(LEARN)

NATURE HISTORY IN INDIANA

A brief timeline of conservation events.

early 1800s 

The Lenape were the indigenous peoples (Native Americans) who lived in our area before colonialism forced them West. Their homes (wigwams) were located where present-day Morrow's Meadows (Yorktown) & Minnetrista/Delaware County Fairgrounds (Muncie). Other tribes in Indiana during this time period include Adena, Hopewell, Potawatomi, Miami, & Delaware.

1816

Indiana gains statehood; settlers flood territory after War of 1812

1830

American Bison gone from Indiana -- extirpated

1832

Timber Wolf gone from Indiana -- extirpated

1837

Indiana's first state geologist is David Dale Owen

1850

Black Bear gone from Indiana -- extirpated

1857

introduction of closed season on:

deer, wild turkey, quail, pheasant, prairie chicken

1872

**America's (first?) national park established -- Yellowstone National Park

1886

US Fish and Wildlife Service founded (get date)

1889

first conservation officers created when county road supervisors given authority to enforce fish & game laws

late 1800s

deforestation of Indiana in the name of agriculture decimates native forest from 23 million acres to less than 2 million acres.  Soil erosion, river and stream pollution, wildfires, and draining of natural wetlands alarming

1901

Indiana Board of Forestry created

State Forester position created

1906

Antiquities Act signed by Teddy Roosevelt.  Protects archeological sites on public lands as important public resources. Gives the President authority to protect landmarks, structures, and objects of historic or scientific interest by designating them as national monuments.

1909

Charles C Deam was appointed Secretary of the State Board of Forestry.  He introduced a tax credit to encourage farmers to return marginal farm ground to forest. He published several books including The Trees of Indiana and Flora of Indiana

Gene Stratton-Porter published A Girl of the Limberlost. Porter photographed birds and animals in the Limberlost Swamp where she grew up (profits went to conserve Limberlost Swamp).

1916

McCormick’s Creek established as Indiana’s first state park 

Turkey Run protected as a state park

1919

Indiana Department of Conservation is created – Col. Richard Lieber named director

1937

Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration (Pittman-Robertson Act) provides funding from a tax on firearms and ammunition to support habitat improvement for fish and wildlife management.

1952

Save the Dunes Council – for over a decade people struggled to keep the Dunes from disappearing beneath development.  Save the Dunes was created to protect the dunes through a national park, which succeeded in 1966 when the Dunes became a national lakeshore, and in 2018 when it became a national park including over 13 miles of shoreline and 15,000 acres.  

& The Nature Conservancy opens an Indiana Chapter

1960

Acres Land Trust Incorporated in northeast Indiana

1965

Department of Natural Resources is created

1967

Nature Preserves Act passed by the Indiana Assembly, charged with the acquisition, dedication, management and protection of significant natural areas throughout the state.

1970

first Earth Day established;

Environmental Protection Agency created (Nixon);

Clean Air Act

1972

Clean Water Act

1973

federal Endangered Species Act

1985

Indiana Nongame and endangered wildlife program reintroduces bald eagles to Indiana.  

1992

Indiana Heritage Trust License Plate Program – raising funds to protect over 60,000 acres of natural areas.  

2009

Indiana Invasive Species Council established

2010

Healthy Rivers Initiative – focusing on watersheds in Indiana

2012

Bicentennial Nature Trust

2018

The Indiana Heritage Trust and The Bicentennial Nature Trust are rolled together into the Benjamin Harrison Trust. 

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