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Indiana Department of Natural Resources

DNR Home > Divisions > Communications > Outdoor Indiana Magazine - Archives > Outdoor Indiana - July/August 2010 > Outdoor Indiana - July/August 2010 - Feature Stories Outdoor Indiana - July/August 2010 - Feature Stories

Director's Column
Creature Feature
Hardy Lake gets WILD at the Scott County Fair
In sickness and in health

Director’s Column

State Fair is DNR show ‘n tell
Robert E. Carter, Jr
.

Director Robert E. Carter, Jr. To many people, the Indiana State Fair means elephant ears, the Cattle Barn, and concerts in front of the grandstand. To the Department of Natural Resources, the State Fair means an opportunity for us to show off a bit.

The DNR/State Fair connection goes back at least 75 years, maybe longer.

The DNR, and its predecessor, the Department of Conservation, quickly recognized the opportunity to use the State Fair as a forum for educating the public about our programs and the importance of conserving natural resources.

Like many things that last a long time, our education message has evolved. For instance, our agency once brought as many as 75 raccoons to the Fair, along with bears, bobcats, deer and other wild mammals.

Although these were extremely popular attractions, the animal cages were dropped several years ago due to the realization that while they gave the public a chance to see wild critters face-to-face, the environment wasn’t healthy for the animals.

Other programs have come and gone, but the DNR’s commitment to the State Fair is as strong as ever.

We’ll be there in full force again, kicking it off in a big way, Aug. 7, with the annual Taste of the Wild Cookout. DNR and several of our conservation partner groups will serve up such delicacies as barbecued beaver, steelhead trout, venison sloppy Joes, and venison nuggets.

It keeps rolling from there with the kids fishing pond, daily educational programs and demonstrations at the amphitheatre or on the Front Porch, and a lineup of informational booths and other displays by various DNR divisions inside the air-conditioned Natural Resources Building.

You’ll be able to learn about waterfowl, archaeology, coal, forests, bats, fish, spiders, owls and bald eagles. You can help us celebrate Smokey Bear’s birthday or shoot an air rifle at the Division of Law Enforcement’s booth.

There’s something for everyone. Come join us.

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Creature Feature

Largemouth Bass
(Micropterus salmoides)

Largemouth BassBig fish stories are always popular in bars and sporting good stores, but they aren’t usually newsworthy. It takes a special fish to make national headlines, but last July a largemouth bass did just that.

Manabu Kurita caught a 22-pound, 4-ounce largemouth bass on Lake Biwa, Japan, tying the long-standing world record. The earlier mark, set in 1932, came out of Montgomery Lake, Ga., via an Indiana-made lure called a Wigglefish. Kurita’s massive bass made the evening news all over our country.

The media coverage couldn’t have surprised anglers. Largemouth arguably reign as the country’s most popular game fish, and the record has long been coveted in the sporting world.

Jed Pearson, a DNR fisheries biologist, said largemouth bass and bluegill are equally popular in Indiana, but when it comes to fishing for fun and excitement, largemouth win hands-down.

“It’s our most common predator fish, bites on a large variety of baits throughout the year, and is found in waters ranging from small ponds, natural lakes, and large reservoirs across the state,” he said.

Cutline: This 6-pound largemouth is large for Indiana, but not an uncommon catch for avid anglers.

To read the rest of this article subscribe to Outdoor Indiana or pick up a copy at most Borders and Barnes and Noble bookstores, and state park inns. To subscribe, click here or call (317) 233-3046.

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Hardy Lake gets WILD at the Scott County Fair

By Zach Walker and Ben Shadley
Photography by John Maxwell

Bald eagle from Hardy Lake Raptor Rehabilitation CenterIt’s a few hours before dawn on a mid-July Sunday morning. Most people in Scott County are sleeping, but a few DNR employees have been up all night and are still working hard.

Staff members of the Hardy Lake interpretive center sweep floors, fill fish tanks, transport animals and finalize displays. The Scott County Fair, their biggest educational event of the year, starts soon.


Partners in education

Even though Scott County is one of Indiana’s smallest, its fair boasts all the ingredients of a well-rounded Indiana summer celebration—rides, livestock barns, vendors, music, and of course, a demolition derby. It also has something you may not find anywhere else in the state.

Beginning in the 1980s, Hardy Lake’s interpretive center and the Scott County Fair board teamed to feature educational wildlife displays at the fair. Since then, the relationship has grown to include a building full of animals that’s visited by thousands.

Cutline: Bald eagle from Hardy Lake Raptor Rehabilitation Center. Permanently injured birds of prey, and interpretive naturalists from the center provide thousands of Scott County Fair visitors a memorable and educational wildlife experience.

To read the rest of this article subscribe to Outdoor Indiana or pick up a copy at most Borders and Barnes and Noble bookstores, and state park inns. To subscribe, click here or call (317) 233-3046.

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In sickness and in health

Motojournalists discover disease jolted Hoosier history
By Phil Wagner and John Maxwell
Photography by John Maxwell

Weathered gravestones are about all that remains of Hindostan in Martin County.Disease outbreaks have profoundly affected human history.

Many Hoosiers remember the polio epidemics of the 1950s. Several Indiana hospitals were devoted completely to children with polio. The outbreak was severe enough to close public swimming pools and movie theaters.

Today, SARS, HIV, TB and H1N1 (swine flu) still lurk in humans and news headlines. Just last fall, the Indianapolis Star reported on a presidential panel that predicted a winter H1N1 flu epidemic could cause 90,000 deaths in the United States. Flu epidemics are nothing new in this country; in 1957 flu killed 70,000.

Ancient history abounds with stories of health problems altering cultures. The Bible says scourges helped free the Israelites. During the 14th century, the Black Death killed a third of Europe’s people in four years. Smallpox hastened the end of North American native nations, and potato blight drove massive Irish emigration to North America, including Indiana.

Cutline: Weathered gravestones are about all that remains of Hindostan in Martin County. Along little-traveled Indiana 550, north of the former town, a marker reads, “Site of Hindostan (.6 mile south) First settled in 1818. Hindostan became county seat of Martin County, boasting a population of approximately 1,200. A ‘Great Sickness’ struck in 1828 bringing death to the inhabitants. The town was never occupied again.”

To read the rest of this article subscribe to Outdoor Indiana or pick up a copy at most Borders and Barnes and Noble bookstores, and state park inns. To subscribe, click here or call (317) 233-3046.

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