“The Limberlost was arrayed as the Queen of Sheba in all her glory,” wrote Gene Stratton- Porter. Gene’s literary legacy and the natural history of the Limberlost were very much front- and-center at a sold out Trek and Talk hosted by Indiana Humanities and Limberlost State Historic Site at the Loblolly Marsh on Saturday night, October 8. Indiana Humanities created this unique program to connect literature and the land for Indiana’s Bicentennial.
It was a perfect day for exploring the Limberlost. It began with a special tour of Gene’s Limberlost cabin in Geneva conducted by “retired” site manager, Randy Lehman. Guests heard about “Freckles,” and Elnora, and the Bird Woman’s connection to the cabin.
Limberlost naturalist, Curt Burnette, and Professor Rachel Blumenthal, from IU Kokomo, led the hike through the Loblolly Marsh’s prairie. The Loblolly Marsh was the first of the Limberlost territories to undergo restoration beginning in 1997, and that process continues today. There are basically five wetland preserves that are part of the Limberlost territories in northern Jay County and southern Adams County—all managed by DNR Nature Preserves.
After the hike, dinner was served around a campfire at the well-equipped Loblolly Pavilion. Judy Williams, a Friend of the Limberlost, made a special centerpiece with natural items found around her home and guests enjoyed a special Bicentennial treat that she made for the occasion. We also welcomed Jim Langham, a journalist from the Berne Witness. Jim came to enjoy the hike and to get material for an article he was planning for the newspaper about this event.
After dinner, Professor Blumenthal led a good discussion of Gene’s writings and shared the poetry of some contemporary nature writers of today. The evening was not complete until s’mores were served and Adrienne Provenzano sang Curt’s poem “Loblolly Lullaby” and Gene’s 1916 poem “Limberlost Invitation.”
Thank you to Indiana Humanities for visiting Limberlost. It was fun working with the staff to make this event happen. We welcomed Jay County native George Hanlin home. George is a former resident of Pennville in Jay County, and he now serves as the Head of Grants for Indiana Humanities. A special thank you to Indiana Bicentennial Director, Perry Hammock, for another return visit to Limberlost, and we also thank the Indiana Historical Society, the Indianapolis Hiking Club, and guests from all over Indiana for attending this event.
If you missed this event, on October 22 Curt will be leading a hike at the Music of the Wild Nature Preserve. This is another Limberlost wetland property located in Jay County. The name is taken from Gene Stratton-Porter’s book, Music of the Wild, and the area that will be hiked is the same general area Gene refers to in the second part of her book. Curt will be exploring the nature of this preserve following along with Gene’s words. This is the perfect time of year to amble along Limberlost Creek, which flows through a section of this nature preserve.
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