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By summer intern Liz Zombik (firstname.lastname@example.org)
This past Saturday, owners of land near the Galena Watershed and myself attended the fifth Moraine Forest workshop and hike, hosted by LaPorte County Conservation Trust. This was one in a series of several hikes that incorporates partner organizations from around Northwest Indiana. The hope is that they will be able to raise the awareness of conservation options and assist landowners to preserve the Moraine Forest. Saturday’s workshop and hike was focused on the Galena Watershed Project Site located in New Carlisle, Indiana.
Unlike the rest of the hikes so far, this hike was held on private property owned by Dr. Nick Timm, a board member of the Shirley Heinze Land Trust. While all the hikes have been enjoyable so far, this one was especially calm and relaxing, because we weren't so much having to focus on all the wildlife being pointed out. We all just got to enjoy the views for ourselves and take in everything on our own time. Dr. Timm has owned the land for around 30 years. Before his ownership it was a Boy Scout camp, and before that it was used as farmland till the 1950’s.
It is a combination of wetlands and forests with spring ephemerals throughout. One interesting point Dr. Timm explained to us was that while his land was rich in trees, including beech, tulip, maple, and oak, it is important to log populations of the trees as to create biodiversity amongst them and not have a single population of just one tree. He also told us how he has seen Baltimore orioles recently, which he hadn't seen for some time. Along with the orioles, the land has rare turtles, copper-bellied water snakes, turkeys, wood ducks, and more. He also had quite a few llamas! Along with trees were beautiful red trilliums blooming throughout the forest.
The landscape was almost fairy tale like with the trees towering over us, with the sun just peeking through. The only noises besides our footsteps were the sounds of the birds. It was a perfect hike to share with people who were so dedicated to preserving the very scenes we were enjoying.