Outdoor Indiana - March/April 2017 - Featured Stories

From the Director
LONG LIVE THE KING?
FRESH AIR
ISLANDS IN THE STREAM

From the Director

FOUNDATION HEAD
FITS DNR FAMILY

Jody Kress at Mounds State Park with his children, Evelyn and Henry.Meet Jody Kress.

He’s the executive director of the Indiana Natural Resources Foundation, the not-for-profit organization that supports the DNR’s mission.

He joined INRF in 2016 after working for a non-profit mission agency serving communities in the United States, Belize, Haiti, Jamaica and Kenya. His résumé also includes experiential and event marketing/management.

Jody earned a bachelor’s degree at Ball State, a master’s at Creighton, and completed fundraising management at The Fundraising School through IU’s Lilly School of Philanthropy.

All of which make him a perfect fit for INRF and its relationship with the DNR.

Jody is refining a strategic plan to continue 26 years of INRF success in protecting and preserving Indiana’s natural and cultural heritage. It focuses on working with the DNR to find new ways to improve the quality of life for Hoosiers by engaging them with the outdoors.

That happens with outreach events like the Ford Hoosier Outdoor Experience (coming in June) and land conservation programs like the President Benjamin Harrison Conservation Trust (previously Indiana Heritage Trust).

Your support, through donations or the purchase of an Environmental License Plate for your vehicles, is what makes it all possible. For more on the Foundation’s work and ways you can help, visit IN.gov/inrf.

Thanks to you, and welcome to Jody.

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LONG LIVE THE KING?

How you can help save monarch butterflies
By Marty Benson, OI staff

A monarch suns itself on orchard grass. Spring break in Mexico usually means sunny beaches with a Spanish accent. Few go to the country’s mountains.

But that’s where Russ Voorhees of Fort Wayne headed in 2012. Jet and charter bus transported him to the country’s oyamel fir forests, which grow at altitudes ranging from 7,900 to 11,800 feet.

He wanted to see other beings that, months earlier, had also flown south.

Monarch butterflies, each of which had somehow migrated to the same roosting areas in the mountains in which their ancestors had rested the year before, were his quest. Science still can’t fully explain the insect’s unique sojourn. Researchers only successfully tracked the migration to Mexico for the first time in 1975.

“There is no other species that has a single generation that migrates over such distance, overwinters in a single location and then comes north again,” said Chip Taylor, one of the world’s leading monarch biologists. “There is nothing like this anywhere else on the planet in terms of the distance, the numbers of butterflies, the resources used and the habitat connections.”

Cutline: A monarch suns itself on orchard grass.

To read the rest of this article subscribe to Outdoor Indiana or pick up a copy at most Barnes and Noble bookstores, and state park inns. To subscribe, click here or call (317) 233-3046.

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FRESH AIR

Creating art without walls
By Nick Werner, OI staff

Plein air painters interpret a street scene during a quick-draw competition at the 2016 First Brush of Spring Paint-out in New Harmony.Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat keeps plein air painters from painting outside.

Most have the mettle of postal carriers.

On an April evening in New Harmony last year, a thunderstorm gushed raindrops and hail pellets just in time for the start of an Indiana Plein Air Painters Association (IPAPA) quick draw contest. The quick draw is not a drawing competition; it’s a timed painting event. Artists have 75 minutes to paint a scene and return to contest headquarters for judging.

The roughly 40 competitors hiked into the deluge with their easels and paints, canvassing the historic city for even the slightest shelter, hoping it would be within range of eye-catching colors, shapes and light.

Cutline: Plein air painters interpret a street scene during a quick-draw competition at the 2016 First Brush of Spring Paint-out in New Harmony.

To read the rest of this article subscribe to Outdoor Indiana or pick up a copy at most Barnes and Noble bookstores, and state park inns. To subscribe, click here or call (317) 233-3046.

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ISLANDS IN THE STREAM

When the Wabash and Ohio rivers changed course, vice followed
By Nick Werner, OI staff

“Bull Island” is a piece of Illinois east of the Wabash River. On Green River Island near Evansville, expansive soybean and corn fields dominate the flat-as-a-pool-table landscape.

It’s hard to imagine this Ohio River bottomland characterized by big agriculture once earned the nickname “Little Chicago.” …

“There is a whole lot of history here,” said the park’s marketing manager, Travis Tornatore. “It’s amazing.”
That history dates to the 1800s, when the Ohio River changed course, jogging south.

Green River Island, which belongs to Kentucky, found itself stranded on the wrong side of the Ohio River. Once the original riverbed dried up, it ceased being an island and attached itself to mainland Indiana. But the Island surname stuck.

This phenomenon is more common on the serpentine Wabash River. Between Terre Haute to the north and Mount Vernon to the south, Indiana crosses the Wabash at least five times, appearing to invade Illinois. Illinois crosses the river at least two times.

Cutline: “Bull Island” is a piece of Illinois east of the Wabash River. Despite its name, the area is actually a peninsula attached to Indiana. In 1972 it hosted the infamous Erie Canal Soda Pop Festival, aka “Woodstock on the Wabash.”

To read the rest of this article subscribe to Outdoor Indiana or pick up a copy at most Barnes and Noble bookstores, and state park inns. To subscribe, click here or call (317) 233-3046.

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