Ospreys Nesting Platforms
A decade of patience finally paid off: In 2017, ten years two Osprey platforms were placed at Summit Lake State Park, one of platforms became the nesting site for a pair of these fish-loving birds of prey!
The two Summit Lake platforms are at each end of the dam. The active platform can be seen from CR 750 N; with binoculars, it can also be seen from the Sunset Shelter area.
These were two of five platforms that our chapter erected at four different ECI locations in 2007, with help from local utility companies.
The others are located 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.
- Prairie Creek Reservoir. Go to 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 Prairie Creek Reservoir.
You can also see an Osprey platform at the north end of Westwood Reservoir in New Castle.
To learn more about Ospreys in Indiana, visit the IDNR website.
Photo by PhotoOne, published in Courier Times.
Osborne Park Woods Restoration Project
Conservation Committee Co-chair 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.
Permaculture & Rain Garden
In 2013, former Conservation Committee Chair Charlie Mason worked with a Ball State student group that initiated a permaculture project at Minnetrista.
A rain garden project at Muncie Central High School, co-led by several Muncie organizations and individuals, informed 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
In 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.
The TogetherGreen grant, sponsored by the National Audubon Society and funded by Toyota, provided $20,000 for our project. Additional funding 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.
While the city of Muncie owns the preserve, Red-Tail Land Conservancy maintains the property through a conservation easement.
Tree-Planting and Control of Invasives
Our RCAS Conservation Committee members have focused much of their attention over the 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
In 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.
The preserve was created when the late Marjorie and Sherman Zeigler purchased the land and donated it to the Nature Conservancy. It was later turned over to the state.