Mission Statement

Bearing Witness to Local Natural History-- from the wildness of Indiana

Monday, August 29, 2011

Burkhart Creek Park & A Little Frass

I visited Burkhart Creek Park on Saturday morning for some photography and nature study.  The park is located in Morgan County (Indiana) off State Road 67 on Duckworth Road. Burkhart Creek County Park is the first established county park and was opened in 2010 by the Morgan County Parks & Recreation Board. Currently the park has 1.5 miles of trails, picnic shelters, and tables for public use.

It was a lovely morning. I walked along the loop trail with the intention of investigating the area which will soon be an established wetland. It is obvious by the wetland plants present that this area is often wet. Of course we are behind on our needed precipitation this summer, so the area was devoid of standing water.

Thanks to the generosity of Mary A. “Sal” Hench, a lifelong philanthropist, a gift from Hench’s estate was
donated to the Community Foundation of Morgan County to be used to construct and preserve natural wetlands at Burkhart Creek County Park near Paragon.

A five (5) acre wetlands area will be created by the Wildwood Dam Conservancy District as an effort to ensure the survival of Wildwood Lake. With the assistance from the Hench gift, a variety of educational opportunities will become available for exploring wetlands plant and animal life. (Info from Community Foundation of Morgan County website).

I am drawn to wetland areas and have studied and photographed them for many years. I am thrilled that this wetland area will be enhanced and available for educational purposes. Thank you to Mary "Sal" Hench and her family for their generosity and foresight.

During my short visit I watched bluebirds, Carolina chickadees, blue-gray gnatcatchers, pileated woodpeckers, red-wing blackbirds and numerous butterflies. Below is an image of the proposed wetland area. Note the wetland loving vegetation already present.

                                          Wetland Area      ©Joni L. James

Below is a photo I also took of a Japanese Beetle. Note the material protruding from the rear abdomen of the insect. I believe this would be frass-- insect excrement. So for all of you who wonder what insect excrement looks like or what the correct term is . . . here you go!

                                                        Japanese Beetle & Frass
                                                        ©Joni L. James

I encourage those of you who live in and around Morgan County to stay informed about Burkhart Creek Park. It is a work in progress and is evolving. The County Park Board meets once a month alternating between locations in Martinsville and Mooresville. The public is always welcome.

I would love to see more green spaces and especially nature parks here in our county. Support your local natural areas! Get outdoors!

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