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Marsh Madness festival is first weekend in March
 
Marsh Madness, a Linton, Ind., area bird festival celebrating the Sandhill crane and waterfowl migration at Goose Pond Fish & Wildlife Area (FWA), is set for March 1-2.

The festival, presented by the Friends of Goose Pond group, will be based out of Linton’s Humphrey’s Park.

Some activities will take place at Goose Pond FWA, Shakamak State Park and Carnegie Heritage and Arts Center. Festival information is at http://marshmadness.info

Festivities will start at 6:30 p.m. March 1, at Shakamak’s group camp dining hall with the Peabody Energy Kickoff Banquet. The banquet will feature Ducks Unlimited regional biologist Michael Sertle as keynote speaker and include dinner, live music, silent and live auctions, door prizes and a cash bar. Proceeds will go toward the Goose Pond Visitors Center.

From 7 a.m.-7 p.m. that Saturday, there will be guided and self-guided tours of the surrounding area, where festival participants may watch the annual bird migration. Guided bus tours will depart hourly throughout the day from the East Cabin in Humphrey’s Park.
In addition to the tours, festival-goers will have the opportunity to attend presentations by experts on topics such as Goose Pond FWA, waterfowl and shore birds. Leslie Grow from The Dwight Chamberlain Raptor Center at Hardy Lake will give presentations and display several birds of prey, including a bald eagle. For more information, see the website listed above.

Other daytime activities that Saturday at Humphrey’s Park include a craft and vendor fair, birdhouse construction for kids and other children’s programming, tree climbing with help from Earthjoy Tree Adventures and a waterfowl calling contest and retriever demonstrations by Ducks Unlimited.

Also on March 2, Carnegie Heritage and Arts Center will host a showing of works by wildlife artist Robin Myers. That night, the Goose Pond Chapter of Ducks Unlimited will host Sportsman’s Night Out at Shakamak, from 5:30-10 p.m.

Tickets for the kickoff banquet are $25 and are also good for admission to that Saturday’s events at Humphrey’s Park and Goose Pond FWA. Additionally, tables of eight may be purchased, but the number of tables is limited. Banquet tickets may be ordered at www.FriendsofGoosePond.org by clicking on the PayPal button at the bottom of the homepage.

A festival pass for daytime events March 2 is $5 per person at the Roy Clark Building in Humphrey’s Park. Family passes for up to five family members are $15, while children younger than 3 years old are free.

Sportsman’s Night Out event tickets are available from local Ducks Unlimited members, or www.ducks.org/indiana/ events
Sportsman’s Night Out tickets are $25 single, $35 per couple or $15 each if you also purchase tickets to the Friday banquet.

Recreation guides online for Hoosiers

A Hoosier’s guide to Indiana’s best values in outdoor recreation is available now at www.in.gov/dnr/5280.htm

The Department of Natural Resources’ (DNR) 2013 Indiana Recreation Guide is the source for information on state parks, reservoirs, state park inns, FWAs, state forests and other DNR properties.

Local retail outlets, state parks, reservoirs and other DNR properties will have free printed copies available in early February. The guides also will be available at the DNR booth at the Indianapolis Boat, Sport and Travel Show Feb. 15-24, at the Indiana State Fairgrounds.

Annual entrance passes may be purchased in person at the gatehouse or offices of state park and reservoir properties during business hours, at the Indiana Government Center South in Indianapolis or at www.innsgifts.com

Indiana resident passes are $40. For individuals 65 years old or older, the price is $20. Annual passes for vehicles with out-of-state plates are $60. Normal daily gate fees for residents at most properties are $5 per vehicle. For more information on Indiana State Parks & Reservoirs, visit www.stateparks.IN.gov

Indiana boater education course March 9

Indiana conservation officers are sponsoring a boater education class March 9 from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. at the Jasper Moose Family Center, 2507 Newton Street in Jasper. Topics to be covered include boating basics, navigation, boating laws, personal watercraft operation, water safety, personal flotation devices and more.
Officers would like to remind the public a valid driver’s license is required for someone to legally operate a motorboat. Individuals 15 years old with a valid boater education card and an identification card from the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles may operate a motorboat.

Some insurance companies offer discounted rates for individuals graduating from an approved boater education course. Pre-registration for the class is required and is available by going online to www.passitonindiana.com

For more information, contact conservation officers’ District 7 headquarters at 812-789-9538.

Clifty Falls bluebird nest box workshop

Clifty Falls State Park will host a bluebird nest box workshop Feb. 23 at Clifty Inn. The workshop starts at 10:30 a.m., and participants will have the opportunity to build a bluebird nest box. They will also learn about bluebird ecology and how to attract bluebirds.

The program is especially suitable for families, and children ages 13 and younger must be accompanied by an adult. Nest box kits are limited to one per family. Fees of $2 per person ages 5 and older and $10 per kit will be collected payable by cash or check at the program. There will not be a park gate fee.
Space is limited. Advance registration is required, by calling 812-273-0609.

Participants will need to bring a No. 2 medium Phillips screwdriver. Clifty Falls State Park is located at 1501 Green Road, Madison, IN 47250.

The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of Farm World. Readers with questions or comments for Jack Spaulding may contact him by email at jackspaulding@hughes.net or by writing to him in care of this publication.
2/13/2013