IPFW Bio Station Open House and Hike

Thursday, May 21, 2015 - 4:10pm

 

Bio-Station Open House & Nature Preserve Hike

by John Meier, President, Crooked Lake Association

Bio-Station Open House & Nature Hike

We had a nice turnout of fifteen people for the Open House of the Bio Station and associated hike in the Nature Preserve. Thanks to Dr. Bob Gillespie who guided people through a historic update of biological  research and he explained very well the concept of a "field station."

This research concept first originated in the late eighteen hundreds. Finally in the 1930's a field station was started on Turkey Lake here in Indiana. In the early 60's Indiana University at Bloomington wanted a  field station in "a natural lake as far south as possible," according to Dr. Gillespie. Crooked Lake fit the bill and ground was purchased and the existing building was built. Dr. Gillespie then continued on all the different types of research that have been done here over the years and what is currently going on.

There are two graduate students living and working at the station this Summer, as there are a few rooms functioning as housing for the students. As Dr. Gillespie tactfully pointed out, the station, although fundamentally sound, is starting to show the results of 60 years of use. It could use some well-deserved upgrades to make it more economical to maintain. Various options were mentioned and many good questions followed.

Bio-Station Open House & Nature Hike

Dr. Gillespie then guided the group outside to the boat house and discussed its use by the many students who come each year. He was particularly proud of the pontoon boat, stating that it may be somewhat simplistic and bare bones, but it works like a champ. And with its new motor it is a work horse for the station. As many as 200 students will come through the station in two separate groups for weekend classes.  Crooked Lake is perfect for research, according to Dr. Gillespie, because it’s so clean.

Bio-Station Open House & Nature HikeBio-Station Open House & Nature Hike

Dr. Gillespie gives everyone a short course on the stability of their research pontoon boat. In spite of its age, it really works well. The students do, however, have to bring pillows to sit on due to heat of the aluminum seats in the Summer sun. Below he describes areas of the lake where certain types of aquatic research is done on many critters, such as fish, mussels, plants, and turtles.

Bio-Station Open House & Nature HikeBio-Station Open House & Nature Hike

Tony and Barb Gatton, along with hiking leader Cindy Fitch and Dick Erdman, await the fascinating story of the Leaman Cemetery, as told by Aileen Meier. Tony and Barb also added to the hike as they shared a profound knowledge of wildflowers that were encountered along the way. Below Mike Fitch, (left) co leader of the hike shows people where to register when walking in the Preserve. Phil Walker, and Tom York’s son and Dick Erdman’s son, enjoyed the opportunity to get out and enjoy the Preserve.

Bio-Station Open House & Nature Hike

What if?

The hikers at the cemetery noticed that a partially fallen tree was precariously hanging directly above the new fence put up just last year. I’ll contact the DNR to see if this can be taken care of. 

Bio-Station Open House & Nature Hike

Refreshments were waiting for the participants back at the station. It was a beautiful day to be in the woods. Our trailhead that we put in last year is doing great and easy to follow off of the parking lot of the Bio Station as it courses through the woods to join up with the Nature Preserve trail.