On September 29, the 4-year-old preschoolers of Mrs. Sharen Gall and Mrs. Molly Schwartz took part in a field trip to Eagle Marsh nature preserve off of Engle Road. The students pulled on rain boots and walked on the muddy hiking trails. There they saw wildflowers, milkweed plants, turkey foot grasses, cattails and a crayfish “castle,” or mound of mud above the crayfish underground home. While a red-tailed hawk soared overhead, the preschoolers saw insects, heard crickets and found the feathers and bones of an unfortunate goose who had been preyed upon in the nature preserve.The public is invited to join Little River Wetlands Project, Ducks Unlimited and their guests to celebrate the opening of a new entrance area to LRWP’s Eagle Marsh preserve on Saturday, October 8, from 10AM to noon at the Engle Road entrance to Eagle Marsh. Parking for the event is available at Summit Brands (7201 Engle Road) and nearby areas.

The celebration will kick off with the unveiling of a new Eagle Marsh entrance sign and a brief presentation recognizing those honored on two plaques at the site. One plaque identifies businesses and individuals who helped create Eagle Marsh, the largest inland urban wetland restoration in the country, by donating for its purchase and restoration. The other honors Ducks Unlimited members who have made significant contributions to wetlands conservation by supporting the Northeast Indiana Potholes Program. The Gateway to Eagle Marsh area has parking for about 14 cars and will be landscaped with native plants, shrubs and trees prior to the grand opening.

At 10:30AM, a new 5K Continental Divide trail will be opened for an inaugural hike with Betsy Yankowiak, LRWP’s Director of Preserves and Programs. Much of the trail is on top the Graham-McCulloch Ditch berm enlarged during last year’s federal construction project at Eagle Marsh, allowing visitors to view almost the entire preserve from above. This construction slightly moved the continental divide. Several other trails that were closed due to the construction will also be reopened at the event. Hikes on the Continental Divide trail (Trail 5) and Eagle Marsh Trail 8 are part of the Allen County Trailblazers program.

The Eagle Marsh Gateway project was made possible by donations from LRWP members, Ducks Unlimited and the Lupke Foundation, with important in-kind donations from the Hagerman Group, Vintage Archonics, McComb Family Foundation, Birkmeier and Sons Monument Company, Crosby Excavating, Erie Haven Concrete, and Harlow Enterprises. Refreshments for the opening celebration will be provided by the Indiana Wildlife Federation.

Little River Wetlands Project is a local land trust that protects almost 1,200 acres of natural and restored wetlands in our area and offers free wetland/nature education programs for our community. Its 716-acre Eagle Marsh preserve is the largest inland urban wetland restoration in the U.S. More information is available at www.lrwp.org, info@lrwp.org, or 260-478-2515.

The Waynedale News Staff
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