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Indiana Eco-Traveler Update: Dec. 3, 2017

Return to the Hoosier National Forest’s Browning Mountain

It’s been two decades since my last hike up the Browning Hill in SoBro – Southern Brown County to non-natives. So, a trek to the top of the state’s 53rd highest point was long past due when I set the GPS on Saturday for what Google Maps calls “Browning Mountain: Indiana’s Stonehenge.”

And while the timing and conditions were near-perfect this time, they couldn’t have been more dissimilar from the last. The 1996 excursion to this Hoosier National Forest ridge top occurred in early spring. The creative medium was black-and-white film. And, let’s just say, love permeated the atmosphere alongside the peak’s spectacular and mysterious nature. The photographic mission then was more memorial than artistic.

This late-fall trip was all mission, marking a return to work on an upcoming coffee-table book called Rewilding Southern Indiana: The Hoosier National Forest. Not to mention a likewise overdue return to the trail. It’s been 2 1/2 months since an actual photo hike appeared in prose or picture on the Natural Bloomington website. The only love this time involved the work.

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New video: This is Southeast Indiana?

Many thanks to Liz Brownlee and the Oak Heritage Conservancy for affording me the honor of speaking at their annual meeting this year. The Oct. 14 event attracted 80 Southeast Indiana nature lovers – a record I’m told – at The Sherman in downtown Batesville.

Oak Heritage is one of the newest land trusts in Indiana and owns or manages more than 700 acres of the state’s southeastern-most natural heritage. As always happens when I presume to educate, the evening was likewise educational for me, in multiple ways. For example, I learned John Sunman’s Woods, which was owned by Central Indiana Land Trust when I wrote A Guide to Natural Areas of Southern Indiana, is now owned by Oak Heritage.

And then there was an embarrassing mistake in the 10-minute slideshow I presented after my talk. Falling in the shoulda-known-better column, I relied on my mental map of Indiana counties and placed the Oxbow in Switzerland County instead of Dearborn, where it belonged. Since this piece of waterfowl heaven is one of the region’s true natural gems, several audience members were of course intimately familiar with it and noted the error.

Subsequent edits have corrected that geographical miscue, as well as a misnamed pond at that same bottomland refuge in Lawrenceburg, where Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky meet, where the Great Miami River meets the Ohio.

I have posted This is Southeast Indiana? on the Natural Bloomington YouTube Channel. Read about the Oak Heritage meeting in the Batesville Herald-Tribune.


Nature Photo eBook - This is Indiana?

Natural Bloomington is pleased to announce release of our first Nature Photo eBook This is Indiana? - The Natural Bloomington Journey: 2013-2015.

This is Indiana? is a photographic retrospective of Natural Bloomington's first three years and features 105 hi res, full-color images of the Southern Indiana landscape from the Switzerland Hills to the Southwest Lowlands.You can download a copy of This is Indiana? for free. A $10 contribution is requested.


 

 

Natural Bloomington continues to evolve

From ecotours
to nature books

Natural Bloomington's transition from ecotourism to nature book publishing continued in 2016 with publication by IU Press in April of A Guide to Natural Areas of Southern Indiana and the signing of contracts for two more books.

Ongoing projects, which will be documented on this site, include a Northern Indiana guidebook companion to the Southern Indiana project and a coffee table book tentatively titled The Hoosier National Forest: Rewilding Southern Indiana.

We - owner Steven Higgs and family and friends who support the Natural Bloomington Mission in so many ways - will still arrange ecotours on request.

But the emphasis for the next two years will be exploriong solo what little is left of the unexpected natural beauty that is still to be found in Indiana, north and south.

A Guide to Natural Areas of Southern Indiana features anecdotes, directions and photographs of 119 natural areas between I-70 and the Ohio River. Here's what author James Alexander Thom said in the Foreword.

"In this guidebook, Steven Higgs has compiled and written a hundred times more good, useful information about my native state's natural treasures than I ever learned in eighty years of crawling, hiking, riding, swimming, and paddling all over them.”

To purchase a copy and support the Natural Bloomington mission, click here.


Mission

Natural Bloomington's mission is to celebrate and share Southern Indiana's natural beauty through image, prose and ecotourism.


Ecotourism

Through our Historic, Environmental & Scenic Ecotours, Natural Bloomington subscribes to the principles set down by the International EcoTourism Society for “responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people."

Natural Bloomington welcomes the opportunity to lead groups on ecotours during any season of the year.

Contact us for information
on our guide services.

info@NaturalBloomington

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