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June 29
The Value of Constructing With Timber

Article shared in NASF May 15, 2015, E-Newsletter​
Lloyd Alter, Managing Editor​

As we continue to burn through our nonrenewable resources at an alarming rate, it is important that we never underestimate what we can do with our resources that can be replenished. One of these, wood, is an extremely valuable material but has been underutilized in construction for one big reason: fires. Every so often, a wood structure like the 188-unit apartment complex in Richmond, BC burned down in 2010 goes up in a blaze and hinders the support of timber construction in a big way. While this is a valid concern, there are several things to consider before abandoning hope.

Most of the big building fires covered by the news have been on uncompleted buildings still under construction. This means that fire suppression systems haven't been installed yet, and often times incomplete floors lacking fire-retardant drywall, or walls of any kind, give the fire huge ventilated areas to spread. This is hardly fair to mark these fires as a failure of wooden construction. In completed buildings, close to 80 percent of fires are contained to the rooms they are started in. Furthermore, fire damage isn't limited to wooden buildings. Structures made of concrete, steel, or other construction materials can still weaken and collapse under the heat of a fire. In fact, heavy timber resists fire very well, burning slowly and creating a layer of char that helps to preserve the structural integrity of the inside wood.

A recent advancement in timber technology to note is Cross-Laminate Timber​, or CLT. CLT is made from stacks of industrially dried and fully glue-coated lumber. It is exceptionally strong, multi-purpose, and light-weight. Construction using CLT is quick because it is easy to prefabricate and transport. Like heavy timber, CLT produces a layer of char when burned, and when used in construction, engineers factor in this layer and use enough wood to allow charring to form while still maintaining enough internal wood to be structurally sound. Also, cosmetically, CLT looks pleasing and can be left exposed, reducing building cost. CLT has been considered the future of wood-based construction, and for good reason.

So, with some of the negative stigma of wooden construction debunked, and the values of timber buildings explained, this leaves the biggest value of it all to think about: renewability. Timber is the only 100% renewable material for building construction. One billion cubic meters of logs are produced each year in North America and Europe alone, creating 200 million cubic meters of engineered timber and done in a careful way so that forests maintain their size. This is enough material to build 150,000 thousand offices a year. Timber also locks up carbon that was absorbed by the tree during its growth, reducing pollution. As we look to the future, we should look to the trees. It's time for timber construction.

NASF May 15, 2015 E-Newsletter​ - National Association of State Foresters​
Making the case for wood construction - Treehugger
Timber offices: the time has come - ARUP
The Education Store - Purdue Extension Resource Center, put "timber" as a key word in the search field
What is cross laminated timber? - American Wood Council​​
2014 Indiana Forest Products Price Report and Trend Analysis - Indiana Department of Natural Resources

National Association of State Foresters

June 27
Learn Proper Pruning and Tree Assessment

Come to this one-day workshop in one of three Indiana locations to learn more about how to keep trees safe, healthy, and sustainable in your community. Risk tree assessment, proper pruning, tree planting and more.Risk tree assessment, proper pruning, tree planting, and more will be taught by Lindsey Purcell, Purdue University Extension Urban Forester. Cost: $30 per attendee. CEU’s available.

July 21 - Syracuse, IN
July 22 - Columbus, IN
July 23 - Jasper, IN

Sponsored by Indiana Arborist Association, IDNR, and Purdue University.


Lindsey Purcell, Urban Forestry Specialist
Department of Forestry and Natural Resources

June 26
INDNR shares what to do when you find an orphaned animal

​Indiana Department of Natural Resources (INDNR) recently received inquire asking what to do with an abandoned animal. The INDNR web resource titled Orphaned and Injured Animals has  steps to follow as you decide if the animal is truly abandoned.

More . . .

Got Nature? Orphaned Animals, author Brian MacGowan, extension wildlife specialist, Purdue University:
In most cases the young animal is simply "spreading its wings" and exploring or mom simply left it to get something to eat.  Fawn deer are programmed to hide and remain motionless while mom is away. The fact is wildlife rarely abandons their young.  They may leave breifly only to return.

Remember that you should never handle wild animals unless absolutely necessary. Any animal can bite you and many harbor diseases and pests that can be transmitted to people.

In Indiana, wildlife rehabilitators have necessary state and federal permits to house and care for sick or injured wild animals. If you think you have found a sick or injured animal, you can find a list of licensed Wild Animal Rehabilitators in your area on the DNR Division of Fish and Wildlife's website.

Mammals of Indiana, J.O. Whitker and R.E. Mumford.
Common Indiana Mammals R.N. Chapman and R.N. Williams, publication number FNR-413-W.
Indiana DNR Orphaned and Injured Animals
The Education Store, place keywords in the search field to find the resources you need.

June 25
New Publication! The Hardwood Ecosystem Experiment: Indiana Forestry and Wildlife

Hardwood Ecosystem Experiment As we turn back time and take a look at the first eight years of this 100 year project, we can then help the existence and growth of Indiana trees and wildlife in the future. This new publication, The Hardwood Ecosystem Experiment: Indiana Forestry and Wildlife, shares imperative information to aid in the growth of tree species that are producing no seedlings.

Many of Indiana's forests, especially in the southern part of the state, have been dominated by oak and hickory trees for thousands of years. In recent decades forest researchers and managers in the east-central United States have recognized that these tree species are not replacing themselves with new seedlings. Recognizing this issue, many stakeholders concerned with the status of Indiana's forests convened in the late 1990s to determine the best approach to understanding this transition and to develop strategies for maintaining our oak-hickory ecosystems. As a result of the meetings of this working group, the Hardwood Ecosystem Experiment (HEE) was initiated in 2006. The HEE is intended to last for 100 years because many of the changes that occur in these forests happen over decades. In fact, many of the strongest effects of the transition from oak and hickory forests may not even be observable until we near the end of the project. This is an analysis of the first eight years of the project.

Hardwood Ecosystem Experiment
Hardwood Tree Improvement and Regeneration Center (HTIRC)
The Education Store, Purdue Extension Resource Center

Hardwood Ecosystem Experiment

June 24
New Podcast! Rainscaping: managing water around our homes

Rainscaping Our newest podcast titled Rainscaping is focused on ways to manage excess water in your yard or neighborhood and thus, minimizing polluted runoff from reaching our waterways. Putting water to work for us in a sustainable way is the focus on Purdue’s new Rainscaping program. Join us as our host, Dr. Rod Williams, learns from Kara Salazar about this new initiative. Kara is a Sustainable Communities Extension Specialist within the Department of Forestry and Natural Resources and co-chair of the Purdue Rainscaping Education Program.

Listen here:
Rainscaping, Got Nature? Podcast, MP3 file.
iTunes - Got Nature?

Purdue Rainscaping Education Program, Purdue Agriculture
Rain Barrels, Purdue Rainscaping Education Program, Purdue Agriculture
Sustainable Communities, Purdue University Extension
Climate Change: How will you manage stormwater runoff?​, The Education Store

Kara Salazar, Sustainable Communities Extension Specialist
Department of Forestry and Natural Resources & Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant

John Orick, Purdue Master Gardener State Coordinator
Department of Horticulutre and Landscape Architecture​​

June 22
Indiana Department of Natural Resources Debuts Improved Smartphone App

​The Indiana Department of Natural Resources (INDNR) has just released a new and updated application for iPhone and Android users. A successor to the previous app released in March 2011, this iteration introduces new features and DNR Director Cameron Clark calls it a "portable field guide." The free app contains helpful information about any DNR related properties such as forests, wildlife areas, and state parks and serves as a helpful companion while planning outdoor activities. To download this app, visit iTunes for iPhone users or Google Play Store for Android users.

Indiana DNR Smartphone Apps - Indiana Department of Natural Resources
DNR releases new, improved mobile apps - WANE15
Publications and Maps​ - Indiana Department of Natural Resources

Indiana Department of Natural Resources

June 20
Black Bear Recently Seen Again in Indiana

​After being sighted in Indiana for the first time in 144 years on June 12th around South Bend, a second sighting of the bear has occured in the Michigan City area and this time the bear has done a little bit of damage foraging for food. The bear had knocked over multiple bee hives and tore into some food at a local farm. It also bent poles holding up bird boxes, likely eating the baby birds inside.

The Department of Natural Resources is hoping the bear will return to upper Michigan on its own, where the black bear population reaches around 15,000. However, they are continuing to monitor its movement and are prepared to trap it if needed. 

While startling, it is important to note that black bears aren't as dangerous as most people think. They are usually scared of humans, but it is a wise idea to move bird feeders, grills, and trash cans out of your yard. If you encounter a bear, the DNR recommends standing your ground and making a lot of noise, while slowly backing away. Do not turn and run. Black bears are also considered an exotic animal in Indiana and shooting or killing one is a serious offense that can result in large fines or jail time.

Please report bear sightings to or call 812-334-1137.

Black Bear - Indiana Department of Natural Resources 
BEAR SIGHTING: Notorious wandering black bear strikes again - WSBT22
Black bear confirmed in Indiana for first time in 144 years - FOX59

Indiana Department of Natural Resources

June 18
Purdue Tree Doctor app fights back against emerald ash borer
Purdue Tree Doctor AppThe emerald ash borer is one of the most destructive insects in the Midwest, killing tens of millions of ash trees. After first being spotted in Indiana in 2004, it has already spread to 95 percent of the state. It is possible to fight off these insects with ash tree pesticides, however in many cases it can be too late. Trees missing over half of their canopy are unlikely to be able  to carry the pesticide through their trunk to kill the borers. In order for the pesticide to be effective, landowners need to be able to identify signs of an emerald ash borer invasion.

In an effort to arm the community with knowledge and effectively deal with these pests, Purdue entomology professor Cliff Sadof and his colleagues have developed the Purdue Tree Doctor App. This two dollar application for iPhones and Android phones can save landowners from losing their livelihood to the emerald ash borers by helping them identify and diagnose early signs of infestation and guide them to treatment solutions before it is too late.

To suppliment this app, Sadof has also created a web-based emerald ash borer cost calculator to help communties make educated decisions on tree removal, replacement, and treatment by projecting costs over 25 years. With the Purdue Tree Doctor app and the EAB cost calculator, the community can more effectively take action and save their ash trees before it's too late.

Purdue Tree Doctor App

Emerald Ash Borer Cost Calculator 2.1 - Purdue Extension
Emerald Ash Borer in Indiana - Purdue Extension
Insecticide Options for Protecting Ash Trees from Emerald Ash Borer - Purdue Extension
Arrest That Pest! - Emerald Ash Borer in Indiana - Got Nature?
Emerald Ash Borer - Indiana Department of Natural Resources
Invasive Insects - Got Nature?

Cliff Sadof, Professor
Department of Entomology, Purdue University
June 16
"A Salamander Tale" Exhibit Available To Visit You
A Salamander Tale Exhibit

A new educational exhibit aimed for kindergartners to fifth graders called "A Salamander Tale" is ready to be shipped around the country and spread amphibian awareness. This interactive attraction is roughly 300 square feet and helps educate visitors at all ages about hellbenders, other salamanders and amphibians in general. Built into the exhibit is a video game called "Hellbender Havoc," which provides a fun and unique way to learn about hellbenders. "Hellbender Havoc" is also playable online using Chrome or Firefox browsers. 

Rental fees do apply for reserving the exhibit.  Indiana state and extension professionals, also including Purdue staff, can rent the exhibit for free after paying for shipping. For more information, please check out the Salamander Tale web page, or feel free to take a look at other current exhibits on the Purdue Traveling Exhibits page​. Check out Herbie the Hellbender today and inspire the Herpetologists of tomorrow!

A Salamander Tale - Purdue Agriculture
Purdue Traveling Exhibits - Purdue Agriculture
Help the Hellbender - Purdue Extension
Salamanders of Indiana Book - The Education Store
Hellbender Ecology and Genetics - Indiana Department of Natural Resources

Purdue Traveling Exhibits​

June 15
Large Brood of Periodical Cicadas Returns After Thirteen Years

​The sound of cicadas is one of the more distinguishable nature sounds of the Midwestern summer. Whether you love it or hate it, the call of the cicadas will be returning this summer, in a different and likely louder way than in the past couple years in Indiana. 

Periodical Cicadas

Photo credit: John Obermeyer

Cicadas are interesting insects, living the vast majority of their lives underground as larvae for several years before emerging to the surface to shed their shells and become adults for around a month and reproduce before dying. In general, there are two types of cicadas; annual and periodical. 

Annual cicadas are about two inches long and are greenish in color. They are found in vast numbers in the late summer and early autumn. Unlike their name suggests, they live as larvae for two to three years before emerging, but due to overlapping generations, they can be heard every year. They produce their loud, buzzing and ticking calls from their abdomen to attract mates. 

In contrast, the periodical cicadas emerge much less frequently. There are two groups of periodical cicadas, one that emerges from its larval state after thirteen years, and another that emerges after seventeen. There are 23 observed broods of these that have been well documented by entomologists for decades. These insects are different visually and audibly from their annual relatives. The periodical cicadas have red eyes and orange and black bodies, as opposed to the annual cicada's green appearance. As well as a buzzing sound, they can also produce a unique, high-pitched tone sounding like "weeee-ooh" or "pharoah".

Brood XXIII of the 13-year periodic cicadas will emerge this June, and it is expected to be a big one. While loud, these insects are fairly harmless. They don't pose a risk to humans as they don't bite or sting. However, the egg laying process can be harmful to young trees with branches less than 3/4 of an inch thick. These trees can be covered with screens to allow sunlight to still reach the trees while keeping the cicadas out. Pesticides are typically avoided, since the adult cicadas do not feed on the trees and will not ingest the chemicals.

If you see the periodical cicada emerge in your area, you can email or call 812-435-5287 to help continue to monitor and document these insects.​

Periodical Cicada Reports From Southern Indiana - Purdue Extension
Periodical Cicada In Indiana - Indiana Department of Natural Resources
Periodical Cicada In Indiana - The Education Store

Larry Caplan, Horticulture Educator
Purdue Extension​

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