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Keeping the Conservation Community Connected - 104 People attend Conservation Happenings Meeting at Muscatatuck National Wildlife Refuge
Midwest Region, April 1, 2013
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Presentation by Salem High School Students about their planning, implementation and ongoing work with their 66  acre outdoor lab.
Presentation by Salem High School Students about their planning, implementation and ongoing work with their 66 acre outdoor lab. - Photo Credit: Carroll Ritter/slt
Salem High School Science Teacher and Four High School Senior Science Club members along with Sycamore Land Trust Environmental Coordinator and PFW Biologist all smiles after excellent presentation to a packed house at Muscatatuck NWR Visitor Center.
Salem High School Science Teacher and Four High School Senior Science Club members along with Sycamore Land Trust Environmental Coordinator and PFW Biologist all smiles after excellent presentation to a packed house at Muscatatuck NWR Visitor Center. - Photo Credit: Carrol Ritter/SLT
Lunch was sponsored by the Muscatatuck Wildlife Society and Big Oaks Conservation Society allowing people to enjoy eating pizza, have good discussions and spending time to mix and mingle and see the refuge visitor center exhibits, bird viewing room and bookstore.
Lunch was sponsored by the Muscatatuck Wildlife Society and Big Oaks Conservation Society allowing people to enjoy eating pizza, have good discussions and spending time to mix and mingle and see the refuge visitor center exhibits, bird viewing room and bookstore. - Photo Credit: Celeste Hilderbrand/Muscatatuck Volunteer

Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program Biologist Susan Knowles of Muscatatuck National Wildlife Refuge facilitated a meeting at the refuge March 5, 2013. This meeting was attended by 104 people and aimed to keep the conservation community connected and informed about conservation efforts in Southern Indiana.

Speakers at the fourth annual Southern Indiana Conservation Happenings meeting talked about:

  • Current status of Freshwater Mussels in Southern Indiana; Brant Fisher, Indiana Department of Natural Resources Nongame Aquatic Biologist
  • Wetland, Prairie and Forest Restoration of the 400 acre Home Farm; a model example and its use as an Environmental Education and bird watching site. Robert and Ellen Mulford, landowners Versailles, Ind.
  • Development of the Salem Community School 66 acre Outdoor Lab and Environmental Education Area for use by local schools and the community; John Calhoun, Salem High School Teacher; Students Daniel Mount, Nicole Clark, Mel Cooke and Dustin Day; Carroll Ritter, Sycamore Land Trust
  • Sustainable Natural Resource Business Enterprises with compatible wildlife habitat management. What is happening in Southern Indiana to help landowners earn income; Brian MacGowan, Purdue Extension Wildlife Specialist
  • Getting Youth interested in the outdoors; archery in the schools: Bill Beville, IDNR Conservation Officer
  • White-Nose Syndrome Update and an Overview of the Indiana Bat Forest Management Guidelines and Their Habitat Management Implications (i.e.: Rx burning and timber harvest); Rich Geboy, USFWS Wildlife Biologist, Andy King USFWS Wildlife Biologist

The day ended with updating U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service activities in Indiana and was conducted by managers Joe Robb of Big Oaks, Bill McCoy of Patoka, and Wildlife Refuge Specialist Dan Wood of Muscatatuck National Wildlife Refuges, as well as Partners for Fish and Wildlife State Coordinator Jeff Kiefer.

Indiana Department of Natural Resources staff updated progress made in the Muscatatuck Bottoms Healthy Rivers INitiative area, the Wabash area and Indiana’s State Wildlife Action Plan that is currently being updated. A refuge tour was provided for those that wanted one and many participants toured the refuge on their own. Wildlife highlights included seeing the bald eagles on the nest along with many duck species, river otters and Sandhill cranes.

Attendance at this year’s meeting has grown to 104 people, representing a diversity of conservation fields including:

  • Landowners, 2 Watershed Projects,
  • Five Soil and Water Conservation Districts
  • Historic Hoosier Hills-RC&D
  • Indiana Department of Natural Resources (numerous divisions and volunteers)
  • Indiana Department of Environmental Management
  • Southern Indiana Cooperative Weed Management Area
  • Consultants and Contractors
  • Salem High School Science Club,
  • Nongovermental organizations (Sycamore Land Trust, Heritage Trail Conservancy, Red-Tail Land Conservancy ,The Nature Conservancy), Purdue University, refuge friends groups volunteers and interns
  • USDA –Natural Resource Conservation Service and Farm Service Agency,
  • Duke Energy
  • American Electric Power
  • Southeastern Indiana Recycling District
  • USFWS-refuges, Partners For Fish and Wildlife and Ecological Services.

Lunch was sponsored by the Muscatatuck Wildlife Society and Big Oaks Conservation Society. People enjoyed eating pizza, good discussions and the refuge bookstore, exhibits and bird viewing room at the refuge visitor center.

A lot of positive feedback including many people wishing to share their Southern Indiana Conservation Happenings as future speakers has been received and plans to conduct this meeting annually will continue.
Some Participant comments included:

  • I didn’t know Mussels were so interesting
  • It was a great day! Lots of information in one place!! Thanks for hosting. Looking forward to next year!!
  • Thanks for coordinating this event. The presentations were diverse and informative, and I think the audience really enjoyed it. It's a good opportunity to get together and network, and it was a great turnout.
  • I appreciate all your efforts in pulling it together.
  • We enjoyed the day - especially the time in the bookstore. We always find wonderful items that we can add to our collection of nature resources in our home library
  • Thanks You did a great job of organizing and running the meeting. Thanks for the opportunity to speak.
  • Just wanted to say I enjoyed the meeting again this year and got to meet some new interesting people
  • I enjoyed the day very much and learned a lot from the other speakers and talking with other participants.
  • It was a pleasant meeting with good, diverse presentations.
  • I really enjoyed the program yesterday – great job!
  • Thanks. I enjoyed doing it. I got to catch up with some folks I haven't seen in a while.

The 2012 meeting was highlighted on Indiana Outdoors Adventures and can be found On episode 46 about 23 minutes into it at http://www.IndianaOutdoorAdventures.com or http://www.indianaoutdooradventures.com/episodes/episode46.html


Contact Info: Larry Dean, 612-713-5312, Larry_Dean@fws.gov



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