News Briefs

Save these 2014 Dates!

Take a selfie at Eagle Marsh, win a car

Eagle Marsh has been chosen as one of nine Indiana sites where you can take a photo of yourself between August 1 and September 30 to submit to The Nature Conservancy’s Natural Treasures sweepstakes for a chance to win a Honda Civic hybrid. Residents of Ohio, Indiana or Alabama who are at least 18 years old can enter. The more selected sites you visit—and you can choose one of your own--the better your chance to win. Learn more at nature.org/ourinitiatives/regions/northamerica/natural-treasures.xml

Tuesday evening Ramblers hike added

During August, September, and October, LRWP will offer an Evening Ramblers hike every Tuesday from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. leaving from the Eagle Marsh barn. This special hike for those not free in the daytime will explore the preserves’ interesting plants and wildlife just as the morning (9 to 11 a.m.) hikes do.

News Updates

Frogapalooza to honor Jay Jorgensen and Rick Phillips October 24

Two local businessmen with a lifelong commitment to conservation, Jay Jorgensen and Rick Phillips, will be honored as Hidden Heroes of Conservation at LRWP’s 5th annual Frogapalooza fundraiser on Friday evening, October 24 at the Fort Wayne Country Club. The event raises funds to help LRWP care for its preserves and offer its free nature programs to the community.

Frogapalooza 2014, presented by Brooks Construction, will feature live and silent auction items including getaways to Toronto and Big Sky, Montana; unique nature experiences, entertainment packages; and more. After dinner, guests will learn how Jorgensen and Phillips have aided the restoration and conservation of natural lands in Indiana.

“Jay and Rick have been long-time friends to Little River and other nonprofits working to restore and protect the natural environment,” says Amy Silva, LRWP’s executive director. “We are pleased to be able to honor them at our annual fundraiser.”

Tickets to Frogapalooza are $100 each, $800 for a table of eight, or $1,000 for a table of ten. More details about the event, including an updated list of auction items, are available here. To buy tickets by credit card (no American Express, please), call 260-478-2515. Or, please mail your check to LRWP, 7209 Engle Road, Ste. 200, Fort Wayne IN 46804.

Monarch Festival Returns to Eagle Marsh September 13

One of North America’s most iconic—and increasingly threatened—butterflies takes center stage at LRWP’s fourth annual Monarch Festival, to be held Saturday, September 13, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Eagle Marsh barn.

The family-friendly festival will feature educational displays and activities related to monarchs, many along a trail framed by 10-foot-tall native sunflowers. Visitors will learn about monarchs’ life cycle, migration and threats to their survival. They may see migrating monarchs nectaring on Eagle Marsh’s many native wildflowers. Varieties of milkweed, the only plant on which monarchs will lay their eggs, will be given away for planting in home gardens or at the preserve.

Inside the barn, displays will showcase live monarch caterpillars in various stages of growth. Activities will include face painting for kids, presentations on monarch wintering grounds in Mexico, and much more.

As monarch populations dip precipitously lower, LRWP has worked even harder to create high-quality stopovers for the butterflies at its preserves. The Monarch Festival extends that work by showcasing the monarchs’ plight, but also emphasizing what anyone—from home gardeners to farmers—can do to help. “The more we understand these butterflies and their amazing journey, the more we realize the importance of conserving plants they need to survive,” said Amy Silva, LRWP executive director.

LRWP offers special thanks to our sponsors, without whom the event could not take place: Phillips Financial, Coventry Meadows, and PHP.

Preliminary BioBlitz Findings

They came, they saw, they reported--nearly 100 Indiana scientists, experts in a variety of fields, converged on Eagle Marsh for 24 hours May 31-June 1 to identify all possible plants and animals at the preserve. The sheer number of species found was impressive, and the survey included rarities such as the Blandings turtle, endangered in Indiana and nearby states. Several scientists noted that the level of biodiversity at the marsh was very good considering the wetland was restored only eight years ago.

Final reports will come in over the next few months, but preliminary findings included: An estimated 250 species of native plants and 50 aliens, with most of the latter well controlled

  • 73 bird species, a high number considering this is not migrating season--the total number of different bird species seen at Eagle Marsh is now 225
  • Five species of frogs, three of turtles, two of snakes, and larva of three kinds of salamanders
  • 31 species of fish and four of crayfish
  • Four species of small mammals, including the meadow jumping mouse
  • 19 species of butterflies, including monarchs and a Delaware skipper, possibly the first in Allen County
  • Other insects: an estimated 300-400 kinds of beetles, 12 species of flies that eat snails, and three kinds of “singing insects” (most of these emerge later in the summer)
  • (Note: macro invertebrates will be reported later)

When all the BioBlitz data are in, they will begin to give us an inventory of everything found at Eagle Marsh on the above date as a baseline for future measurements. They will also help us plan how to enhance habitat, where possible, for rare or endangered species present, such as the Blandings turtle.

Our sincere thanks to the Indiana Academy of Science for selecting Eagle Marsh as a BioBlitz site, the participating scientists, and three organizations whose funding helped defray some of the BioBlitz costs: the Edward D. and Ione Auer Foundation, the Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne and Phillips Financial Services.

Update on construction at Eagle Marsh

Current plans by federal and state agencies are to construct an enlarged berm on the south side of the Graham-McCulloch Ditch at Eagle Marsh starting in fall, 2014 to prevent the transfer of Asian carp and other invasive species between the Great Lakes and Mississippi River watersheds. An area of 35 - 60 acres at Eagle Marsh will be affected, with the government agencies responsible for reseeding disturbed areas and LRWP involved in helping oversee the work. We did not ask to have this major disruption of our preserve but understand the need to fight all types of problematic invasive species just as we must always combat non-native invasive plants at our properties.

There will likely be some positives to the project. First, we hope to be able to develop a trail along the top of the newly enlarged berm, allowing a view of almost the entire Eagle Marsh from above. Second, a wetland mitigation will be undertaken elsewhere to make up for the loss of wetland acres at Eagle Marsh, and we hope it may be within our watershed. Finally, once the project is completed, the existing carp fence at Eagle Marsh will be taken down.