Sycamore Land Trust https://sycamorelandtrust.org A 501(c)3 nonprofit protecting southern Indiana's landscape and connecting people to nature Tue, 19 Jun 2018 15:29:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://sycamorelandtrust.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Sycamore_One_Tree_Logo_357_white-center2-90x90.png Sycamore Land Trust https://sycamorelandtrust.org 32 32 28899026 Monarch Environmental Education Endowment https://sycamorelandtrust.org/blog/twigsummer18-ee-endowment/ https://sycamorelandtrust.org/blog/twigsummer18-ee-endowment/#respond Wed, 13 Jun 2018 15:06:20 +0000 http://sycamorelandtrust.org/?p=4600 by Ann Connors, Development Director This article originally appeared in the summer 2018 issue of The Twig, our 24-page member newsletter. To read more from this issue, click here. To become a member and receive The Twig in the mail, become a member. Why are our favorite memories so often about being outdoors? There’s something about playing, hiking, and relaxing in nature that refreshes us and helps prepare us for the other parts of our...  [Read More]

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by Ann Connors, Development Director

This article originally appeared in the summer 2018 issue of The Twig, our 24-page member newsletter. To read more from this issue, click here. To become a member and receive The Twig in the mail, become a member.

Students from the Harmony School in Bloomington enjoying a rainy day at our Amy Weingartner Branigin Peninsula Preserve.

Why are our favorite memories so often about being outdoors? There’s something about playing, hiking, and relaxing in nature that refreshes us and helps prepare us for the other parts of our busy lives. Studies have found that time in nature enhances physical health, improves critical thinking skills, decreases depression, and has other lasting benefits.

People who connect with nature are more motivated to protect it. For years, Sycamore volunteers led hikes and taught lessons at schools in our area, but we wanted to do even more. Our Environmental Education Program began in 2005 with Carroll Ritter as a part-time educator. Shane Gibson joined the staff in 2015 as Sycamore’s first full-time Environmental Education (EE) Director. Over the past two years, more than 9,000 people have been involved in Sycamore’s EE program through public hikes on our preserves, ongoing programs with classes from preschool through college, and programs for diverse community groups and summer camps.

To ensure that our EE program continues strong forever, we established the Monarch Environmental Education Endowment in 2016, managed by the Community Foundation of Bloomington and Monroe County (CFBMC). The endowment helps Sycamore plan for the future by establishing an investment whose principal is never spent, with earnings that are used to pay EE program expenses each year.

We are working hard to raise $1.3 million for the endowment so that earnings can fully cover the salary of the EE Director and some related program expenses. We are thrilled to have raised $816k, with an additional $100k pledged for this spring, and hope to reach our goal this year – and this is where you can help!

Some of the Endowment’s enthusiastic supporters shared their reasons for contributing to this fund:

RUTH AND SCOTT RUSSELL SANDERS

“People only take care of what they love, and they love only what they know. When children have the opportunity to poke around in creeks, gaze up into the branches of big trees, watch eagles on a nest, or glimpse a fox – they will develop a love of the greater-than-human world and want to help protect it. Having the opportunity to explore land protected by Sycamore, in the company of adults who encourage them to pay attention and appreciate nature, is vital for the emotional and physical health of children. I don’t know of any land trust that has been more effective than Sycamore at preserving habitat for other species and reconnecting humans to our glorious planet.”

TINA PETERSON, PRESIDENT OF THE CFBMC

“The Community Foundation applauds Sycamore Land Trust for their very deliberate approach to growing the sustainability of their environmental programs. Those donors who support the Endowment are making a gift to this generation and to everyone who follows. Preserving land while educating successive generations to respect, protect, and embrace those lands is both wise and essential.”

LINDA RAYMOND AND MICHAEL CAIN

“Since the Raymond Foundation started in 1993, we have primarily supported education related to the sciences. Our support for environmental education is a critical part of this mission, and not just because it encompasses the sciences…it also introduces people to the beauty, complexity, and wonder of our environment and our place in it. Sycamore Land Trust is in a unique position to carry out this kind of education. This is why we have encouraged and supported this initiative since 2005. We believe it is extremely important for our society to have a knowledge and appreciation of our natural world. Without argument, that’s what Sycamore Land Trust is all about. Many special places in Indiana have been protected, providing sanctuaries from our digital obsessions, protection for critical species, outdoor laboratories, and many reasons to trust this organization with the important task of environmental education.”

GEORGE AND CATHY KORINEK

“It’s all about the future. If you don’t get kids outside, you have no way for them to be concerned about the environment. Kids who connect with nature are more caring and curious, and end up being better people. And it’s better for the parents as they see what we are doing and what the kids are learning and experiencing.”

MARK MILLER, MANAGER OF COMMUNITY AFFAIRS AT VECTREN CORPORATION

“Many people enjoy the land, but not everyone realizes that you can love the land to death. The reason Vectren supports the Monarch Environmental Education Endowment at Sycamore Land Trust is because this program not only teaches you to love the land, but why love the land and how to love the land, and to protect the land so that others may enjoy the land as well.”

To learn more or contribute to the Monarch Environmental Education Endowment, please contact me at ann@sycamorelandtrust.org or 812-336-5382 ext. 104 Thank you!

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Stewardship Report https://sycamorelandtrust.org/blog/twigsummer18-stewardship/ https://sycamorelandtrust.org/blog/twigsummer18-stewardship/#respond Wed, 13 Jun 2018 14:29:52 +0000 http://sycamorelandtrust.org/?p=4597 by Chris Fox, Land Stewardship Manager This article originally appeared in the summer 2018 issue of The Twig, our 24-page member newsletter. To read more from this issue, click here. To become a member and receive The Twig in the mail, become a member. “We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with...  [Read More]

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by Chris Fox, Land Stewardship Manager

This article originally appeared in the summer 2018 issue of The Twig, our 24-page member newsletter. To read more from this issue, click here. To become a member and receive The Twig in the mail, become a member.

“We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.”

– Aldo Leopold

More than 20 volunteers showed up to help us clean up trash and debris at Tangeman Woods in Bartholomew County.

We’re gearing up for a busy spring season, and this means a full plate of stewardship activities – especially on our 16 public nature preserves. And we need your help! As visitation at the preserves increases with the warmer temperatures, it’s important to make sure our trails are in top shape. Severe weather in this stormy season drops trees and limbs on trails, and flooding can damage infrastructure or bring in trash and debris. Anyone with trail maintenance experience might want to join a new group of volunteers, the Sycamore Trail Rangers. The Rangers will assist with general trail maintenance, as well as clearing trails that may be obstructed by downed trees.

Another one of the big tasks of spring and summer is invasive species monitoring and control. Frequently, invasive plants are among the first to leaf out, and this makes spring the perfect time to control them without harming the native plants. To treat invasive plants, we determine the method that is least harmful to the surrounding environment that will still hinder the invasive plant’s ability to grow and reproduce.

Sycamore relies a lot on our amazing volunteers to help protect and maintain thousands of acres and 35 miles of trails. Already in 2018, volunteers have contributed more than 100 hours to help control invasive species, pick up trash, and assist with trail maintenance. These volunteers are willing to work in all weather conditions and do what is needed to help Sycamore protect the land.

If you’re interested in general volunteering, look for an upcoming Preserve-a-Preserve Day, usually on the third Thursday of each month. We’re also looking for individuals interested in Adopting a Preserve. Our goal is to have at least one or more volunteer stewards for each Sycamore preserve. Stewards agree to monitor their preserve throughout the year and to report any issues or concerns.

Please get in touch with me at chris@sycamorelandtrust.org or 812-336-5382 extension 103 if you’re interested in helping. Thank you to all those who have volunteered their time with Sycamore!

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Land Protection Update https://sycamorelandtrust.org/blog/twigsummer18-land-protection-update/ https://sycamorelandtrust.org/blog/twigsummer18-land-protection-update/#respond Thu, 07 Jun 2018 19:44:53 +0000 http://sycamorelandtrust.org/?p=4587 by John Lawrence, Assistant Director This article originally appeared in the summer 2018 issue of The Twig, our 24-page member newsletter. To read more from this issue, click here. To become a member and receive The Twig in the mail, become a member. Bigger is better for nature preserves. And in the first four months of 2018, Sycamore completed four projects covering 172 acres that were all additions to existing natural areas. Larger contiguous areas...  [Read More]

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by John Lawrence, Assistant Director

This article originally appeared in the summer 2018 issue of The Twig, our 24-page member newsletter. To read more from this issue, click here. To become a member and receive The Twig in the mail, become a member.

This photo of the Hoosier National Forest by Visit Bloomington captures the beauty of this hilly landscape, similar to the parcel we added at Hardin Ridge.

Bigger is better for nature preserves. And in the first four months of 2018, Sycamore completed four projects covering 172 acres that were all additions to existing natural areas. Larger contiguous areas protect more habitat for plants and wildlife, and the core habitat in a larger preserve is also more sheltered from the disturbances found at the edges. In addition, many species cannot survive in an area without a certain amount of habitat protected.

Accordingly, adding to existing natural areas is always a high priority for Sycamore Land Trust. And because of your support, we were able to save these four high-priority additions to the Hoosier National Forest, our own Beanblossom Bottoms Nature Preserve, and the Patoka River National Wildlife Refuge.

 

Hoosier National Forest

14 acres

Sycamore’s first project finished in 2018 was the addition of 14 acres to the Hoosier National Forest (HNF) in Monroe County. This wooded parcel sits on a peninsula at the Hardin Ridge Recreation Area, and is surrounded by the HNF and Lake Monroe. The project began over three years ago, when Sycamore staff discovered that the parcel was listed in Monroe County’s fall tax sale. The late owner’s estate had abandoned the property, leaving property taxes unpaid. While the HNF was interested in acquiring the property, they were not able to act quickly enough. So Sycamore stepped in and went to the tax sale auction, and made the winning bid.

Winning the bid was merely a first step. Sycamore had to wait for a year before receiving title to the property, a period mandated by state law to allow property owners a last chance to pay taxes owed and reclaim land. Legal notices and a court filing had to be made as well. HNF staff successfully applied for a competitive Land and Water Conservation Fund grant to purchase several hundred acres, including this parcel.

With the deed finally in Sycamore’s hands in early 2016, the HNF was able to begin their acquisitions process. All the paperwork was finished this February, and HNF purchased the property from Sycamore. The final step for HNF will be to remove an old shack on the property, the one remaining sign of human occupation on a parcel that has otherwise returned to nature.

 

Beanblossom Bottoms Nature Preserve

84 acres

Sycamore’s next project of 2018, an 84-acre addition to our own Beanblossom Bottoms Nature Preserve in Monroe County, had also been in the works for over three years. This key parcel fills in the northeast corner of the preserve, and contains a floodplain field along with neighboring upland forest. We reached out to the landowner at the end of 2014 through a mailing to landowners in our Beanblossom Creek Bicentennial Conservation Area, and several more letters, phone calls, and in-person meetings followed over the next few years.

Sycamore’s recent acquisition at Beanblossom Bottoms

Sycamore understands that selling or donating land is a big decision, and we’re always grateful when a landowner is willing to talk with us. These discussions worked out well for everyone, as we were able to agree on a deal for Sycamore to purchase the land. Because of all the donors who contributed to the Beanblossom Creek project, this important addition will now be protected and managed forever as part of Beanblossom Bottoms.

 

Patoka Rover National Wildlife Refuge

62 acres and 12 acres

Our third and fourth projects of the year were not marathons but races against the clock to acquire two additions to the Patoka River National Wildlife Refuge in Gibson and Pike Counties. In late 2017 Sycamore had the opportunity to apply for land acquisition funding for multiple projects from the Laura Hare Charitable Trust. We reached out to our colleagues at Patoka, and these two parcels were at the top of their priority list.

The 62-acre parcel in Gibson County contains bottomland forest and a frequently flooded field bordered by the refuge and the Patoka River itself, and the 12-acre parcel is all forested and borders both the refuge and the river. The landowners of both were eager to sell. A timber harvest was already scheduled on the larger property, threatening trees that Patoka staff said were larger than any currently on the refuge.

The Laura Hare Charitable Trust quickly approved the grants, making it the third and fourth times that the Trust has helped Sycamore add land to Patoka River NWR. Sycamore contacted the landowners right away, and made deals for both properties before timbering progressed on the larger tract. Acting Refuge Manager Heath Hamilton also quickly secured a grant from the Wild Turkey Federation to cover remaining purchase costs.

Sycamore can now transfer the land to the refuge. Next spring the field on the 62-acre parcel will be planted to bottomland hardwood forest, thanks to a grant from the Alcoa Foundation’s and American Forests’ Partners for Trees Program. This parcel will be used to complete the matching requirements for a $1 million North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) grant. Eight conservation partners including Sycamore were involved with the grant, which helped protect over 3,000 acres at Patoka River NWR.

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Fossil Fun https://sycamorelandtrust.org/blog/twigsummer18-fossil-fun/ https://sycamorelandtrust.org/blog/twigsummer18-fossil-fun/#respond Thu, 07 Jun 2018 19:33:44 +0000 http://sycamorelandtrust.org/?p=4585 by Shayna Steingard, SPEA Communications Fellow This article originally appeared in the summer 2018 issue of The Twig, our 24-page member newsletter. To read more from this issue, click here. To become a member and receive The Twig in the mail, become a member. When you think about it, many of us spent our childhoods dreaming of growing up and wearing khaki. Specifically, the beige pocket-covered vests, wide-brimmed hats, and high ankle boots worn by...  [Read More]

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by Shayna Steingard, SPEA Communications Fellow

This article originally appeared in the summer 2018 issue of The Twig, our 24-page member newsletter. To read more from this issue, click here. To become a member and receive The Twig in the mail, become a member.

Discoveries from a fossil hike hosted by Sycamore Branches at Griffy Lake Nature Preserve in Bloomington (a City of Bloomington property)

When you think about it, many of us spent our childhoods dreaming of growing up and wearing khaki. Specifically, the beige pocket-covered vests, wide-brimmed hats, and high ankle boots worn by iconic paleontologists – the trail-blazing adventurers who unearth the remnants of our prehistoric past. It’s hard to stand in a museum underneath a colossal dinosaur skeleton without imagining what it would be like, rock chisel and fossil brush in hand, to uncover something buried millions of years ago. Fortunately for Bloomington’s amateur and professional paleontologists alike, Lake Monroe is fossiliferous (paleontology jargon for “chock-full of fossils”). No PhD or khaki necessary; to observe fossils all you have to do is watch where you step.

While the Amy Weingartner Branigin Peninsula Preserve now hosts a tiered forest of thick upland hardwoods, the land was once submerged under a shallow ocean covered by a reef-like crinoid forest. Crinoids, (Elegantocrinus hemisphaericus) are the ancient ancestors of sea lilies, star fish, sea cucumbers, sea urchins, and other Echniodermata. They looked almost like the end of a tassel or a mop head, anchored in place to the seafloor by a long stalk. While modern descendants are now found in the deepest oceans, fragments from ancient crinoids lay inconspicuously along the shore of Lake Monroe. To the untrained eye, the disklike fossils easily blend into the mix of pebbles and sand, but once spotted it’s hard to believe how many ancient relics have always been just underfoot.

Though rare today, crinoid bioherms, the sea-lily equivalent of a coral reef, dominated the area during the Mississippian period, spanning from 340-350 million years ago. To provide some context, dinosaurs (though they never set claw in Indiana), lived about 100 million years later. The prehistoric reef rested upon the Borden Group rocks, an outcropping of siltstone, sandstone, shale, and limestone that stretches across Indiana like a diagonal stripe from the Ohio River in Harrison County northwestward to Benton County. The water that deposited most of the Borden Group rocks flowed from the newly formed Appalachian Mountains.

The limestone, however, was not deposited by these ancient waters. Instead, this sedimentary rock was formed largely from the remains of shelled organisms that were cemented together through a combination of time and pressure. Not only is limestone made from the remains of organisms like corals and mollusks with calciumcarbonate shells, but it is also a great preserver of fossils. It’s no wonder then that southern Indiana, known for its abundant limestone, would also become known for its wealth of crinoid skeletons. Over 80 species of crinoids were discovered at Allens Creek, just four miles southwest of the Peninsula Preserve.

Though many of us look upwards while winding along the trail to spot bald eagles and red-shouldered hawks, you should cast your gaze downward when you head to the shoreline. You are likely to see many of the crinoid stem discs (columnals) while you enjoy the cool breeze off the lake. While you’re looking down, you may spot brachiopod and byozoan fossils and geodes, in addition of course to some of the more modern creatures that now inhabit the area.

Crinoid fossils have provided paleontologists insight into the paleoecology of ecosystems long since altered by combinations of extinctions and evolution. They also give every discerning hiker an opportunity to peek into that prehistoric world. We think about the land as a shared resource – something to be protected because of its current or future ecological value. There is also a value in protecting these places because of their ability to inform us about the past.

While the land above the shoreline is protected by Sycamore (and the shoreline by the Indiana DNR), the fossils are protected in two ways. First, fossil hunting on state property is prohibited. But even without this legal barrier, many hikers also believe that the best way to enjoy the natural world sustainably is to leave no trace, even as we enjoy the traces left by ancient animals like crinoids. Leave No Trace is a movement that encourages hikers to leave what they find in the same way they found them and to take out whatever they bring into the forest, in addition to being wary about the introduction of nonnative species and respecting wildlife. Through this kind of ethic, we not only encourage the preservation of our current environment, but also of our natural heritage.

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The Native Plant Project https://sycamorelandtrust.org/blog/twigsummer18-native-plant-project/ https://sycamorelandtrust.org/blog/twigsummer18-native-plant-project/#respond Thu, 07 Jun 2018 14:20:23 +0000 http://sycamorelandtrust.org/?p=4580 By Abby Henkel, Communications Director, and Shane Gibson, Environmental Education Director This article originally appeared in the summer 2018 issue of The Twig, our 24-page member newsletter. To read more from this issue, click here. To become a member and receive The Twig in the mail, become a member. “Life finds a way.” – Dr. Ian Malcolm, Jurassic Park Dr. Malcolm was referring to dinosaurs in his legendary quote about adaptation, but it applies just...  [Read More]

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By Abby Henkel, Communications Director, and Shane Gibson, Environmental Education Director

This article originally appeared in the summer 2018 issue of The Twig, our 24-page member newsletter. To read more from this issue, click here. To become a member and receive The Twig in the mail, become a member.

Jeremy Hogan | Herald-Times
Rhianna Russell removes a native plant before planting it at Templeton Elementary School, Thursday, September 7, 2017 in Bloomington, Ind.

“Life finds a way.”

– Dr. Ian Malcolm, Jurassic Park

Dr. Malcolm was referring to dinosaurs in his legendary quote about adaptation, but it applies just as well to the plants and animals that surround us here in southern Indiana. What does “adaptation” mean when it comes to nature? That’s one of the first questions we ask students during our native plant activities in classrooms. After students help build a definition, we sum it up with this: An adaptation is something a plant or animal has or does that helps it to survive.

At any age, the children we work with are remarkably good at coming up with a definition close to this one. By asking them questions, we encourage students to start thinking about the world around them in a new way. The books in the series “Who’s Been Here?” challenge readers to dig deeper when observing their surroundings, by questioning what they see and using logic to deduce an answer that makes sense.

The Native Plant Project is hands-on learning. We discuss plant adaptations of seed protection and dispersal, which gets us to the adaptations that make sure the plant germinates at just the right time. The seeds we use need cold, moist stratification of at least 30 days. This “pretend winter” wakes them up from their dormant state. A grant from the Indiana Native Plant and Wildlife Society (INPAWS) has funded the purchase of the seeds and soil for our Native Plant Project for nearly three years, and we reuse seed trays year after year. To illustrate the different ways plants can adapt to their environment and ensure their species’ longevity, we talk about the seeds from these species:

This graphic comes from the print version of The Twig; click the link at the top of the page to view a PDF of the entire summer 2018 issue

When the seeds grown by the students are ready for transplant, we help them prepare little pots to take home. In 2017, the students at Helmsburg Elementary in Brown County raised enough plants for every 3rd and 4th grader in the school to take several home with leftovers to share with staff at the school. This May, they shared their extra plants at the Beanblossom Farmers’ Market, with the kids themselves running the booth.

Education that is immersive and interdisciplinary can have far-reaching effects. This simple project – growing seeds in the classroom, taking them home, and sharing them with community members – introduces students to the importance of native plants, the complexities ofecosystems, and the importance of philanthropy. All the while, they might think they’re just getting to play in the dirt.

Sycamore also works with schools to incorporate native plants on their campuses. The Duke Energy Foundation and the Brabson Library and Educational Foundation have generously funded the Native Plant Project, enabling us to purchase flowers, grasses, shrubs, planting tools, mulch, and trees.

At Helmsburg Elementary School in Brown County, students counted more than 30 monarch caterpillars on milkweed they had planted in their school garden.

Kids relish the time outdoors as they amend the soil, put down mulch, weed, and plant. Using shovels, rakes, and wheelbarrows brings them joy and excitement. As Lily Albright, Principal at Unionville Elementary, recently wrote to us: “There are cheers, literally, when the words ‘Mr. Gibson is coming today’ are spoken.”

You don’t need to have a large amount of land to build meaningful habitat for native species. In fact, the book “Plant a Pocket of Prairie” by Phyllis Root shows readers how a garden of any size can be home to a world of fascinating critters.

These gardens on school campuses – or in your backyard – can be filled with milkweed for monarch caterpillars (did you catch the article in our last issue of The Twig?), Joe Pye weed for all sorts of pollinators like butterflies and long-tongued bees, and rattlesnake master for wildlife cover and insect food.

If we each plant a pocket of prairie, little by little, together we can create a substantial amount of habitat for our pollinators and other creatures that depend on native plants. This is how Sycamore builds a nature preserve. Beanblossom Bottoms Nature Preserve started out as about 80 acres two decades ago. Today, Sycamore protects and stewards nearly 1,200 acres in the Beanblossom Creek Conservation Area. Now we see bobcats, the endangered Kirtland’s snake, bald eagles, and many types of warblers at this wetland forest teeming with life.

 

Why Native Plants?

Biodiversity
Native pollinators and other wildlife have co-evolved with native plants, building a mutually beneficial relationship that is crucial to the survival of both plants and animals.

Ecosystem Services
Native plants and ecosystems help to clean our air and water, and create healthy soils.

Natural Heritage
Remnant natural areas offer a glimpse into Indiana’s wild past, and what we might attain if we restore some of that habitat.

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Visit a Preserve https://sycamorelandtrust.org/image-slider/visit-a-preserve/ https://sycamorelandtrust.org/image-slider/visit-a-preserve/#respond Thu, 07 Jun 2018 14:09:03 +0000 http://sycamorelandtrust.org/?p=4578 The post Visit a Preserve appeared first on Sycamore Land Trust.

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Tick season? No problem. https://sycamorelandtrust.org/blog/tick-season-no-problem/ https://sycamorelandtrust.org/blog/tick-season-no-problem/#respond Tue, 15 May 2018 15:39:24 +0000 http://sycamorelandtrust.org/?p=4557 by Abby Henkel, Communications Director Anyone else feel like 2018 has gone from the Long Night (a la Game of Thrones) right into summer? Suddenly we’re basking in the heat of the summer sun, which I love, but along with that come ticks galore and poison ivy creeping along the forest path and up my ankles. I’m looking at you, climate change (but that’s another conversation). But don’t let these...  [Read More]

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by Abby Henkel, Communications Director

Anyone else feel like 2018 has gone from the Long Night (a la Game of Thrones) right into summer? Suddenly we’re basking in the heat of the summer sun, which I love, but along with that come ticks galore and poison ivy creeping along the forest path and up my ankles. I’m looking at you, climate change (but that’s another conversation).

Here I am just a few weeks ago at Paynetown SRA at a Hiking for Health event, back when you still needed long sleeves outside. Photo by Danielle Kay Lucas.

But don’t let these hazards stop you from enjoying the great outdoors. Here are some tips for making the most of your outside time this summer while avoiding the risks that come along with it.

 

Ticks

Jack loved our hike to this secluded beach on Lake Monroe last summer. He did not like all the ticks he got.

Risks: In addition to being creepy, ticks in Indiana carry lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever among other less common illnesses.
How they get you: Ticks like to hide in tall grasses, brush, and shrubs, where they can jump onto passing mammals.
Protection: Use an eco-friendly bug spray whenever you go hiking. Wear shoes and socks that cover your feet. If you’ll be out in grassy or brushy areas, long pants and even long sleeves are encouraged. Wear a hat in the woods. As soon as you’re done with your hike, do a complete tick check of you, your kids, and your dogs. All dogs should receive a flea/tick repellent.
Removal: If you find a tick that has bitten you, remove it with a clean tweezer placed as close to the skin as possible so you remove the head. Pull it out straight and don’t twist or squeeze. Put it in a solution of rubbing alcohol and water, then flush it down the toilet when you’ve gotten them all out. Last summer I found out the hard way that my dog’s tick medicine wasn’t working, when I had to pick 37 ticks off the poor little guy after a long hike!

 

Mosquitoes

Risks: Though not common in Indiana, mosquitoes can spread West Nile virus, zika, and dengue. And their bites itch like woah.
How they get you: Mosquitoes breed in standing water, so if you’ve got a puddles or a pond without a fountain on your property, you’re likely harboring lots of baby mosquitoes.
Protection: Bug spray is your best defense.
Treatment: Elevating and icing the bitten area will help reduce swelling, and if you have a lot of bites, take an antihistamine like Benadryl.

 

Poison Ivy

Risks: Itchy, bumpy red rash and blisters that can cause severe allergic reactions in some people. Approximately 50% of people are allergic in some way.
How it gets you: Poison ivy can creep along the forest floor and grow up the trunks of trees and bushes. It can last for weeks on your skin, and can be picked up from contaminated clothes, shoes, garden equipment, and pets.
Protection: The best way to prevent a reaction is not to touch it in the first place, so memorize what it looks like and stay far away! Just a slight brush with a leaf causes a reaction in me less than 24 hours after the encounter.
Treatment: If you know you’ve come into contact with it, take a shower as soon as possible (within 10 to 20 minutes) using soap. I have also used a diluted rubbing alcohol solution on a washcloth to immediately wash exposed areas and get the oil off my skin. Wash all clothing that might have been exposed. To treat the itchy rash, calamine lotion and topical steroids like hydrocortisone can work well for relieving the intense itching.

Poison ivy has three leaves originating from the same stem. They can have a reddish tint in early summer.

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In Memory https://sycamorelandtrust.org/blog/in-memory/ https://sycamorelandtrust.org/blog/in-memory/#respond Tue, 24 Apr 2018 15:00:35 +0000 http://sycamorelandtrust.org/?p=4514 Herbert “Herb” W. Hoover Herbert Wyle Hoover, a proud Hoosier, father, and Columbus, Indiana native, recently passed away on March 12, 2018 at age 59. Herb, as his friends and family called him, was a lifelong lover of nature and a passionate member of Sycamore Land Trust. His great work in conservation will always be remembered. Herb helped found and served on the Board of Directors of Gnaw Bone Camp...  [Read More]

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Herb Hoover (1959-2018)

Herbert “Herb” W. Hoover

Herbert Wyle Hoover, a proud Hoosier, father, and Columbus, Indiana native, recently passed away on March 12, 2018 at age 59.

Herb, as his friends and family called him, was a lifelong lover of nature and a passionate member of Sycamore Land Trust. His great work in conservation will always be remembered. Herb helped found and served on the Board of Directors of Gnaw Bone Camp Nature Preserve in order to preserve many acres of local Indiana forestlands. As president of East Monroe Water Corporation, he helped ensure the farmers and local residents of rural Monroe County had access to potable water.

He was an avid Boy Scout, becoming an Eagle Scout and senior counselor at Gnaw Bone Camp.  He attended DePauw University with a BS in Biology while serving as president of Phi Kappa Psi social fraternity. Passionate about helping those in need, he served in the Peace Corp in Sierra Leone to help teach communities about sustainable aquaculture and build hydrofarms. He then attended Indiana University where he earned a Master’s of Science in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs.

He met Catherine Green his former wife of 15 years in grad school, who he had two Children with, Holly Greene Hoover and Scott Wyle Hoover.

In lieu of flowers, please make donations to local Boy Scout Troop 110 of Unionville in care of Robin Green, 4741 N. Benton Dr., Bloomington, IN 47408.

For more information, please follow this link.

Donald “Don” Whitehead

Don Whitehead (1932-2018)

Donald Whitehead passed away at Stonecroft Health Campus on February 6, 2018 at the age of 85. Born in Quincy Massachusetts on September 14, 1932 as the son of Arthur and Olive Whitehead. He resided in Bloomington, Indiana for the last 51 years. Don predeceased by his wife of 33 years, Elizabeth Pleasants Whitehead and his children, Peter Whitehead and Pamela Whitehead, and grandchildren Jaclyn Whitehead Kroll and Colin Whitehead.

His passion for nature began when he was young, making trips with his father to the White Mountains in New Hampshire and going birding along the shores of the Atlantic. This love for nature led to some of his great contributions in conservation. He joined the Sassafras Audubon Society of Bloomington and led the annual Christmas Bird Count for 25 years. In the society, He received the Lifetime Conservationist Award, along with a new annual award that was named in his honor. We at Sycamore Land Trust thank him tremendously for his generosity and service on our Advisory Board.

Don graduated from Harvard University in 1954 and continued on with his doctoral work. His work focused on paleobotany and paleoecology and led him to work in both Denmark and Norway. He then taught at Williams College in Massachusetts for seven years and began his IU career teaching in the Biology Department in 1967. He led research on the Paleolimnological Investigations of Recent Lake Acidification project, which analyzed changes in lake acidification caused by fossil fuel use. Later his research focused on studying the effects of forest fragmentation on migrant songbirds.

In lieu of flowers, the Whitehead’s have established two funds. The first is in honor of Don and Betsy Whitehead for the Sycamore Land Trust; a  nature trail will be dedicated in their names this fall. To donate, visit our website and select the “Donation Reason,” then select “In Honor of,” and note that the donation is for Don Whitehead. The second fund is through the Indiana University Foundation to give selected graduate students funds for field research expenses. These donations should be made in memory of Professor Donald Whitehead to the IU foundation.

Here is a link to his obituary for more information.

Elizabeth “Betsy” Pleasants Whitehead

Elizabeth Whitehead (1943-2017)

Elizabeth “Betsy” Pleasants Whitehead, 73, passed away peacefully on September 24, 2017 at Autumn Hills Special Care Center. She was born on October 25, 1943 in Washington, DC, the daughter of Richard R. Pleasants and Helen Ewing Pleasants. She lived in Bloomington, Indiana for the last 34 years with husband Professor Donald R. Whitehead.

She began her career by earning a BA in Education from Boston University and taught elementary school in Jamaica Plains, MA. She served as Executive Assistant to the Director at the Kennedy Institute for Politics at Harvard University. She then worked with Area 10 Agency on Aging in Indiana.

She is survived by her siblings, Belinda P. Smith of Manchester, MA, Richard E. Pleasants of Concord, MA and Cornelia Pleasants of Norridgewock, ME. Her stepchildren include Pamela Whitehead of Sacramento, CA and Peter Whitehead of Woodstock, GA, and grandchildren Jaclyn Whitehead Kroll and Colin Whitehead.

As mentioned above, the Whitehead family established a fund in honor both of her and Don at Sycamore Land Trust where we will commemorate them for their love for and time spent with the local natural land.

Here is a link to her obituary for more information.

Rudolf Turner (1937-2018)

Francis Rudolf “Rudi” Turner

Rudolf “Rudi” Turner of Bloomingon, IN passed away January 25, 2018 at the Residence of McCormick’s Creek in Spencer, Indiana. He was preceded by his father, Aurther Francis Turner, mother Gretel Margerete Kreusler Turner, and Sister Gretel Susan Turner.

Rudi was born in Boston, Massachusetts on Sepetmber 17, 1937.  Rudi began his education with Bachelor’s (1959) and Master’s (1962) degrees in Biology from the University of Rochester, followed by a Ph.D. from the University of Texas, Austin in 1966, and later a post doc in the Cell Research Institute.  His expertise was in Transmission and Scanning Electronic Microscopy, with some of his famous micrographs appearing in biology textbooks.

Rudi had a passion for art as well. He made jewelry inspired by nature by electroplating metals directly onto flowers, leaves, feathers, and other natural objects. He bred and grew orchids, supported programs at WonderLab, and was active in the Lawrence County Rock and Mineral club.

In 2013, Rudi and colleague David Dilcher donated 68 acres of land in Greene county to the Sycamore Land Trust known as the Dilcher-Turner Canyon Forest. Donations such as this are invaluable to our organization and the surrounding community that gets the opportunity to experience them.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to one of his favorite local organizations: WonderLab, Monroe County Animal Shelter, Sycamore Land Trust, or the Monroe County Historical Society.

Here is a link to his obituary for more information.

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Hiking with Dogs https://sycamorelandtrust.org/blog/hiking-with-dogs/ https://sycamorelandtrust.org/blog/hiking-with-dogs/#respond Tue, 10 Apr 2018 13:48:25 +0000 http://sycamorelandtrust.org/?p=4500 There’s nothing like enjoying the great outdoors with a good hike, and nothing makes it better than with our best friends — dogs. They appreciate the experience of meandering through the woods as much as us we do, but in order to make it safe and enjoyable for everyone, please be sure you keep our dogs close by and on a leash. There are several reasons to always keep your dogs...  [Read More]

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Sycamore members Malcolm Dalglish and Judy Klein and their dog Lola at Porter West Preserve.

There’s nothing like enjoying the great outdoors with a good hike, and nothing makes it better than with our best friends — dogs. They appreciate the experience of meandering through the woods as much as us we do, but in order to make it safe and enjoyable for everyone, please be sure you keep our dogs close by and on a leash. There are several reasons to always keep your dogs leashed and under control when visiting Sycamore’s preserves.

To keep from disturbing the natural habitat

Just as hikers ought to stay off the trail, so should the pups we bring with us. While our canine friends are animals too, their curious noses can take them far away. Our preserves are home to many species of animals and plants that are best kept untouched and undisturbed. Unnecessary trampling of plants can cause harm.

Norbert and Bugg taking a hike at Laura Hare Nature Preserve at Downey Hill with Instagrammer @momi_n_the_boys.

To avoid insects and other nasty things

Dogs can pick up some unpleasant things when they go off the trail and find themselves in the thick of the woods. Fleas, ticks, poisonous spiders, and other insects may be hitching a ride on your dog. Even infectious diseases can be picked up in natural areas, particularly those found in water. Not only that, their fur can easily collect burrs and other hard-to-remove plant material that is best left where it was found.

Sycamore’s own Jack Henkel (puppy of Abby Henkel) enjoying a snowy hike in January.

Snakes!

Indiana is home to some poisonous snakes that might be hiding in the underbrush ready to strike. Venomous snakes like northern copperheads and the endangered timber rattlesnake make their home in Southern Indiana. It’s always important to watch out for snakes for your sake and that of your dog.

To avoid disturbing other hikers, their dogs, and neighbors living nearby

Some dogs just can’t resist saying hello to just about everybody. However, it’s best to keep your dog on a leash to avoid any unwanted conflicts with those nearby, including other dogs. Be sure to greet others you come across along the way, and inform them about your dog’s behavior.

Devlin Stalion (@devlinstalion) and his dog enjoyed a misty hike at the Amy Weingartner Branigin Peninsula Preserve.

Dog Search and Rescue

Sometimes dogs can get lost romping through the woods, or even jumping from cliffs, hopping into creeks and bodies of water, into unreachable areas where they can get stranded. Many of our preserves have bluffs, cliffs, and other features that no human or dog should enter. Keep your dogs close by and leashed so they don’t end up in any sticky situations.

It’s the law

State law requires that dogs remain leashed, even at nature preserves, in order to minimize the impact on nature and to make sure the visitation experience is best for everyone.

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Join Team Sycamore in the 2018 Climate Ride https://sycamorelandtrust.org/blog/join-team-sycamore-2018-climate-ride/ https://sycamorelandtrust.org/blog/join-team-sycamore-2018-climate-ride/#respond Mon, 12 Mar 2018 20:54:13 +0000 http://sycamorelandtrust.org/?p=4476 by Tom Zeller, Sycamore member and former board member When embarking on the challenge of the Climate Ride in 2015, I knew it would be a challenge but also fun. Turns out I overestimated the challenges, both physical and fundraising, and waaay underestimated how much fun the ride would be. For one thing, Team Sycamore was simply a great group of people from Bloomington and I made some awesome new...  [Read More]

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by Tom Zeller, Sycamore member and former board member

Tom Zeller at Sycamore headquarters, getting ready to start the 2015 Climate Ride

When embarking on the challenge of the Climate Ride in 2015, I knew it would be a challenge but also fun. Turns out I overestimated the challenges, both physical and fundraising, and waaay underestimated how much fun the ride would be.

For one thing, Team Sycamore was simply a great group of people from Bloomington and I made some awesome new friends as we did training rides weekly all summer. Collectively we raised about $35,000 for Sycamore Land Trust. By the time the ride rolled around, my cycling stamina was easily up to the task. I was especially worried about the multi-day aspect: would I get progressively more tired and sore? Somehow, overnight recovery from cycling seems pretty complete. I didn’t hear any of the riders complain of fatigue, and all were ready to go each morning.

The ride was fun. For one thing, I knew all the riders were environmentalists, and mostly activists in some group or other, so there was an initial commonality with all the strangers making conversation easy.

Team Sycamore for the 2015 Climate Ride

The Climate Ride organization handles all the details of logistics including lodging, meals, rest stops (with food) and detailed directions for each day’s ride. Bring your bike, a toothbrush and a few clothes and it all just happens.

I found the fundraising easier than I expected. Probably this is because Sycamore is such a productive and solid organization that people readily want to support it.

2018 Midwest Climate Ride Details

This year’s ride takes place September 15-18 in northern Michigan. Interested in joining the team or donating to the cause? Contact Abby Henkel, Communications Director, to learn more: abby@sycamorelandtrust.org.

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