Guest Contributor

Invasive Species Awareness Week: Burning Bush

By: Mary Nell Murphy While driving on Hwy 12 near the Indiana Dunes parks last fall, I stopped at a wayside for a stretch break and looked across the road to a sea of watermelon pink under the forest canopy. Delightful? No! As I suspected, and as I confirmed “upon further review of the field” …

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Invasive Species Awareness Week: Oriental Bittersweet

By: Glenn Major As a child, our mother sent us out to collect Bittersweet vines. Their attractive fruit mixed with gourds from the garden made for a festive holiday decoration of table or mantle. Folks wove them into colorful Christmas wreaths and candle rings. There lies the problem; these attractive vines imported from Asia in …

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Drama on Damon Run: Mink Monitoring Part 3

This story is part of an ongoing wildlife monitoring project along a tributary of Salt Creek, Damon Run,  that meanders through Meadowbrook Nature Preserve. Check out Part 1 and Part 2 to catch up!   By: Jim Haniford Nothing prepared me for winter through the lens of the trail camera.  Once Sarah fine-tuned its sensitivity, …

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Hikers at Lydic Bog Nature Presreve

Winter Hiking? Sure!

Winter Hiking? Sure! By Evie Kirkwood Many avid warm weather hikers shun the chill of winter, but it’s a great time to be on the trails. If you’ve stayed away from winter hiking, wary of slippery or cold conditions, the right gear can improve the experience.

photo of fungus on tree trunk

Home Sweet Forest Home

By Glenn N. Major You can call them snags, nurse logs, stumps… Forestry folks call them “coarse woody debris”. Much of the life in our forests call them home.  Some of us this think they are natural modern art. They are so important to forest ecology. That is why we let them lay where they …

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Bags of neatly labled plant seed

Discovering a New Passion in The Great Marsh

By Dale Nichols Given the right growing conditions, the budding seed of curiosity can sometimes blossom into a wonderful new passion.  My name is Dale Nichols, and this is a story about a three-and-a-half-month journey of discovery involving my own curiosity with, well, seeds—more specifically the seeds of native plants growing in the Shirley Heinze …

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Headless Zombie Oak Haunts Walnut Woods Preserve!

By Glenn N. Major, Volunteer Preserve Steward at Walnut Woods Nature Preserve Maybe we should rename Walnut Woods to Sleepy Hollow. Long ago, a Red Oak tree at the preserve may have been hit by lightning, resulting in its canopy falling to the forest floor where it sits today, feeding mushrooms and moss. Its branchless, …

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photo of Brad Bumgardner withbinoculars at Walner Nature Presreve in Chesterton

First Shirley Heinze Land Trust Bird Count with Indiana Audubon Society

By Terry Bonace On a crisp and clear September 19 morning, a group of skilled birders spread out to visit sixteen Shirley Heinze Land Trust nature preserves across northwestern Indiana. From Lake County to St. Joseph County, they were out looking for migratory birds on one of our peak fall migration days. The knowledge of …

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