Earth Day at The Venue, Green Drinks and wildflowers

In one sense, this Saturday’s Earth Day book signing at The Venue Fine Art & Gifts will be an authorial déjà vu. The last time I signed a book on April 22 was at Barnes & Noble in 1995, when my first book Eternal Vigilance: Nine Tales of Environmental Heroism in Indiana was released.

Special guests this time will be my old friends and local wordsmiths extraordinaire Mike Leonard and James Alexander Thom. Twenty-one years ago, it was legendary forest activist Bob Klawitter, who was featured in the book for his efforts to protect the Hoosier National Forest and save Patoka Lake’s Tillery Hill – two historic, grassroots victories for Indiana’s environmental community.

Four days later I will be the featured speaker at the April gathering of Green Drinks Bloomington.

Leading up to these unusual public appearances, I’ve been – and will be – on my elbows, knees and butt, in the woods, with my macro lens getting intimate with early spring wildflowers. Just this past week I posted Photo Albums from the Hoosier’s Waldrip Ridge and The Cedars Preserve, a Sycamore Land Trust property deep in the southwest Monroe County backcountry.

Next Friday, weather permitting, I’m driving east to the Shrader-Weaver Nature Preserve near Richmond, a National Natural Landmark remarkable for its spring wildflower display.

Among the multicolored species captured so far this year: cutleaf toothwort, spring beauty, bloodroot, Virginia bluebells, golden ragwort, wild geranium, wood poppy, [short] tall bellflower, white violet, common blue violet, hepatica, trillium, and both wild blue and cleft phlox. The Cedars also features a waterfall.

Anyway, the Earth Day event will begin at 6 p.m. and will be an interview format, with Mike leading the discussion with Jim and I. Jim wrote the foreword to A Guide to Natural Areas of Southern Indiana, which I will be signing. Mike and I worked together at The Herald-Times from 1985 to 1996. We both teach at the Media School now.

My friend and Indiana Nature Photography partner Gary Morrison will have a display of nature photography for sale.

For the events, I’ve produced a 7-minute video called Intimate Sycamore Landscapes that features more than 100 digital images captured at Sycamore preserves between Columbus and Evansville, with brief descriptions of each site. Gary and I have been collaborating with Sycamore on our May 13 Indiana Nature Photography Wildflower Workshop.

Even though I will be spending most of my time solo in the woods after I finish teaching in two weeks, I will be making at least one more public presentation this year. I’ve been asked to be a guest speaker at the Oak Heritage Conservancy’s annual dinner this fall.

I recently shared coffee with Liz Brownlee, executive director at the Hanover-based land trust that, a la Sycamore, conserves pristine, natural gems in Southeast Indiana. I discovered and featured two of their properties in A Guide to Natural Areas of Southern Indiana: Tribbet Woods and Wells Woods, both located in Jennings County.

I’ll be on the road again soon.

Photographs: Top, wild geranium, The Cedars Preserve; Center, trillium, The Cedars Preserve; Bottom, Virginia bluebells, Hoosier National Forest, Waldrip Ridge


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