Indiana BHA Hosts Forest Managment Pint Night with Sentinel Landscape

On Saturday, June 15th, we hosted Michael Spalding of Sentinel Landscape at our Pint Night at Heartwork Brewing Co. in Bloomington, Indiana. The event was an essential educational opportunity for those living in the Bloomington area. This is an important part of the state for our chapter as Bloomington sits on the edge of the Hoosier National Forest, the largest body of public land in Indiana. It has also been the site of a battle over forest management. Many environmental groups call Bloomington home and, though well-intentioned, they have taken advantage of their well-funded status and sued to stop the USFS from a management plan essential to the biodiversity of the forest and the wildlife that call it home. You can read more about that here.

The event was well-attended, with 15 members showing up to listen to Michael’s talk and discuss upcoming events, issues in conservation, and plans for the upcoming hunting season.

Michael Spalding works for Sentinel Landscape, which has an interesting and essential mission. According to their website, they are “a coalition of federal agencies, state and local governments, and non-governmental organizations that work with willing landowners and land managers to advance sustainable land use practices around military installations and ranges.” They further explain, “Sentinel landscapes are areas where conservation, working lands, and national defense interests converge.”

Michael serves as the Program Coordinator for the southern Indiana Sentinel Landscape, and he has worked in conservation and forest management for nearly two decades. He was a field forester during the debate over management of the Yellowwood State Forest, also near Bloomington, so he is also intimately familiar with the public arguments used to resist forest management.

Michael’s talk was incredibly enlightening, and the presentation we have included below provides a wide range of further evidence for the importance of forest management, not just in Indiana but anywhere in North America. This is essential for our chapter as we strive to educate the public on the importance of these management projects and forest management in general.

Topics range from the historical context of USFS management of the Hoosier NF, to indigenous forest management, to the importance of woodland plants for overall forest health and water quality. Michael’s discussion of the whippoorwill and red-headed woodpecker was especially enlightening and important. Many of those who resist forest management claim that single-species conservation is shortsighted, and they struggle to see how a hook and bullet organization could be concerned with non-game bird species. Some have even written publicly that they are willing to see some species extirpated for the sake of more mature forest. What is clear, however, is that there is no such thing as single-species conservation as numerous song and game birds benefit from forest regeneration. Ecosystems are, by their very nature, interconnected. This kind of information is essential for our members as we engage on these issues publicly and find a strategy to persuade Hoosiers that the USFS has the best interest of public landowners, the forest, and wildlife at the forefront of their plans.

About Indiana BHA

Our chapter is dedicated to serving the interests of conservation and access to clean public lands and waters. Through planning, collaboration, and dedication, we will make a difference.

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