Eagle Marsh, January 2022

Eagle Marsh covers 154 acres of protected habitat in southwest Allen County. Little River Wetlands Project outlined plans for 2022 projects and improvements at Breakfast on the Marsh, presented Jan. 13.

Eagle Marsh will welcome even more community events in 2022. The staff of Little River Wetlands Project outlined goals and listed key dates via Breakfast on the Marsh, presented in person and digitally on Jan. 13.

LWRP Executive Director Amy Silva previewed possible improvements in the year ahead.

Silva said a partnership with the Northeast Indiana Construction Alliance is expected to accomplish significant upgrades to the Eagle Marsh Barn, which serves as headquarters for many special activities.

Silva shared that discussion with Betsy Yankowiak, LRWP’s director of preserves and programs.

“We’ve been working on this for more years than Betsy and I would care to count, but we ran into some permitting issues because of the easements that are on the property,” Silva said.

Silva said research led to the staff and board’s conclusion that even the feasibility study for a new education pavilion is out of reach, for now. Specifically, she learned that a National Environmental Policy Act study would cost at least $30,000. That was more than LRWP should spend for research that might produce a negative decision, she said. “We sat down with the entire team and talked about what we can do, what kind of improvements we can make to the barn,” Silva said.

Yankowiak said the partnership with electrical workers, plumbers, sheet metal workers and other skilled trades arose through one of the many volunteers who assist with LRWP programs.

Plans call for repairs to the north and south barn doors, upgrades to the lighting, and repairs to the downspouts and roof. The west door would be removed and replaced with a ramp and service door.

“If you’ve ever seen us trying to open those barn doors and close those barn doors ... do you know how heavy those are?” Yankowiak said. She has asked sheet metal workers to improve those slides.

Yankowiak said the west door “that we haven’t opened in probably 15 years or longer” will be sided over to make room for a new door with automatic opener. “I’ve been dreaming about that for years,” she said. “So it gives us more opportunity to open up three sides of the barn.”

As to lighting, Yankowiak said, “There are places in our barn that are just dark.”

Silva said the improvements will enhance the barn’s contributions to stewardship, regular programs and education. “So it’s going to be a fun 2022,” she said.

Other projects being contemplated or planned for 2022 include expanding the wheelchair-accessible floating trail and replacing the green, heavy steel main gate.

Silva also listed dates for LRWP’s most popular education programs in 2022, including some activities that were not possible in 2021. “We are planning all of our large community events this year,” Silva said.

Earth Day Fort Wayne, will be from 1-5 p.m. Sunday, April 24.

Urban Turtle Festival will be little later in 2022, on Sunday, June 26, from 1-5 p.m.

Monarch Festival is in its customary calendar niche, on Sunday, Sept. 11. “As was mentioned earlier, we had 1,400 people last year, so the numbers continue to grow every year and we’re very excited about that.” Silva said hours will be from noon-5 p.m. She said Monarch Festival coincides with Be a Tourist in Your Own Hometown. “We found that we are reaching a lot of new families and individuals that are coming out to Eagle Marsh and getting to experience the Monarch Festival, so we think that’s just a wonderful partnership we have with Visit Fort Wayne,” Silva said.

She said Frogapalooza is coming back in some form. “It’s going to be more of a casual event so people can drive by after work,” she said. Frogapalooza — a major fundraiser for LRWP — is a 21-and-over event. It’s on the LRWP calendar for 6-8:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 29, at a location to be determined.

New this year is Frogtoberfest, with a date to be selected in mid- to late October. Silva said this celebration will be family-friendly and “really fun and exciting.” The 154-acre property is home to the Northern spring peeper, Northern leopard frog, gray tree frog, American toad, Western chorus frog, bullfrog, wood frog, cricket frog and freen frog.

LRWP staff also recounted 2021 accomplishments:

• 48 stewardship events, such as removing invasive species and propagating native plants.

• Engaging 132 participants in the Fort Wayne Area City Nature Challenge.

• 11 community science project training events.

• 145 free private and public programs serving 4,524 attendees.

Visit lrwp.org to follow program updates or to learn about ways to donate or volunteer or for information on LRWP’s other properties.

LRWP has shared Breakfast on the Marsh at 8:30 a.m. the second Thursday of each month since 2006. Locations have changed; currently, the discussion is offered at Indiana Wesleyan University and online via Zoom.

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