Many of Indiana’s most renowned outdoor writers and broadcasters are meeting in Indianapolis this winter to gather stories and improve their craft. Hoosier Outdoor Writers, a professional organization of communicators, interested in natural resource conservation, is hosting its 2004 annual conference at Ft. Harrison State Park on the Indianapolis eastside.

The Hoosier Outdoor Writer conference will take place Saturday, Feb. 21, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The $40 prospective member registration fee includes a buffet lunch and access to all sessions ($15 membership fee + $25 for lunch buffet). The conference is timed to coincide with the opening weekend of the Indianapolis Boat, Sport and Travel Show at the Indiana State Fairgrounds.

The conference, which is open to all journalists and anyone interested in becoming an outdoor writer or broadcaster, features sessions on digital photography, tips for working with editors, DNR biologist reports on deer, turkey and smallmouth bass, treestand safety, and how to work with DNR and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Indiana DNR director John Goss is the conference’s featured speaker.

Established ‘inkslingers’ such as “Bayou Bill” Scifres, formerly of the Indianapolis Star, Phil Bloom (Sports Editor for the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette), MidWest Outdoor magazine columnist Jack Spaulding, and Outdoor Writer Mark Crowley will be on hand along with up-and-comers such as Network Indiana’s Bryan Poynter and Brian Smith of the Raghorn News Television. Local Outdoor Freelance Writer and book author Ray McCune, a long time member of H.O.W., Associate Editor of The Waynedale News, and Feature Editor for MidWest Outdoors Magazine, will also be attending this conference.

A diverse panel of biologists, deer farmers and wildlife advocates will address the controversial subjects of fenced hunting and deer farming in the afternoon. Louie Stout, nationally published magazine and newspaper reporter, will moderate the session.

“This conference is a great opportunity for burgeoning writers to learn from accomplished veterans. No matter what skill or level of experience, I think everyone will walk away with ways to improve their communication craft,” said H.O.W. president-elect Bryan Poynter.

For more information or to register, contact Bryan Poynter at (317) 639-0482 or bpoynter@ctmt.com. A conference agenda and registration form are available online at: www.in.gov/dnr/fishwild/how/


NATURE PRESERVES – For Hiking, Bird Watching, Photography

Little Cedar Creek Wildlife Sanctuary (Allen County)

This preserve is open to the public, but few people know about it. It has a trail system that starts past the boulder honoring Molly Mackel and goes down the hill.

Directions: Take Coldwater Road north of Fort Wayne about 8 miles. Go past Shoaff Road and cross the bridges over Cedar Creek. Turn south onto Sunlight Lane right past the bridge and follow Sunlight Lane to where it dead ends.

Evelyn and Wendell Dygert Nature Preserve (Whitley County)

Beautiful wildflower woods and open to the public. Dygerts are very sweet people and their woods have been open to anyone who wants to hike it for years. They purchased the 56-acre woods in October 2001.

Directions: Take US 30 to Columbia City, turn north onto SR 109. Drive to 400 north (road signs will go 100 N, 200 N, etc.) and turn west onto 400 N. Drive until road T’s into 50 W, turn north onto 50 W and entrance to Dygert farm is 1/4 mile. Look for 4321 N 50 W on their mailbox and a small dirt lane. Would need to park in the field on the right of the land after the bridge. To hike to the woods, take the small lane up the hill to the right and follow it back to the woods.
“Wildwood” (Kosciusko County)

Bob and Alice Frantz own 238-acres, which ACRES acquired in December 2002. The area has a trail system and has several wetlands, a pond, beech/oak/maple woods, and pastures. Great place to hike!

Directions: Take SR 14 three miles east of Silver Lake, Kosciusko County. There is a small brown sign on south side of SR 14 saying “Wildwood”. Follow lane back to parking. Open throughout the year.
Where: Metea County Park
What: Night Hike
When: Friday, January 30th, 2004 7:00-8:30 PM
Cost: $3.00 per person

Is there anything more peaceful than a winter night in the woods? Enjoy the quiet beauty of Metea County Park at night on a hike led by naturalist Sarah Hendricks. Look past the silent chill to find nature teeming with life, despite your first impressions. Meet in the parking lot near the front gate, at 7:00 pm, on January 30th. Be sure to dress warmly, and don’t forget your boots. Call the parks main office at 449-3180 to reserve your space.
Where: Kalamazoo Nature Center
Cross-country Ski Trip
When: February 7th
Time: 7am-5pm
Cost: $20.00 per person

Experience cross-country skiing at Kalamazoo’s Nature Center in Lower Michigan. $20.00 per person includes all day ski rental and an individual park pass into the nature center. The group will be leaving from Fox Island Nature Center and driving together to Kalamazoo. Please RSVP by phone at 449-3180.
Where: Fox Island County Park
What: Breakfast with the Birds-Owls
When: Wednesday,
February 18th, 7:30-9:00 AM
Cost: $3.00 per person

Breakfast with the birds is a chance to enjoy a presentation on birds, and go on a guided birding hike to discover the birds of Fox Island when they are most active. We meet in the Bird Observation Building, and enjoy coffee, tea, juice, donuts, and birds. In February we’ll take a peek into the fascinating world of owls, and try to see some as they return from a long night of hunting. Join naturalist Sarah Hendricks on Wednesday, February 18th, 2004 at 7:30AM. Be sure to dress for the hike, though we’ll be indoors for part of the program. Call 449-3180 to reserve your space. Program is cancelled if less than 5 people show up.


I hope to see you out there in the woods and on the water.

The Waynedale News Staff

Ray McCune

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