread and other food of limited nutritional value greatly increases their chances of developing and spreading avian diseases. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service‘s free publication “Caution: Feeding Waterfowl May Be Harmful!” further explains the need to stop feeding geese.

INDNR offers a significant amount of other advice on other methods of handling goose problems. Habitat modification such as adding vegetative barriers or suspended grid systems can be a good long term solution by making your land less attractive to geese. If geese have already begun to settle in, nonlethal harassment techniques like air horns and sprayers can be used twice a day to scare geese away from your property. Nests can be legally removed as long as there are no eggs present. If the situation calls for more severe actions, a permit can be acquired to destroy nests with eggs, or another permit can be issued by a District Wildlife Biologist to capture and relocate the animals. In cases of excessive property damage, a District Wildlife Biologist can also issue an agricultural depredation permit to shoot geese outside of the normal hunting season.

There are many methods of handling nuisance Canada geese this spring, and not one solution for every problem. If there is a goose problem in your area, please view INDNR’s Nuisance Canada Goose Management page to learn more about what you can do and how to acquire permits if needed.

Nuisance Canada Goose Management – Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IDNR)
Solutions – INDNR
Caution: Feeding Waterfowl May Be Harmful! – U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Working With Wildlife: Urban Canada Goose Management – Purdue Extension
Managing Canada Geese – Purdue Plant & Pest Diagnostic Laboratory

Aaron Doenges, videographer & assistant web designer
Purdue Forestry and Natural Resources

Posted on September 15th, 2015 in Forestry, Ponds, Safety, Urban Forestry | No Comments »

Indiana DNR Indentity​This summer, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources Division of Reclamation earned the 2015 Mid-Continent Regional Award from the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Office of Surface Mining, Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE) for their outstanding work in eliminating the abandoned Minnehaha slurry pond in an area of abandoned mine land in Sullivan County. This reward recognizes the elimination of health, safety and environmental problems in abandoned mine lands and is rightfully deserved by this ambitious project.

This project was one of the largest and most extensive projects that the Division of Reclamation has tackled in its over 30 years of work. To begin, the team addressed a weakened levee at the abandoned mine. The levee was holding back a pond of slurry, a hazardous mix of coal and water. By repairing this levee, a disasterous blackwater flood that could harm both property and people in the Sullivan County area was avoided.

The repaired levee allowed the team to then safely work on removing this abandoned slurry pond. A large sulfate-reducing bioreactor was built at the site, which treated and released over six million gallons of water through a newly designed system of sloping hills and a stream. By removing this slurry pond, this project succeeded in eliminating some of the waste caused from coal mining that is often neglected.

For more information, please check out Indiana DNR’s page on the project and award.

DNR Reclamation Earns National Award, Indiana Department of Natural Resources
Status of Reforested Mine Sites in S.W. Indiana​, The Education Store, Purdue Extension Resource Center
Abandoned Mine Land Safety, Indiana Department of Natural Resources
Information for Citizens, Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement

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