Got Nature? Blog

Posted on October 26th, 2021 in Safety, Wildlife | No Comments »

Deer on open grass area.MyDNR: Annually, more than 14,000 deer-vehicle collisions are reported in Indiana. If you live where deer are found, especially in suburban areas or where field and forest meet, it is important to know ways to reduce the likelihood of a collision and what to do if you are involved in one. While you can’t eliminate the possibility of running into a deer on the road, you can minimize the risk of severe damage to you or your vehicle.

Deer movements are not random, and the likelihood of seeing deer near roads varies by time of day and month. Deer are most active when many people are commuting to and from work, resulting in increased collisions. While your chance of hitting a deer varies, in general, deer-vehicle collisions are most likely to occur during these conditions:

  • At dawn and dusk when deer are most active.
  • From September through December, particularly October and November during deer mating season as bucks cross roads more frequently and are less cautious when crossing.

For more information view the Indiana DNR printable PDF (.144mb) Deer-Vehicle Collisions and You.

Watch out for deer on the roads, Got Nature? Post, Purdue Extension – Forestry and Natural Resources (FNR)
A Woodland Management Moment – Deer Fencing, Purdue Extension – FNR YouTube Video
Woodland Stewardship for Landowners: Managing Deer Damage to Young Trees, Purdue Extension – FNR YouTube Video
Ask an Expert: Wildlife Food Plots, Purdue Extension – FNR YouTube Video
How to Build a Plastic Mesh Deer Exclusion Fence, The Education Store, Purdue Extension resource center
Deer Harvest Data Collection, Got Nature? Blog, Purdue Extension – FNR
Handling Harvested Game: Episode 4, Cutting, Grinding & Packaging, Purdue Extension – FNR YouTube Video

Indiana Department of Natural Resources

Topping Trees Publication PhotoAs trees grow and reach heights which many consider to be unsafe, tree owners would often top their trees by reducing the tree size. This is by heading back most of the large, live branches from the tree. However, topping trees proves to be more damaging than beneficial.

Topping trees can cause decay, weak branch attachments, and an increased likelihood of failure. If we do not top our trees and leave them to develop naturally, the structural strength of the trees is stronger than those that are not topped. The extensive root system, when left undisturbed, provides adequate support for the trees.

This publication titled What’s Wrong with Topping goes in-depth on the implications of topping and provides better alternatives to topping.

To view other urban forestry publications and video resources, check out Purdue Extension’s The Education Store website.

Planting Your Tree Part 1: Choosing Your Tree, Purdue Extension YouTube Channel
Tree Planting Part 2: Planting a Tree, Purdue Extension YouTube Channel
Tree Selection for the “Un-natural” Environment, The Education Store, Purdue Extension resource center
Tree Installation: Process and Practices, The Education Store
Tree Pruning Essentials, The Education Store
Tree Pruning Essentials Video, Purdue Extension YouTube Channel

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

Posted on May 6th, 2021 in How To, Safety, Wildlife | No Comments »

blackVultureBannerPurdue Forestry and Natural Resources News & Stories: Vultures have a role to play as nature’s garbagemen, cleaning up animal carcasses, but what happens when a species goes from scavenging to harassing and even preying on livestock?

Pat Zollner, professor of wildlife science, along with PhD student Marian Wahl and their partners with the USDA Wildlife Services program are investigating black vultures in Indiana in order to better understand vulture ecology as well as to develop methods to mitigate future harm to Indiana livestock.

“Black vultures are relatively new to Indiana, they have been gradually moving in from the south, and right now there are a lot of unknowns that we need to figure out in order to make sound management decisions,” Wahl said. “Some of the pressing questions that we have are how many black vultures do we have here in Indiana, where are the birds located, how and where is conflict occurring, and how effective are different approaches to managing black vulture problems.

The aim of the research is two-fold. First, they are looking to see what causes some black vultures to become aggressive predators of livestock, instead of simply scavengers. Second, they are looking to learn signs that can determine whether an animal has been killed by vultures or simply scavenged, an important piece of evidence for livestock producers filing claims to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s indemnity program hoping to recover compensation for their losses.

In order to achieve its goals, the research team is requesting the assistance of livestock producers through an online survey and also with the donation of calves believed to have been killed by black vultures. The qualtrics online survey is available now and will take only 15-20 minutes to complete. The survey is anonymous and data collected with be presented only in summary form and not via individual responses.

For full article >>>

Qualtrics Online Survey
Contact Purdue FNR With Any Livestock Loss Due to Vultures
Black Vulture Research, Perry County News & March Edition of Beef Monthly
Black Vulture Ecology and Human-Wildlife Conflicts
Livestock, Education Store, Purdue Extension resource center

Pat Zollner, Professor of Wildlife Science
Purdue Forestry and Natural Resources

Marion Wahl, Graduate Research Assistant
Purdue Forestry and Natural Resources

Posted on February 2nd, 2021 in How To, Land Use, Safety, Wildlife, Woodlands | No Comments »

Browsing by deer on planted and naturally regenerated hardwood seedlings is one of the greatest obstacles to seedling establishment in many parts of the central hardwood region. In this Woodland Stewardship For Landowners, Purdue Wildlife Extension Specialist Brian MacGowan talks about different types of deer damage and how landowners could mitigate the damage.

If you have any questions regarding wildlife, trees, forest management, wood products, natural resource planning or other natural resource topics, feel free to contact us by using our Ask an Expert web page.

Woodland Stewardship For Landowners, Playlist, Purdue Extension – Forestry and Natural Resources YouTube Channel
Woodland Management Moment, Purdue Extension – FNR Playlist
A Woodland Management Moment – Deer Fencing, Purdue Extension – FNR Video
Wildlife Habitat Hint: Exclusion Cage, Purdue Extension – FNR Video
How to Build a Plastic Mesh Deer Exclusion Fence, The Education Store, Purdue Extension resource center
Forest Improvement Handbook, The Education Store
Finding help from a professional forester, Indiana Forestry & Woodland Owners Association

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

Posted on January 15th, 2021 in Alert, How To, Safety, Urban Forestry, Wildlife | No Comments »

coyotesMyDNR Newsletter, Indiana Department of Forestry and Natural Resources (IDNR): Indiana residents are more likely to see coyotes during wintertime, but sightings are no cause for alarm. Coyotes become more active during winter as young coyotes leave their families to find a new home and coyotes begin breeding. Coyotes may look larger than they are due to their thick winter coats, but the average coyote only weighs 20-30 pounds.

General characteristics

  • The coyote closely resembles a German shepherd dog in height and shape but it carries its tail below the level of its back instead of curved upward and is generally half the weight of a German shepherd.
  • Coyotes have a long slender snout and large, pointed ears.
  • The upper body is a grizzled gray or buff, with a reddish brown or gray muzzle and legs. The belly is white, cream-colored or reddish yellow.
  • The coyote has a bushy tail, which it carries below the level of its back.
  • Coyotes average 25 pounds (ranging from 20 to 50 pounds), and they measure 40 to 50 inches long from nose to tail tip.
  • Coyotes are elusive and normally avoid humans.
  • They can be active day or night, but are typically most active at dawn and dusk.
  • The coyote communicates by barking, yipping and howling.

Distribution and abundance

Coyotes are present in all sections of the state. There are records of coyotes in Indiana as early as 1816, though they likely inhabited Indiana well before that time. Bounties were in place in Indiana on coyotes from at least 1849 through the late 1960s. Despite this persecution by early European settlers, coyotes persisted in Indiana. Historically, coyote populations were limited in range to the prairie regions of the state, and expansion may have partially been limited because wolves suppress coyote populations, and both red and gray wolves were once abundant in Indiana. However, with the eradication of wolves and conversion of habitat to farmland, coyotes have been able to expand and adapt to new habitats.  Statewide coyote abundance has slowly increased as coyotes continued to expand into previously unoccupied habitat.  Today, coyotes occupy all of Indiana, no matter the habitat type or amount of development.

For more information, please visit Indiana Department of Forestry and Natural Resources (IDNR).

To subscribe for the monthly newsletter view: MyDNR Email Newsletter.

Coyotes, IN DNR
Coyotes (PDF), Wildlife Conflicts, Department of Entomology, Purdue University
 Ask the Expert: Coexisting with Coyotes, Video, Purdue Extension – Forestry and Natural Resources Youtube channel
Dealing with Nuisance Coyotes, Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IN DNR)-Fish and Wildlife
Urban Coyotes – Should You Be Concerned?, Got Nature? Blog
Urban Coyote Research Center, Urban Coyote Ecology & Management, Cook County, Illinois

Indiana Department of Forestry and Natural Resources


Leaning trees can be a risk to neighboring property owners.

Purdue Landscape Report: I hear this complaint or issue more frequently, “what can I do about the neighbor’s tree?” or “my neighbor just butchered my tree!”.  Often, we see issues with a neighboring tree that may threaten safety or appears to be an elevated risk.  For example, from the view of your window, you see your neighbor’s tree dropping dead branches all over your driveway. Or, you can’t see a favorable view at all because of that tree or unruly hedge. Or you are certain that the neighbor’s tree will eventually fall onto your garage.

Before you take any action, establish ownership of the tree, and find out if you have rights to work on the offending vegetation. Otherwise, it can land you into a contentious legal situation.

Some questions to consider include:

When tree limbs or even the trunk of the tree crosses property line, are you within your rights to prune or remove it?


Check with local government websites for property maps which can help identify boundaries.

Boundary laws vary with every state. Often the boundary lines are uncertain or assumed based on local information. However, in contentious situations that may result in major modifications to a tree, it is advised to get a survey to establish exactly who owns the tree.


Rights are determined by who owns the tree. Check with your town, city, county and state municipalities for regulations about trees and property lines. The rights and responsibility for care and maintenance of trees are assigned to its owner, and ownership is determined by the location of the tree’s trunk. If the trunk is located entirely on the neighbor’s land even if its limbs or branches overhang onto your land, the neighbor is the tree’s owner. The neighbor has the sole right to preserve the tree or cut it down. This is true regardless of the neighbor’s motivation or the impact the tree removal would have on your land.


An ISA certified arborist can provide mitigation options that are best for the tree and helpful for the tree owner.

It is always best practice and considerate to first ask your neighbor if you can arrange to have it removed or pruned. They might actually appreciate it.

When tree work is required to remove or prune the tree and neighbor conflict exists, have a qualified tree care provider determine the work specifications on exactly how the tree issue should be mitigated. It is usually a bit more complex than simply stating, “cut limbs back to property line.” The work order must reference the ANSI A300 tree pruning standards to assure the procedures being proposed take into consideration the tree’s future health. Ensure that your tree care provider has a copy of their current liability insurance policy on hand. Check their references as well, not all tree care companies are guaranteed to provide the best results for you or your tree.

The best advice is to hire a tree care professional with the experience, expertise, and equipment to assess and safely prune, remove or otherwise care for your or your neighbors’ trees. Search for a tree care provider in your area. Also, consider hiring an ISA Certified Arborist which can be found here.

According to most attorneys, open-minded communications with the neighbor can result in an acceptable resolution for any situation. This will help to avoid contentious, expensive, time consuming, and unpredictable lawsuits.

Find Qualified Tree Care, Tree Care Industry Association
Find An Arborist, Trees are Good
Tree Pruning Essentials, video and publication, The Education Store, Purdue Extension Forestry and Natural Resources
Construction and Trees: Guidelines for Protection, The Education Store
Question: Can tree roots cause damage to a home’s foundation?, Got Nature? Blog, Purdue Extension – Forestry and Natural

Lindsey Purcell, Urban Forestry Specialist
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.
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

treeAroundHouseQuestion: Can tree roots cause damage to a home’s foundation? I have a 3’ in diameter pin oak tree that is within 10 feet of my house. A certified arborist took a look at it and said that he would like to use an Air Knife to expose the roots near the foundation (a walkout basement) to determine if the roots are causing damage and/or need to be pruned, or whether the tree needs to be removed since it is situated too close to the house. Before I spend $500 for them to use the Air Knife, I wondered if you thought it would be worthwhile or not necessary.

Answer: Tree roots can damage a house foundation, with an invitation to do so. Tree roots are very opportunistic and will only grow and penetrate where it is easiest to grow such as friable soils and mulch. Typically, when roots encounter solid, impervious surfaces such as pipes, sidewalks, curbs and foundations, they are redirected laterally or up and over. However, if there is a breach or a crack nearby, they can and will exploit those voids in search of moisture. Such as sewer pipes aren’t damaged by the roots, they are just very capable of finding those leaks and moving into the moist and often nutrient-rich pipe.

Roots normally grow horizontally and not very far beneath the soil surface. Sometimes when roots encounter the looser backfill soil near the foundation, they can abruptly start growing down. You may be able to locate these roots, if they exist, by excavating a foot or two down within a few feet of the foundation. If you find a suspect root, cut it off. Unfortunately, in some cases excavation down to the base of the foundation may be necessary. This may have to be done anyway to repair and stabilize it. Cutting the roots should prevent future problems, especially if a root barrier is installed to prevent re-growth.

Surface Root Syndrome, The Education Store, Purdue Extension resource center
The Nature of Teaching: Trees of the Midwest, The Education Store
Tree Appraisal and the Value of Trees, The Education Store
Construction and Trees: Guidelines for Protection, The Education Store

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

TheHelm-2020-SepThe Helm is a collection of Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant (IISG)‘s research, outreach, and education success stories and ongoing activities to address coastal concerns. In this issue, we focus on addressing urban flooding, the seafood trade deficit, critical natural resources, and more.

Headlines from this issue:

  • Building better rain gardens to reduce runoff
  • Regional and local efforts focus on growing aquaculture
  • Science and scientists become real for scientists and teachers
  • Communities set natural resource priorities and create action plans
  • Buoys provide key data to predict dangerous currents

Ask An Expert: Rainscaping, Purdue Extension – Forestry and Natural Resources Youtube Channel
Rainscaping Education Program, Purdue University
Master Gardeners Program
Rainscaping, Playlist
Rain Gardens Go with the Flow, Indiana Yard and Garden, Purdue Horticulture
Climate Change: How will you manage stormwater runoff?, The Education Store, Purdue Extension resource center
Salmon and Trout of the Great Lakes: A Visual Identification Guide, The Education Store
Pond Management: Stocking Fish in Indiana Ponds, The Education Store
The Nature of Teaching: Adaptations for Aquatic Amphibians, The Education Store
What plants can I landscape with in area that floods with hard rain? Got Nature? Blog, Purdue Extension – Forestry and Natural Resources
New toolkit makes finding weather and climate lesson plans easy, Got Nature? Blog

Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant (IISG)

Posted on September 23rd, 2020 in Disease, How To, Safety, Wildlife | No Comments »

deerSeptember IDNR Wildlife Bulletin Newsletter: Indiana DNR is conducting targeted surveillance for chronic wasting disease (CWD) surveillance in northwest and northeast Indiana during the 2020-21 deer hunting season. Hunters may voluntarily submit samples for testing at select fish & wildlife areas (FWAs) and state fish hatcheries (SFHs) throughout the hunting season. Deer heads can be dropped into designated coolers at select FWAs and SFHs or hunters may make an appointment for their harvested deer to be sampled by a biologist during office hours. The 2020-21 sampling locations and their hours of operation are listed on the website. Indiana DNR biologists will intensively sample hunter-harvested deer at local businesses in the surveillance areas during three weekends: Nov. 7-8, 14-15, and 21-22.

Hunters interested in testing a deer for CWD that was harvested outside the CWD surveillance areas may take their deer to select FWAs and SFHs as well. Alternatively, hunters may independently submit their deer to the Purdue Animal Disease Diagnostic Lab (ADDL) for testing for a fee. Hunters should complete the submission form and follow the shipping instructions on Purdue ADDL’s website.

Hunters who submit a deer for CWD testing will receive a Deer Management Partner magnet and metal tag reminiscent of Indiana’s historical deer harvest confirmation process.

For more information, please visit the Indiana Department of Natural Resources website.

Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), Indiana Department of Natural Resouces (IDNR)
New Indiana Hunting & Trapping Guide, Got Nature? Blog, Purdue Extension – Forestry and Natural Resources
Wildlife Habitat Hint: Trail Camera Tips and Tricks, Got Nature? Blog
Bovine Tuberculosis in Wild White-tailed Deer, The Education Store, Purdue Extension resource center
Indiana Deer Hunting, Biology and Management Food Safety & Handling Take-Home Tips (80kb pdf), Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IDNR)
Handling Harvested Game: Episode 1, Field Dressing, Video, Purdue Extension Youtube channel
Handling Harvested Game: Episode 2, Hanging & Skinning, Video
Handling Harvested Game: Episode 3, Deboning, Video
Handling Harvested Game: Episode 4, Cutting, Grinding & Packaging, Video

Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IDNR)

Got Nature?