Got Nature? Blog

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.

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

Indiana DNR

LampreyLampreys are on of the first fish species to spawn each spring as streams start to warm. Though they lack jaws and some of the fins of other fish, they use their sucking disk and body to move rocks, clearing out small depressions in gravelly areas to lay their eggs. When actively spawning, several of these snake-like fish will be seen squirming together.

The native Northern brook lamprey is one of Indiana’s state endangered fish species. Monitoring its spawning habits and identifying important spawning areas helps with its conservation and is made possible by donations to the Nongame Wildlife Fund. If you think you maybe witnessing a lamprey spawning event this spring, would love to hear about it – email information and a photo or video to Learn more about lampreys.

For more information on how you can donate to the Indiana Nongame Wildlife Fund, please visit the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.

Lampreys, Indiana Division of Fish and Wildlife’s Animal Informational Series
Nongame and Endangered Wildlife, Indiana Department of Natural Resources

Indiana DNR

The Invasive Terrestrial Plant Rule was signed by Governor Holcomb and published on March 18, 2019. the rule goes into effect 30 days after publishing, so it will be effective in April.

The Rule States that a person must not:Mile-a-minute vine

  • sell, offer or grow for sale, gift, barter, exchange, or distribute a species;
  • transport or transfer a species;
  • introduce a species

with respect to the 44 invasive plant species (see full list in the Landscape Report).

Note: Selling, offering, distributing and transporting doesn’t go into effect until April of 2020, so nurseries will have some time to sell down their stock. This is an important component of the rule to minimize economic loss to nurseries that grow and/or sell the few commercially available species that are on the list. Currently there is no mandate to eradicate existing plantings in nurseries, landscapes, or forested areas

To learn more about what an invasive species is, what damage they do, what Indiana is doing, and more please read the Landscape Report, Terrestrial Invasive Species Rule Signed by Indiana Governor.

Mile-a-Minute Invasive Vine Found Indiana, Got Nature? Blog
Invasive plants: impact on environment and people, Purdue Extension The Education Store
Invasive Plant Species in Hardwood Tree Plantations, The Education Store
Invasive Plant Species: Callery Pear, Purdue Extension The Education Store
Invasive Plant Species: Wintercreeper, Purdue Extension The Education Store
Invasive Plant Species Oriental Bittersweet, Purdue Extension The Education Store

Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IDNR)

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 to receive updates.

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)

Pond Nature SceneDo you have a pond or lake? Are you having problems or maybe have a question. If so, join us for a Pond Clinic on April 23 from 6:00-8:00 PM EST at Osgood Trails, 1820 West Co. Rd. 300 North, Osgood, to learn about pond weeds, water quality, fish species, stocking rates, pond/lake maintenance, and other tips from Dave Osborne, Purdue Extension Ripley Co.

If you have pond weeds you would like identified, bring a sample for identification and recommendations for removal.

Please RSVP by April 19: Ripley County Soil and Water Conservation District, 812-689-6410 ext. 3

For more information view Pond Clinic.

Pond Clinic, FNR Extension Event
Pond Management: Stocking Fish in Indiana Ponds, The Education Store – Extension Resource Site
What plants can I landscape within area that floods with hard rain?,GotNature? Blog Post

Dave Osborn, Extension County Director, 812-621-1248

Posted on April 15th, 2019 in Forestry, Plants, Safety, Urban Forestry | No Comments »


One of the most dangerous pests to trees is a human, especially with equipment.  Injuries to trees caused by a lawn mower or weed trimmer can seriously threaten a tree’s health.

Additionally, damage to the bark layer of trees causes a long-term liability by creating a wound which leads to a defect, becoming an unsafe tree.

Any type of damage or removal of the bark and the transport system can result in long-term damage.  Damage, which extends completely around the base of the tree called girdling, will result in ultimate death in a short time.

Tree wounds are serious when it comes to tree health. The wounded area is an opportunity for other insects and diseases to enter the tree that causes further damage. Trees can be completely killed from an attack following injuries. Fungi becomes active on the wound surface, causing structural defects from the decay.  This weakens the tree or it eventually dies, creating a risk tree to people around it.

Trees are a major asset to your property and important to our environment.  Protect our trees and preserve these valuable assets by staying away from tree trunks with any mowing or weed trimming equipment.  The damage lasts and it cannot be repaired and often results in losing your tree.

For more information on tree damage repercussions and how tree harm can be avoided, please refer to the full article from the Landscape Report, Equipment Damage to Trees.

Corrective Pruning for Deciduous Trees, The Education Store – Extension Source
What plants can I landscape with in areas that floods with hard rain?, Got Nature? Blog
Tree support systems, The Education Store
Tree Installation: Process and Practices, The Education Store

Lindsey Purcell, Urban Forest Specialist
Forestry and Natural Resources

Posted on April 7th, 2019 in Forestry, How To, Wildlife, Woodlands | No Comments »

Forest, Purdue forestersThe Woodland Wildlife Steward workshop will be June 7-9 at Morgan-Monroe State Forest in Martinsville, Indiana. Purdue University Extension is hosting the program in collaboration with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources Division of Forestry, and Fish and Wildlife; National Wild Turkey Federation; and Indiana Forestry Educational Foundation.

About 3.5 million acres – or 73 percent – of Indiana’s forestland is privately owned by individuals, making the management of these areas important for wildlife, said Jarred Brooke, a Purdue Extension wildlife specialist and workshop organizer.

“Woodland owners attending this workshop will get an immersive wildlife experience that merges scientifically based information with hands-on experiences,” Brooke said. “Attendees will come away not only with information to make them better stewards of their land, but also the ability to become ambassadors of forest and wildlife stewardship in their communities.”

The workshop will cover various aspects of wildlife ecology and the relationship between wildlife and forest stewardship. Those attending will participate in indoor presentations and activities, outdoor field exercises, and site visits. There also will be opportunities to network with natural resource professionals and other landowners.
The Woodland Wildlife Steward workshop begins at noon Eastern time on June 7 and runs through 3 p.m. on June 9. It will take place at the Morgan-Monroe State Forest Training Center, 6220 Forest Road, Martinsville. Workshop enrollment is limited to 30 landowners, and limited lodging for participants is available on site.

All workshop fees include electronic copies of course materials and transportation to and from field sites. Meals included in the workshop fee are breakfast and lunch on June 8 and June 9, and dinner on June 7 and June 8.

Workshop fees are as follows:

  • Traveler, $150. In addition to workshop materials and meals, this fee includes lodging at Morgan-Monroe State Forest that consists of rooms with one set of bunk beds, a communal kitchen area, and shower and restroom facilities.
  • Local, $100.
  • Family member, $50. One additional family member may attend at this rate with another registered participant. The fee includes all workshop materials and meals, as well as lodging if attending the workshop with someone registered as a traveler.

The deadline to compete a workshop application is May 1, and those accepted will be notified on or shortly after the deadline. Workshop information and a link to apply are available at Those with additional questions can contact Brooke at 765-494-8459 or

Forest Improvement Handbook, Purdue Extension – The Education Store
A Landowner’s Guide to Sustainable Forestry: Part 1: Sustainable Forestry – What Does It Mean For Indiana?​, The Education Store

Jarred Brooke, Wildlife Extension Specialist
Purdue Forestry and Natural Resources

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.


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 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 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.


The Hardwood Ecosystem Experiment: 2006-2016, The Education Store, Purdue Extension resource center
The Hardwood Ecosystem Experiment: Indiana Forestry and Wildlife, HEE
The Hardwood Ecosystem Experiment, HEE
The Great Clearcut Controversy, 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
Invasive Plants: Impact on Environment and People, The Education Store

Charlotte Owings, HEE Project Coordinator
Purdue Forestry and Natural Resources


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

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.

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

Got Nature?