Category Archives: Conservation

Hill strengthens ACRES Land Trust’s growing preserves

Acres-21In support of ACRES Land Trust’s success toward doubling its pace of land acquisition, the membership-based nonprofit has hired Evan Hill to fill a new position as Land Management Specialist. Hill, a Purdue University Wildlife graduate, strengthens ACRES’ promise to protect land for future generations by caring for its growing acreage of land.

 

“I help preserve land by ensuring its overall health,” said Hill, a Noble County native. Hill’s work is motivated by “meeting land donors on their properties, seeing how much joy they get out of being there, knowing it’s protected, in good hands.”

As part of ACRES’ land management team, Hill will mark boundaries, fight invasive species, maintain more than 70 miles of trails and manage summer land management interns and contractors.

ACRES’ newly created position is a result of recent phenomenal growth, largely attributed to the organization’s use of Indiana’s Bicentennial Nature Trust. The $30 million matching fund, launched in 2012, offered groups like ACRES up to half the appraised value of property to preserve land in celebration of Indiana’s Bicentennial.

“Our success in acquiring land requires that we increase our management efforts,” said Jason Kissel, executive director of the member-based nonprofit. “Protecting land forever starts on the day we acquire a property, and it is each day after when the promise for future generations is realized.”

Hill brings both education and experience to ACRES. While an undergraduate at Purdue, he spent two summers as an ACRES land management intern in a program funded by the Olive B. Cole Foundation to aid in talent retention in northeast Indiana.

Upon graduation, Hill left the area to serve the Division of Wildlife in Colorado, as a short-term habitat technician. He returned to Indiana and has performed contractual land management work for ACRES, supervising the summer land management program.

“Evan helps ensure the properties are protected, well maintained, and increasing in overall health,” said Kissel. “Forever is not just the future; Evan helps ACRES ensure protection of its properties for future generations – daily.”

Together with its members, ACRES preserves 5,985 acres of significant natural area in northeast Indiana, northwest Ohio and southern Michigan for future generations. Explore more than 70 miles of trails for hiking, photography, birding, wellness, family and school visits, and adventure. Connect with ACRES Land Trust at 260-637-2273, acreslandtrust.org or on Facebook at ACRES.LT.

Share the Trails: National Trail Day hosted by ACRES

Leopard and Cricket Frogs Thrive in Local Wetland

The creation of Eagle Marsh has allowed populations of both leopard frogs and cricket frogs to thrive. Both these species have been subjected  to habitat loss and exposure to agricultural chemicals, which has dwindled their populations. The northern leopard frog is a species of concern, while the cricket frog has experienced population loss across the Midwest.

Amphibians as a whole are threatened across the globe, facing habitat loss due to wetland drainages, pollutants in their aquatic environment, and disease. Salamander chytrid is the most pressing of fungal diseases for American salamanders, prompting U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service preventing the import or inter-state transport of 201 different species of salamander, including native species for the first time ever. This rule hopes to prevent the introduction of salamander chytrid into American populations.

But conditions of Fort Wayne have given a hope for a local population boost for all amphibians. Eagle Marsh provides a protected habitat where amphibians can survive and reproduce in a stable wetland. Read the full news article here: http://www.news-sentinel.com/news/local/Restoring-wetlands-has-helped-some-local-amphibian-populations

If you are interested in helping monitor these local frog populations, FrogWatch USA is holding volunteer training sessions at the Fort Wayne Zoo.  See this link for more information: http://kidszoo.org/event/frogwatch-usa-free-opportunity/2016-02-20/