Biology professor Cris Hochwender leads community outreach at Vectren Conservation Park

Posted: Tuesday, July 25, 2017

On Saturday, July 22, professor of biology Cris Hochwender took a group of naturalists from the Southwest Indiana Native Plant and Wildflower Society (SWINPAWS) to Vectren Conservation Park, to explore issues in restoration ecology.

The group discussed the ongoing efforts to restore the flood plain habitat at VCP, a 1,100 acre property of bottomland along the Wabash River. In 2007, Vectren gave the University of Evansville a long-term lease on VCP.

VCP had been used for agriculture, but is now in a permanent conservation easement and is enrolled in the US Natural Resource Conservation Service's Wetlands Reserve program. Before leasing the property to UE, Vectren planted more than 100,000 native trees and shrubs on the property.

Conservation efforts at the site include trying to restore riparian forests, floodplain forests, as well as meadows and aquatic habitats. This site not only provides opportunities for environmental studies majors to explore a diverse set of Indiana communities, but also acts as a research lab to explore environmental questions, carry out ecological research, and evaluate soil and water chemistry.

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