Programs

Bloomington Urban Woodlands Project

About the Project

Through research, restoration, and education activities, we work to restore health to our local forests and empower students and the greater community to make life choices that promote the biodiversity of their home, work, and community landscapes.

Background

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Urban woodlands supply habitat for resident and migratory birds and many other animals, and provide aesthetic enjoyment, biological carbon sinks, air and water purification, and numerous other ecological services.

Yet urban woodlands tend to be small, fragmented, and close to conventionally landscaped yards, making them especially vulnerable to degradation from exotic invasive plants. Indeed, ~85% of woody invasive species come from the landscaping trade. The urban woodlands in Bloomington, Indiana are heavily invaded by such invasive plants, with correspondingly low biodiversity of native plant species and reduced habitat diversity for the native insects, birds, and other species that have coevolved with native plant species.

In 2010, an interdisciplinary team of faculty, students, and professionals from the campus and community pooled their knowledge and skills to research, restore, and educate about urban woodlands. The project was kicked off by an Indiana University Office of Sustainability Research Development Grant for Dunn’s Woods in 2010, and expanded to Latimer Woods in 2012 with additional support from the National Audubon Society and Toyota’s TogetherGreen Innovation Grant Program

We invite you to navigate our site to learn more about our ongoing work:

  • Researching the history of Dunn’s Woods and the surrounding landscape
  • Monitoring research plots to track the ecological interactions between invasive plants and the native woodland community, and to develop best practices for removing invasive species and establishing native woodland species
  • Removing invasive species and planting the woodlands with a variety of native wildflowers, grasses, and ferns.
  • Engaging in outreach activities with university courses, student groups, and the local community. These activities include invasive species pulls, native plantings, and the development of educational materials such as signage, this website, brochures, and films.
Team Members

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Our team involves diverse experts at Indiana University and in the conservation profession. Key community partners include the local invasive species task force, Monroe County Identify and Reduce Invasive Species (MC-IRIS); Sassafrass Audubon Society (SAS), and the City of Bloomington Department of Parks and Recreation.

Heather Reynolds
Heather Reynolds
Associate Prof., Dept. of Biology, Indiana University, Bloomington

Jim Capshew
Jim Capshew
Associate Prof., Dept. of History and Philosophy of Science, Indiana University, Bloomington

Anita Bracalante
Anita Bracalante
Landscape Historian, Researcher

Roger Hangarter
Roger Hangarter
Professor, Dept. of Biology, Indiana University, Bloomington

James Farmer
James Farmer
Assistant Prof., Dept. of Recreation, Park & Tourism Studies, Indiana University, Bloomington

Mia Williams
Mia Williams
Landscape Architect, Indiana University

Jonathan Bauer
Jonathan Bauer
PhD Candidate, Dept. of Biology, Indiana University, Bloomington

Eric Knackmuhs
Eric Knackmuhs
Associate Instructor / Ph.D. Student, Dept. of Recreation, Park & Tourism Studies, Indiana University, Bloomington

Natalie Christian
Natalie Christian
Graduate Student, Dept. of Biology,

Sustainability Intern, 2013, Indiana University, Bloomington

Ellen Jacquart
Ellen Jacquart
Chair, Monroe County Identify & Reduce Invasive Species (MC-IRIS)

Steve Cotter
Steve Cotter
National Resources Manager, City of Bloomington Parks & Recreation; Member, MC-IRIS

Spencer Goehl
Spencer Goehl
Member, MC-IRIS

David Orr
David Orr
Graphic Designer and Social Media Coordinator

Tony Minich
Tony MinichEnvironmental, Educational Researcher

Melissa O'Neill
Melissa O'Neill
Citizen Scientist

David Rupp
David Rupp
President, Sassafras Audubon Society (SAS)

Carli Gurholt
Carli Gurholt
Graduate Intern, B.A. Lawrence University, M.S. Central Michigan University, PhD Student at Indiana University

Jake Wycoff
Jake Wycoff
Restoration Intern, BA in linguistics, IUB 2014


BUWP Alumni

Renee Albrecht
Renee Albrecht
Restoration Research Intern, BS Biology 2013, Indiana University Bloomington

Haley Prihoda
Haley Prihoda
Sustainability Intern, 2012
BA History 2012, Indiana University Bloomington

Nathan Wells
Nathan Wells
Student Outreach Intern 2011
BS Human Biology 2011, Indiana University Bloomington

Samiha Hamdi
Samiha Hamdi
Restoration Intern, BS Biology, Indiana University Bloomington

Monica Gregory
Monica Gregory
Invasive Control intern, SPEA, Indiana University Bloomington

Jessie Mroz
Jessie Mroz
Graduate Outreach Intern, SPEA, Indiana University Bloomington