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Field Trips

Blue Heron Ministries and Natural Areas Restoration/Education

Blue Heron Ministries (BHM) is a local, northeast Indiana nonprofit land trust providing conservation design, restoration, natural resources management, and education in a wide variety of natural areas. This carpool fieldtrip will visit three local sites in Steuben County. The sites include the state IDNR-owned Trine State Recreation Area, the Blue Heron Ministries Badger Barrens and Mirror Lake Sanctuary, and a private property, all with active BHM projects. Participants will visit two high quality wetland fens, a natural kettle hole lake, and former agricultural fields and home site now in natural areas restoration. Rubber-muck or knee boots recommended, as you will be hummock hopping in wetlands! The timing should be good for the last of the smoky gold in our northeast Indiana fall tamaracks. Fred Wooley, former Pokagon State Park Interpretive Naturalist and BHM Employee, and Nathan Simons Director of Blue Heron Ministries will lead this.

Participants will carpool to each location. Scheduled to leave at 1:30pm.

Oak Farm Montessori

Join Oak Farm Montessori School’s (OFMS) Ecoliteracy Coordinator, Gena Grobarek, and Blue Heron Ministry’s ecological restoration specialist, John Brittenham for a 2 hour (approx. 2 miles) walking tour of OFMS’s 159-acre campus. On the tour, Gena Grobarek will highlight outdoor classroom spaces used during ecoliteracy programming throughout the primary to high school age levels. John Brittenham will highlight the commitment OFMS has to ecological restoration as well as discuss how students are immersed in the ongoing projects taking place with the help of Blue Heron Ministry. Participants should wear appropriate footwear for walking and potentially muddy paths. Please dress for the weather and bring a water bottle if you wish.

Participants will carpool to the location. 35-minute drive. Scheduled to leave at 1:30pm.

Pokagon State Park Hike

Hike down Trail 3 through the Potawatomi Nature Preserve, traveling through varied habitats of marshland, deep hardwood forests, pines, and sand hills. Crossing over the boardwalk at Lake Lonidaw and down Trail 6, experience a primitive area, including swamp that is good for observing marshland plants and animals in the spring. Visit the second highest point in Steuben County at Hell’s Point, boasting a trail overlook. Descending the other side of Hell’s Point is 84 steps.

The trails are moderate in difficulty and may be muddy in some areas, with a total distance of approximately 3 miles; wear sturdy shoes for uneven, sometimes gravelly and rocky, terrain. Please dress for the weather.

Participants will meet at front of the Inn at 1:30pm. Hike is subject to change.

Wild Winds Buffalo Preserve & Satek Winery

Wild Winds Buffalo Preserve is home to approximately 250 wild bison roaming over 400 acres that they claim as their home. On this 45-minute tour, discover the interactions of land, people, and animals throughout history. The cost is $8 due upon check in at the conference.

Following the Buffalo Preserve, enjoy one of the area’s wineries. Satek Winery started as a commercial vineyard, selling grapes to other Indiana wineries, in 1992. The intent was to eventually open their own winery as a “retirement” business. Satek Winery sources 80% of their grapes locally. Come for a free tasting in their production room with the option to purchase merchandise.

Participants will be carpooling to the locations. 15-minute drive. Scheduled to leave at 1:30pm. The cost is $8 for Wild Winds Buffalo Farm due upon check-in to the conference.

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