Natural area slide show; Upcoming outings; HNF book idea

August is a time of transition in Bloomington, and so it goes at Natural Bloomington. This past week I worked with the folks at IU Press on some minor tweaks to the Guide to Natural Areas of Southern Indiana manuscript, which is in the hands of a copyeditor now and scheduled to land back in my lap for one last look on Aug. 17. Other than preparing the index -- which is 90 percent complete already -- and proofing the layout, my part is done.

So in addition to thinking about some Fall outings, I am transitioning to some new, nature-related projects as my student neighbors here in the Bryan Park Neighborhood transform and remind that I will be back in the classroom in less than a month.

Ecotours and hikes

On the outings front, The Herald-Times article on the American Council of the Blind prompted a call from a pair of local grandparents interested in taking their visiting granddaughters on an ecotour. On Thursday, Aug. 6, we're going to hunt Leonard Springs Nature Parkgeodes and explore a haunted cemetery in Morgan-Monroe State Forest and experience the caves, waterfalls and wetlands at Leonard Springs Nature Park.

My friends and I at the Sierra Club Hoosier Chapter are planning an Aug. 23 hike through Morgan-Monroe, whose main purpose is to clear a group of us to lead Club-sponsored hikes and bolster our plans to boost our Club outings program. Exactly where in the forest we go will depend on the weather and turnout. We're also planning one in September.

Sierra Club outings are open to anyone.

Coming soon: Natural Area slide show, Chaveas video

Hoosier National Forest - Martin CountyAs a corollary to the guidebook and a Natural Bloomington fundraiser, I am working with talented Media School senior Kale Wilk on a digital slide show that will feature the 100 color photographs from the Guide to Natural Areas of Southern Indiana and excerpts from the book on each of these amazing wilderness plots.

I just gave Kale my final thoughts on the video of my interview with Hoosier National Forest Supervisor Mike Chaveas, and we will be starting on the slide show project this week. When we finish, it will be available in DVD (and other digital formats) to help raise funds to support our work at Natural Bloomington.

In the meantime, I've finally started poring over the Chaveas interview. Here's a preview of what he said about the Hoosier in the interview:

"It's public land, and the public, we want them to let us know how they feel. We want them to let us know what they want from their forest."

Hoosier National Awareness Project book proposal

Speaking of the transitions and the Hoosier, with some encouragement from knowledgeable friends, I have decided to prepare a book proposal for IU Press (or whomever) for a coffee table book on Hoosier National Forest - Orange CountyIndiana's largest public land holding. As I told Chaveas and others, I cut my photographic and environmental teeth on the 202,000-acre Hoosier. It feels like my logical next career move.

One of my first photographs that I felt achieved the level of art was a color shot of some reflected trees on a wildlife pond in the Hoosier on Nebo Ridge in the mid-1970s.

I wrote my final masters project at the IU School of Journalism on the proposed 1985 Hoosier Management Plan. And as a reporter at the H-T, my reportage helped transform it from a "clearcutting plan" to the most environmentally sensitive national forest plan in the nation.

In the past two years, I've added more than 300 digital images to my photographic journey through the Hoosier National Forest.

Photographs: Top right, Leonard Springs Nature Park; Middle left, Hoosier National Forest, Martin County; Bottom right, Hoosier National Forest, Orange County


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