Conservation & Advocacy News
Cicadas are coming! Help track them!
Tens of millions of Brood X cicadas will soon be emerging in Indiana, as part of their 17-year-cycle, and scientists need your help in tracking and documenting them! Dr. Elizabeth Barnes, an exotic pest educator at Purdue University, is asking for Indiana’s citizen-scientists (like you!) to sign up with one of two apps:
According to an Indy Star article, “Both apps are free and are available on both iPhone and Android devices…. Download either or both apps. You will need to sign up and, when prompted, also enable your phone to record the date and location of where you take your cicada photographs.”
You’ll take your photographs through the app, and you can even enable your phone’s microphone to record and log the cicada's characteristic song.
“That photograph will serve as a ‘voucher specimen,’ as the Cicada Safari app calls it. It will confirm that you saw a cicada (or many), and help researchers identify its species as well as when and where your observation occurred.”
The article further advises, “take as sharp and close up of a photograph as possible so researchers can make out distinguishing features.” And don't be afraid to get close! Cicadas don't bite or sting.
Finally, after several years of snags, delays, and changes in location, our long-planned Chimney Swift tower has finally been built! In partnership with Friends of the Limberlost, and with a grant from the National Audubon Society, in late 2020 our long-planned tower was erected in the town of Geneva.
Curt Burnette, naturalist at the Limberlost State Historic Site, constructed the tower, attaching it to a barn at the end of W. Shackley St., a couple blocks away from the Limberlost cabin and visitor center (200 6th St. in Geneva).
To learn more about the saga of this Chimney Swift tower, see page 3 of our March-May Cooper’s Talk newsletter.
Because of old growth forest loss and and the capping or destruction of chimneys, artificial towers can provide Chimney Swifts with much-needed nesting and roosting habitat.
If you'd like to learn how to build and erect a Chimney Swift tower on your own property, visit www.chimneyswitfts.org.
Petitions to change two state forests--Salamonie and Frances Slocum State Forests--into state parks temporarily halted plans to log these forests. Unfortunately, though, the Indiana Natural Resources Commission denied the petition to create the new state parks. These forests are therefore still vulnerable to logging at any time.
Salamonie River State Forest (a 950-acre site southwest of Huntington) is a wonderful property with great plant diversity and wonderful native wildflowers. Many bird species can be seen there and at the adjacent reservoir, and it is a favorite destination for our own chapter field trips. Frances Slocum State Forest is a 500-acre site southeast of Peru. Logging would fragment the forests and degrade wildlife habitats.
Elevating these forests to the status of state parks would help to preserve healthy wildlife habitat for us and future generations. With the scarcity of natural areas accessible to East Central Indiana residents, it makes no sense to irrevocably damage lovely areas like Salamonie and Frances Slocum.
For more information, visit the Indiana Forest Alliance website.