Images from 2018 Events

Locations and Partners:


Dunn’s Woods- March 31, 2018
Bloomington, Indiana

A modest forest stands at the green heart of Indiana University’s 2000-acre campus Bloomington. Purchased in 1883 from the Dunn family, Dunn’s Woods was originally part of the Dunn family farm. Photographs from the turn of the 20th Century show Dunn’s Woods as a lawn with scattered trees and no underbrush. Combined with the sloping and rolling terrain that would have been unsuitable for row crops, this suggests prior use as a hog and cattle pasture. Early buildings formed a crescent around the wooded quadrangle, and the entire area, known as the Old Crescent, earned designation in the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.

David Starr Jordan, who served on the biology faculty before his selection as IU president in 1885, remarked to President Lemuel Moss as the Dunn’s Woods property was acquired: "I am glad to hear of the general brightness of the prospects of the institution. ... The location is certainly better among those great maples. I hope that you will let none be cut down, except when their removal is absolutely necessary." So began an unbroken tradition of respect and reverence for the trees and the landscape of Dunn's Woods that has continued to the present.

In 2010, our team began working to document the cultural and land use history of the woods. This knowledge, in combination with our ecological research, is essential to a full understanding of the diverse forces that have shaped this special place and to our efforts to control the invasion of Purple Wintercreeper (Euonymus fortunei) and other exotic invasive plants, to promote native flora (including perennial wildflowers), and to educate all about this iconic example of Midwestern forest biodiversity at the heart of a great public university.

Urban woodlands supply habitat for resident and migratory birds and many other animals, and provide aesthetic enjoyment, biological carbon sinks, air and water purification, and numerous other ecological services. Yet urban woodlands tend to be small, fragmented, and close to conventionally landscaped yards, making them especially vulnerable to degradation from exotic invasive plants. Indeed, ~85% of woody invasive species come from the landscaping trade. The urban woodlands in Bloomington, Indiana are heavily invaded by such invasive plants, with correspondingly low biodiversity of native plant species and reduced habitat diversity for the native insects, birds, and other species that have coevolved with native plant species.

In 2010, an interdisciplinary team of faculty, students, and professionals from the campus and community pooled their knowledge and skills to research, restore, and educate about urban woodlands. The project was kicked off by an Indiana University Office of Sustainability Research Development Grant for Dunn’s Woods in 2010, and expanded to Latimer Woods in 2012 with additional support from the National Audubon Society and Toyota’s TogetherGreen Innovation Grant Program.


Johnson County Park - April 28, 2018

2949 E. North St. Nineveh, IN 46164 Johnson County, Indiana

To volunteer: Megan Bowman

Approximately 5 miles of wooded hiking trails and open fields totaling 561 acres of park land.


The Mary Gray Bird Sanctuary - April 14, 2018 / May 6, 2018

Set aside some time to help with the resource management efforts at Mary Gray Bird Sanctuary, our flagship property owned by Indiana Audubon Society. This special stewardship workday will begin at Brooks Hall at 10am, and last until approximately 1pm. Dawn Slack will lead each work day as we tackle the never ending battle with Oriental bittersweet, viburnum sieboldii, burning bush, stiltgrass, garlic mustard, and more. Each month’s work day will focus on specific species most vulnerable during that period.

Participants should bring bug and tick repellent, water bottles, gloves, and work boots/pants. Long sleeve shirts are also recommended. It is suggested you bring a lunch, but light snacks will also be available. Tools and other equipment will be provided.

It’s a great day at a great piece of property. Please RSVP directly by contacting Dawn Slack at That way we can have enough equipment and snacks.

The Mary Gray Bird Sanctuary is owned and operated by the Indiana Audubon Society and is located south of Connersville in Fayette County.

Alice Green Gray gave the initial 264 acre property to the Indiana Audubon Society in 1943 as a living memorial to her daughter Mary, who preceded her in death. Congressman Finley H. Gray willed additional property to the society in 1947, bringing the total to more than 600 acres. Gifts from members have allowed the acquisition of more property so that the Sanctuary now occupies more than 700 acres.


Mosquito Creek - April 24, 2018

Harrison County, Indiana

The Harrison County Glades - which include Buena Vista Glade, Teeple Glade, Mosquito Creek (1,025 Acres) and Klinstiver Glade - are nestled in the wooded bluffs and ridges of Southern Indiana. This natural community is defined by the limestone bedrock that underpins the entire area and occasionally erupts onto the surface at the glades, splintered by freezing and thawing. These openings are often filled with sun, but lack on soil and water making it difficult for trees to take root and survive. However some of Indiana's oldest trees, well over a century in age but only a foot thick, can be found where the forest meets the glade.

Two water mill ruins lie along Mosquito Creek within the preserve. Swaths of ferns, a small waterfall and Virginia bluebells may be evident while exploring the mill ruins, depending on when you visit this pretty preserve.

A special note - A significant portion of the preserve has been formally dedicated as Sally Reahard Woods at Mosquito Creek, in honor of Miss Sally Reahard, a woman who in her lifetime enabled The Nature Conservancy's Indiana Chapter to achieve so much across the state.

The rugged terrain can be trouble when venturing to Mosquito Creek where no trails have been established, but certainly an adventure can be had if properly prepared with a compass.
Dedicated: State Nature Preserve: 1992 (Mosquito Creek)
Owned and Managed by: The Nature Conservancy and Division of Nature Preserves
Partners: Indiana Heritage Trust & Division of Nature Preserves


Blue River - April 20, 2018

Office of the Nature Conservancy
Laconia, Indiana
To volunteer contact: Cassie Hauswald

The Blue River is special because it is teeming with life--from dazzling darters to lethargic Hellbender salamanders to the silent sentries of the river, freshwater mussels.

Blue River’s cool, spring-fed waters drop in elevation from the western slope of the Knobs in Floyd and Clark Counties to its confluence with the Ohio River in Crawford County. The Blue’s watershed encompasses portions of seven southern Indiana counties and is defined by the abundant limestone here. This limestone not only forms the caves that feed Blue River, but also supports the diversity of plant life found in the Blue River basin.

Rare species such as Short’s Goldenrod, French’s Shooting Star, Appalachian Bugbane and Crested Coralroot Orchids are just a few of the special plants that this landscape supports.

The state endangered Allegheny woodrat also lives in the rocks and ridges of the Blue River.

The Blue River Project was established in Corydon, Indiana in 1994. Allen Pursell has served as Blue River Project Director from the beginning. In the process of working to identify and conserve habitat for rare species in the Blue River basin, many other natural treasures were discovered. These discoveries led the project to expand its scope of conservation in the broader Interior Low Plateau ecoregion of southern Indiana. An area of concentration within the Interior Low Plateau is the Harrison County Glades, where the Blue River office is located.


Pioneer Mother's Memorial Forest - April 27, 2018

Orange County, Indiana

To Volunteer contact: Michael Wilhite,

The Pioneer Mothers Memorial Forest is an 88-acre oak-hickory forest located in Orange County, Indiana, near Paoli. Identified as a surviving fragment of virgin Central Hardwood forest, a woodland type that largely vanished in the 1800s, it is a National Natural Landmark within the Hoosier National Forest. The old-growth woodlot is characterized by mature stands of white ash, white oak, tuliptree, and black walnut. The United States Forest Service (USFS) has measured several of these trees at 60 feet to the first limb and 50 inches in diameter at breast height. As many of these trees were harvested in pioneer times for firewood or construction timber, the Pioneer Mothers Memorial Forest was a valuable relic by the time it was set aside for conservation in 1944.

The Forest Service credits preservation of the mature woodlot to the Cox family. The land was patented in 1816 by Joseph Cox. Unlike most other timbered lands of southern Indiana, the Cox family never harvested the forest during the 124-year duration of family ownership. Upon the death of the last Cox owner in 1940, a preservation effort led to support for purchase of the land by the Forest Service. The USFS continues to manage the parcel for research and recreation purposes. Studies of the forest tract have uncovered a Native American bottomland village area with archeological remains dating to approximately 1380 CE. A 1.3-mile hiking trail is open to the public.


Pyramid Mound Park, March 31, 2018

Knox County, Indiana

To Volunteer contact: Will Drews

Come help be a good steward at this county park that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places! We will continue removing the nasty invasive Asian Bush Honeysuckle from the property. This will also be our group's Weed Wrangle®-Indiana event. Please wear clothes you are willing to work in and bring your own gloves. There will also be refreshments for participants. If you’ve ever wanted to visit Pyramid Mound, now is the time. We’ve cleaned up the area and repaired the road on the property. We will keep the gate closed to keep out unwanted motorized vehicles but foot traffic is welcome. There is a walking trail that leads up the mound, which is believed to be a Native American archaeological site. There’s no entrance fee, but as the sign says, take only photos, leave only footprints. Pyramid Mound is located on Ramsey Road between Main and Willow streets.

Pyramid Mound is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

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