Conservation projects since 2007

Ospreys nesting at Summit Lake

Osprey platformA decade of patience finally paid off:  Ten years after erecting two Osprey platforms at Summit Lake State Park, one of them become the nesting site for a pair of these fish-loving birds of prey!

In late May 2017, an RCAS member confirmed that a nest had been built on one of two platforms located at each end of the dam.  It was one of five platforms built and erected at four different ECI locations in 2007, with help from local utility companies.  (See "Osprey nesting platforms," below.) This particular platform had to be rebuilt in 2012, because of a lightning strike.

With binoculars, the platform can be seen from Sunset Shelter in the park; for a closer look, you’ll need a boat!

To learn more, visit The Courier Times for June 1 article about the nesting pair.  To learn more about Ospreys in Indiana, visit the IDNR website.  (Photo credit:  PhotoOne, published in Courier Times.)

Osborne Park Woods restoration project

Osborne WoodsConservation Committee member Jeff Ray led our Osborne Park Woods habitat restoration project from 2013-14. The 12-acre parcel, once a farm woods, is now owned by the city of New Castle.

Jeff led volunteers in planting 450 native trees on the site, as well as native forbs and grasses.

Osborne Park is on the northeast side of New Castle. (See map.) The restoration area is on the north side of the park, beyond the shelters and parking lots.

Trees, permaculture, rain garden

Tree PlantingIn 2013, Charlie Mason continued his tree-planting mission and worked with a Ball State student group that initiated a permaculture project at Minnetrista.

A rain garden project at Muncie Central High School was organized by Lauren McCabe, Jon Creek, Jason Donati, and Dustin Stillinger to inform students and faculty about the merits of native plants and natural systems.The school’s Recycling Club provided key assistance in installing plants and mulch.

Hughes Nature Preserve project

TG workdayIn 2011 our chapter completed its year-long TogetherGreen Innovation Grant project, removing invasive species and planting native trees and grasses at the Hughes Nature Preserve and adjacent areas along the Cardinal Greenway. Monitoring and eradication of new growth of invasives continues, under the supervision of RCAS Conservation Chair Jon Creek.

The TogetherGreen grant, sponsored by the National Audubon Society and funded by Toyota, provided $20,000 for our project. An additional $15,000 came from the Community Foundation of Muncie and Delaware County.

Volunteers removed invasive species and planted 1,000 native trees and shrubs and 1,200 native grass plugs. Children and youth were also taught about the harmful effects of invasive species and benefits of native species.

Tree-planting and control of invasives

Charlie with TreesOur RCAS Conservation Committee members have focused much of their attention in the last eight years on control of invasive species and planting of native species.

Former Conservation Committee Chair Charlie Mason has purchased, planted, and distributed thousands of saplings to organizations and individuals, and he has educated hundreds of people about the importance of trees.

Zeigler Woods Nature Preserve

ZeigerwoodsIn 2010 our Audubon chapter worked with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources to restore 50 acres of the Zeigler Woods Nature Preserve, in Henry County.

The project converted brome grass, a Eurasian exotic, to native grasses and forbs, ideal habitat for grassland bird species.

Marjorie Zeigler generously donated $2,500 toward the project. Twenty years ago, Marj and her husband Sherman purchased the land and donated it to the Nature Conservancy. It was later turned over to the state.

Osprey nesting platforms

Osprey nesting platformThe RCAS worked with local utility companies to erect five osprey nesting platforms in East Central Indiana in 2007.

Two platforms are at each end of the dam at Summit Lake. The north platform can be seen from CR 750 N; with binoculars, it can also be seen from the Sunset Shelter area.

Another Henry County platform can be seen at Province Pond, on the south side of U.S. 36, 1.3 miles west of Mt. Summit. The platform is located on the south end of the dam, which is on the west side of the ponds.

To see Prairie Creek area platforms, visit the Red-tail Nature Preserve at the corner of 650 S and 461 E (go east on 650 from U.S. 35). From the parking lot take the gravel trail to the right and follow it to the hill overlooking the reservoir.

You can also see an osprey platform at the north end of Westwood Reservoir in New Castle.